I know you’ve heard it or read that you should avoid processed foods if you want to eat healthy. I’ve even had it in my blogs. While it’s a generalization that is often true, it doesn’t mean all processed foods are bad for you. Processing may take away some of the nutrition, but what makes food unhealthy is often the additives. Cooking any food means you’re processing it, so unless you’re on a diet of raw food, processing isn’t always bad.
Whole foods are foods with the least amount of processing.
Processed food includes food that’s dehydrated, milled, canned, cooked or frozen. In some cases, the concern is that the nutritional quality of the food is lowered, but most of the time, it’s all about the changes made to the food with additives. Sugar and salt are two of them to watch for in food. Sugar, is often called other names, like fructose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, honey and etc. To make food look like it has less sugar, manufacturers often use several types of sugar, so it’s not at the top of the ingredient list. It’s important to be able to interpret the labels.
You can save money and time by making smart choices when it comes to processed food.
The fewer the number of ingredients in any processed food, the traditional thinking is the healthier it is. Food like canned beans, which contains beans and salt, can be rinsed and put on a salad to add nutrition without taking hours of time. Water packed tuna, canned salmon, frozen fruits and vegetables without extra additives are all healthy alternatives to their fresh counterparts and can save money.
Nix the refined grains, food with added sugar, those with chemicals with names you can’t pronounce and food with added salt.
When you start reading a label and it feels like you’re back in chemistry class, it’s time to put down the food and walk away from the grocery shelf. Processed food that contains refined grains, like white flour and even white rice, has no place in a healthy diet. All the good nutrients in the bran and the germ were milled away. Studies show that too many refined grains can lead to health issues.
Some frozen fruit and vegetables without added sugar or salt is often fresher than those you find in the store. The frozen options are normally picked closer to ripening and studies show they may have the same or even more nutrients than fresh counterparts found in the grocery.
Don’t read the front of the package with all the health claims that make you want to pick it up without checking. Always look at the ingredient list. The fewer the ingredients, the better.
You can often make your own nut butter, such as natural peanut butter, at whole food stores free after you purchase the nuts, but that’s not the only place for wholesome nut butters. Healthy natural peanut butters on the market only contain peanuts and sometimes a bit of salt.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune when you know how to save money. Neither should staying in shape. You can start your journey to fitness at One Love Fit Club for just $29.99.