In the very real and vitally important effort to inform health-conscious consumers about the potentially unhealthy and perhaps hazardous ingredients in products known today as “processed foods,” some products have been, I believe, unnecessarily lumped into that category and are likely being – again unnecessarily – eliminated from our diets.
Processed foods, in the purest and truest sense of the term as used by nutritionists, applies to overly modified products that boast long ingredient lists populated by words you need a science degree to pronounce. Generally these foods include, but are certainly not limited to, sweets, snack items and frozen prepared foods.
You know the culprits; you’ve spent more than a few minutes staring at the back of a frozen lasagna trying to determine the convenience of the meal was worth consuming a compound you think you remember cooking up in Chemistry 101.
However, over time – and perhaps partially due to the rise of food activism – we have assigned guilt by association upon a few grocery items that do not particularly deserve our ire.
Take a look and consider stocking up on these so-called “processed” foods:
Watch for sodium content, otherwise know that canned kidney, black and pinto beans can provide great protein options an open the door to meat-free meal options.
Stock up with confidence! Frozen veggies really can offer the same health benefits as fresh vegetables. And the convenience of having a freezer full of healthy options at any given moment makes meal planning easy.
Put down your regular pasta purchase! Pick up instead some whole wheat or brown rice pasta. Add a dash of olive oil and top with grilled chicken for a delicious, healthy dinner.
Even if you need the fruit-infused flavored yogurts to enjoy the taste and texture of yogurt, you can. If you’re careful. Read the label and check for sugar content. Here’s an easy tip: verify that the fruit ingredient appears higher on the ingredients list than sugar or artificial sweeteners. If it does, enjoy your fruity yogurt in moderation!
Jarred Vegetable-Based Sauces
Remember replacing your usual pasta for whole grain pasta a moment ago? Top it with some marinara. Your store shelves will offer a low sodium option that features few ingredients and big flavor. Take advantage of it. While you’re on that aisle, look at the salsa options as well. You’ll likely be surprised by the varieties that feature respectably low amounts of sodium.
Look, if it weren’t for many of these “processed,” easy-prep food options, neither I nor my kids would enjoy a home-cooked meal many weeknights throughout the school year. Read labels, cook with as little oil and butter as possible, and consume in moderation. A healthy diet really can be that simple.
For more information on healthy grocery options, call us today or click the Schedule an Appointment button above. Our team can talk with you about your health and fitness level, your goals, and how we can work together to help you meet those goals safely.