Processed foods are foods that have been chemically processed—made from refined and artificial ingredients. Such foods can be found in your local supermarkets displayed as cans or boxes that are loaded with added sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Although processed foods are made to taste good and some people can get addicted to them, processed foods are bad for your health. Large amounts of sugar and saturated fat can slow down the metabolism and cause high cholesterol and lead to fat accumulation.
You might feel like you’re surrounded by processed foods but eating cleaner is easier than you think!
How to avoid processed foods #1- Avoid box, bags, cans of foods
Any foods that are prepackaged could be bleached, sweeten, dehydrated, and have lost their nutrition value through the process. Food labels that contain “artificial flavor”, mostly found on juice cartons means the juice has been chemically flavored to a specific taste
How to avoid processed foods #2-Stay away from white foods
The most highly processed foods are white rice and white bread—bleached and enriched with artificial flavors. The process strips the grains of all nutrients and sugar, trans fat, and salt is added for taste. White bread are stripped of vitamins and loaded with sugar and salt after processing. Try buying fresh whole wheat bread from your local bakery; it is more likely made from natural ingredients.
How to avoid processed foods #3- Look for unbleached and unenriched foods
Most food products have artificial fiber and vitamins added but they can’t benefit the body because the body can’t absorb them. Look for products that are whole grain and are not bleached or enriched. Brown rice, whole wheat, oats, and quinoa are good choices.
How to avoid processed foods #4-Shop at farmer’s markets
Farmer’s markets are one of the top places to find unprocessed healthy groceries. Skipping the factory processing and straight to the market, the groceries still hold their nutrients value.
How to avoid processed foods #5-Cook more meals at home
A home cooked meal made from fresh vegetables and lean protein is the ideal healthy meal. Packaged or microwavable foods can be processed and filled with additional preservatives. Don't purchase the food product if the food label contains more than five ingredients.
How to avoid processed foods #6-Avoid food labels that are not clear
If you have to ask yourself what a certain ingredient is, it’s probably processed. If any ingredients end in “ose”, it’s most likely a sugar.
Cooking with high nutritious ingredients, such as natural meats and whole grains will benefit your health in a positive way, rather than cheap processed foods that contain no nutritious value at all.