Are Processed Foods Bringing You Down? Top Tips on Eating Cleaner!
In our busy day-to-day we often find it easy to pick up a packaged convenience item such as a granola bar, cereal, microwaveable lunch or dinner or make a routine stop at our favorite fast food joint. However overtime you may realize you are gaining weight, feeling sluggish, or suffer from pesky “tummy” issues. Well…. processed foods may be to BLAME!
The term-processed can mean different things when discussing food quality. Not all processed foods are deemed unhealthful. Anything frozen, canned or in a package is considered processed, yet what you need to be most conscious of are the added ingredients, preservatives, hormones etc. that make the product below par. Steer clear of the following additives as they all potentially put you at risk for gaining weight, fatigue, chronic inflammation, skin and digestive issues and can even linked to disease risk.
- Packaged/processed foods with added sugar, salt (sodium).
These often include crackers, baked goods, coffee creamers, snack foods, frozen pizza, microwaveable pastas, and TV dinners.
- Trans Fats + Hydrogenated oils
Often in snack foods such as cakes, cookies, chips. Look for packages with 0 g trans fat on label or avoid any ingredient that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
- Preservatives or chemicals added for product stabilization or are found in packaging material:
Examples include: Carrageen, BPA, PFOA, Nitrates, Bromated flour, high fructose corn syrup… amongst many others
“These added ingredients have been linked to inflammation, digestive upset, weight gain, and even chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or even cancers.”
EATING CLEANER consists of eating WHOLE foods such:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds
- Organic low fat dairy or dairy alternatives
- Seafood, organic pasture raised or free range poultry/eggs, or other lean meats.
Foods that are packaged in a bag/container or frozen are often for your grab-and-go convenience (i.e. salad mix or frozen fruit) and considered safe as you are still eating the whole food intended. Canned foods however are likely to serve up excess salt and expose you to grim chemicals such as BPA. A good rule to abide by: “If the ingredients on a package are all things you could put together in the home than it is still allowed”…. See example below:
(no added ingredients, solely whole foods, LARA BAR)
Grocery delivery services such as milkandeggs.com make it easy to eat clean. Their produce boxes or high quality pantry items are ensured to be minimally if not at all processed. Some of my favorite items that I stock my home with are:
- Forager Cashew Milk- Plain Unsweetened (for cereal or coffee)
- Organic Cleanse Fruit/Veggie 12 lb #5 Box
- Clover Organic milk (for my toddler, Hormone/Antibiotic free)
- Arctic Char Fillet Wild Fresh 8 oz
- USDA Prime Niman Ranch Ribeye Grassfed
- Northern Café Dumpling Vegetarian
- Ezikiel 7 Sprouted grain Bread (Makes for a great Avo Toast!)
- Perfect Bar (great high protein snack)
Amongst many other clean, whole food options.
As you can see all the foods listed above have little to no added ingredients, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, you name it, it is CLEAN, WHOLESOME and assured to help you eat cleaner and start feeling like the best you!!!
Megan Sewards MS, RD