I apologize in advance if this has already been an established question in the forum, my question is about processed foods. I obviously understand that foods high in sodium, sugar, fat and/or calories would probably not be a good choice but are there good processed foods out there that I should stock up on whn i go grocery shopping?
Thanks so much if anyone has any answers for me!
I'm not a woman, I'm a force of nature
It depends, to me, on how you define processed. The United States Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act defines processed food as "any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling."
Plain Greek yogurt is "processed" (no cows make yogurt, at least that I know of). Cheeses are "processed". Any pasteurized dairy is processed. Organic frozen veggies, which have had nothing done to them other than flash freezing, are technically processed, but can be more nutritious than out-of-season produce in places that don't have a year round growing season. Any nut that has been roasted is a "processed" food. I consider all of the things I listed to be healthy foods, but they're all processed to some degree.
But if you're looking for healthy convenience foods/snack items/packaged goods other than the types of things I listed above, I'd agree that you won't find much that's truly good for you.
well... I use taco seasoning in my turkey burritos....or chili seasoning in my homade chili--LOTS of people tell me NEVER to eat them--I make A LOT of soups that use a bullion cube as a flavor base as well--I'm NOT an advocate for processed foods but I DO eat them--I also make cheese quesidllas (with 3 kinds of cheese) and one of the cheeses I use is FAT FREE--so OBVIOUSLY I do eat processed food myself--I eat sugar free jello and pudding as well (with cool whip)--this is OBVIOUSLY processed food....I just had a blood test--EVERYTHING came back perfect--(Except he said my sodium levels were actually TOO low)
Everyoneone has different approaches to weight loss and healthy eating--no one person is right OR wrong--do what works for you...and having blood drawn and a FULL analysis of your blood will tell you EVERYTHING
I used almost all easy to count foods while losing weight. Besides being heavy on obvious things like fruits and especially veggies, I ate yogurt, vista muffins, cereal, lean cuisines every day, etc. I couldn't switch my entire way of eating in one day, change it for my family, too, cook wholesome meals for everyone and yet not be able to eat very much of them anyways, etc etc.
FOR ME, I needed the ease of pre packaged grocery items and easy to count foods. Each month that went by, I implemented little good habits, tried new foods and recipes. Little by little. Over a year later, my friends think I have gone off the deep end because we have completely eliminated trans fat from our home, and no high fructose corn syrup.
I still cook 100% of our meals at home, but I am at maintenance calories, which allows me more wiggle room to eat the same dinner as my family. Now we eat almost nothing processed, but I'm not against it. As long as it is made from real food, not weird ingredients and chemicals, it is food and I can use it as a small part of my family's diet.
But I really, really don't know if I could just jump into where I am NOW when I was first starting, hungry and overwhelmed. So I think you can start making better choices one day ate time and aim for your goals long term! Good luck!
I never thought I bought that many processed foods, because I've always eaten mostly what I considered whole/wholesome foods. My definition of processed has changed dramatically.
I still use a few frankenfoods. I've found that sugar does more radical damage to my health and wellbeing than low-calorie sweeteners - so I do use sugar free jello, sugar free pudding, and drink mixes - and I keep several artificial sweeteners in the house, but use them far more sparingly than I used to.
I think focusing on progress rather than perfection works best for most people as opposed to radically changing your diet cold-turkey. My body does not respond well to radical change (due to fibromyalgia and IBS). So all the changes I've made to my diet has been gradual and slow.
I haven't eaten processed sweets since I was a teenager, but I had absolutely no idea how much sugar was hidden in seemingly healthy foods.
Become a label reader, and choose the foods with the most recognizeable ingredients. Look up any ingredients you can't pronounce or don't know what they are (some hard to pronounce ingredients are actually vitamins and other healthy, wholesome ingredients and some simple to pronounce ingredients are chemical additives. Know what the ingredients are, and how they work in your body - by reading some basic books on nutrition).
More and more, I'm moving towards a paleo-type diet (with some modern food exceptions), because I've found that carbohydrates - sugar and wheat especially - aggravate my health issues. I don't know if (as some of the paleo advocates claim) everyone should be on a paleo diet, but I've had great success with mine. The closer I get, the better I feel.
Whether I'll ever have an entirely paleo or even whole-food diet, I'm not sure, but moving closer and closer has had incredible health benefits - aside from the weight loss.
It can be overwhelming and even unpleasant to overhaul your diet overnight though, so at first you might just want to find healthier versions of what you're eating now. Swapping whole grain bread for white bread, or switching from chocolate/cake desserts to canned fruit, or from canned fruit to fresh fruit (even if you have to sweeten the fruit a little bit with sugar or low-cal sweeteners)...
If you want to jump cold turkey into a whole-food or paleo way-of-eating, more power to you. But if you find that doing so causes you to feel miserable (physically or mentally) then consider making gradual changes.
You also have to judge the processing on a case-by-case basis. There's absolutely nothing natural or healthy about a twinkie, but yogurt and cheese? That may depend. I don't drink milk because I'm mildly lactose intolerant, but I don't seem to have any problems with yogurt and cheese. I've started making my own yogurt, and I was a little concerned that I'd have difficulty (because I couldn't tell if enough of the lactose would be consumed during the incubation process. Apparently most of it, because I don't have any more problems with my own yogurt as with store bought).
Truly paleo diets eliminate dairy completely, and I may do so eventually, but right now I'm enjoying it tremendously without ill effects (but that may just be because I still have quite a bit of room for improvement in my diet). Cultured-dairy may simply be a lesser-evil than non-cultured dairy.
Some people swear by a making a sudden diet overhaul, but for some of us, gradual imrovement is more practical.
My Etsy shop (currently closed for the summer)
Processed foods are a dwell edged sword. Because they are so processed to extend their shelf life they lose a lot of the flavor fresh foods have, so they end up loaded with fat, salt or sugar so that they taste good. And on top of that a lot of them are full of chemicals that don't do much good for our bodies.
I try to look at it this way; instead of thinking about how BAD processed food is for me I think about how GREAT whole foods are. You get all kinds of nutrients and flavor, and when you prepare them you control how much fat, sugar and salt are added.
I love the way kaplods phrased it 'progress over perfection'. Over the past few years my husband and I concentrated on eating more and more whole foods and by default the processed foods stopped coming into the house for the most part. We still have an occasional processed item, but most of our diet is now whole foods.
Honestly we both find that we enjoy food we've cooked at home over a processed version from the store way more every time.
Last edited by CanadianMomma : 06-23-2012 at 07:52 AM.
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