Over-processed foods to avoid
In the busy world of an increasingly stressed out North American population, the concept of good food has taken a backseat to whatever tastes good and fills you up. Understandable, since many Americans find themselves working long shifts and the last thing they feel like doing is cooking up a meal with too much prep time once they get home. The alternative is usually easy to make and satisfies the hungry stomach quickly. The tradeoff, though, is often a meal high in calories and low in nutrition.
Many of the foodstuffs we purchase are over-processed. It’s actually alarming just how often we don’t eat real food; we eat food byproducts. These byproducts contain additives – product that doesn’t originate in the food itself. Take broccoli in a bag, for example, which can be microwaved in five minutes and tastes good too. It is tasty yes, but that’s because there’s a lot of salt and preservatives in the ‘pseudo-vegetable’, not something you get with just a regular fresh stalk.
Worse yet, over processed food is everywhere. It can be tricky just trying to differ between good and bad. However, there are some easy signs and things to look out for, some more obvious than others. For example, processed meats are definitely a no go. Unless you need to cook the meat, things like hot dogs or frozen meats in a bag (like chicken nuggets) tend to just be a powder keg of preserves and artificial flavourings.
Many other sources
Other culprits: highly processed sugars, often found in soft drinks, cookies, snacks, and even breads are bad for the body. Remember those cereal and granola bars which just scream healthy? Think again, they’re far more sugary and full of processed grains which do your body little good. What about salads? If you’ve decided to drown the bowl of veggies in bottled salad dressing, you’re kind of defeating the point, as dressings are loaded with high calorie additives too, such as sugar and salt…not to mention those ingredients that are hard to pronounce!
A good rule to follow is that any whole vegetable, fruit, or meat you need to cook is far healthier than something ‘pre-made’ in a bag. If you’re still not sure, check over the nutrition facts to see just what you’re getting with food items.