How Good Are You In Avoiding Processed Foods?
Avoiding processed foods isn’t easy in today’s market. There are different levels of processing. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics list a few foods that tell us how much foods might be processed.
Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed according to the academy.
- Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — are often simply pre-prepped for convenience.
- Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned beans, tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
- Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
- Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
- The most heavily processed foods often are frozen or pre-made meals like frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.
Should You Avoid All Processed Foods?
They also tell us that some processed foods can be beneficial to your diet.
- Milk and juices are sometimes fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and breakfast cereal may have added fiber. Canned fruit (packed in water or its own juice) is a good option when fresh fruit is not available.
- Some minimally processed food like pre-cut vegetables are quality convenience foods for busy people. “Bagged vegetables and salads are helping people eat more vegetables,” says Giancoli. “They’re more expensive, but if your choice is between paying less and chopping it when you know you’re not going to do that, and paying a little more for the bagged vegetable you know you’re going to eat, the [bagged vegetable] is a better choice.”
Rule Of Thumb In Avoiding Processed Foods
The main foods to be avoiding in processed foods are foods with hidden sugar, salt and fat. There are lots of different types of sugar, so you really have to read the label carefully. There is sugar in sauces and cereal, not just ice cream and candy. The other is salt. Like hidden sugar in foods you might not expect, same with sodium. There are many foods with high levels of sodium. And fats. Avoiding these 3 ingredients can get you on your way in avoiding processed foods.