Being a pro, you fear the processed! On your fitness journey, you are asked to give up anything that comes out of a packet and you happily deprive yourselves of it. Aiming to lead a fit and healthy life begins with knowing what to eat because what you eat is what you become. It applies to all kinds of foods, be it your fitness supplement or any processed food. Chuck the packets and cans away and you might be losing on a lot of nutrients.
It’s time to understand the concept of processed foods better.
Here, we answer the basic questions that give you a deeper insight of what processed foods are and how you can include them in your daily diet.
What are Processed Foods?
Food that has been baked, canned, dried, cooked, frozen or pasteurized or has been changed in its composition by adding or deducting is processed food. Each step during the preparation of any food is “processing” it. Hence, it depends on the kind of processes involved that determine just how processed the food is.
The foods that are minimally processed are pre-prepped for convenience. Ready-to-eat and microwaveable foods are the most heavily processed ones.
Are all processed foods bad for me?
As opposed to this misconception, not all processed foods are your enemy. Since processed food has to be packaged and its freshness has to be maintained for a long time, additives like salt, sugar, and sodium are added along with other preservatives to increase its shelf life. Some so-called “low-fat” foods like biscuits, cereals, sauces, and dressings often have added sugar and salt to enhance the flavor, so much so that they rank higher in calories than the food that has a higher fat percentage! These should be processed foods to avoid at all times. Foods that are highly processed get digested easily leading to storage of more sugars as fats and thus leading to weight gain, in the worst cases to type 2 diabetes.
Are there any healthy processed foods?
Yes, there might be plenty of processed foods that you are missing out on because you don’t read the label!
Canned, pre-cut or bagged vegetables add convenience and are better options for processed foods that are healthy and don’t contain any extras. Sugar-free (or Greek) yogurts and granolas can be some great snacking items which are also filling. Breakfast cereals might be tricky ones as many have claimed to be low fat but are high in additives.
Try and look for those made with whole grains and little to no added sugar, salt, or artificial colors and flavors. We suggest adding low-sugar muesli to your diet and your breakfast will be taken care of! Chia seeds can be sprinkled on your snacks and are rich in Omega 3 and are a wonderful source of calcium.
Being smart about your overall food choices is the right way towards healthy eating. Cooking the majority of your food at home gives you a lot of control over the quality and quantity of ingredients.
With a new understanding of processed foods, go ahead and indulge in the right ones guilt-free.