Thursday, 5 January 2017

5 Processed Foods to Leave Behind in 2016

As we embark on 2017, many are on a mission to leave behind the uncertainty of the old year, and ring in the new with a fresh start.
A good way to begin a path toward better health is to remove popular store-bought, processed foods from your diet. These foods are often high in added sugar and sodium, while being low in fiber and important nutrients. The easiest way to avoid these foods is to prepare all your food at home. As this can be difficult and time-consuming for most, eliminating a few highly processed items from your diet can make a large difference.
Kickstart your eating habits and overhaul your lifestyle this 2017 by removing these five processed foods out of your pantry.
1. Breakfast cereal 
Store-bought breakfast cereals are often considered to be fairly healthy. However, by the time cereals reach grocery shelves, they’ve often been processed so much that they’re rather dangerous. Most cereals, even the “grown-up cereals” are often filled with sugar or alternative sweeteners. They’re also often low in dietary fiber which can increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Rather, try making your own muesli or granola to supplement your breakfasts, allowing you to control your sugar and fiber intake.

2. Dried fruit
With fruit in the name, how could this popular grocery store snack be unhealthy, right? Wrong. While dried fruit is better for you than candy, it’s still high in added sugar and preservatives. This can lead to weight gain and add to your fat store. To still satisfy your sweet tooth and stay healthy, try eating fresh fruit or dehydrating fruit yourself without adding any sugar. This can be done with a simple at-home dehydrator or even your oven. Now you can get your extra fiber and minerals, without the added pounds.
3. Salad dressing
Much like dried fruit and cereal, store-bought salad dressing is often considered to be part of a healthy diet. However, a quick gander at the label will reveal that mass-produced salad dressing often contains a myriad of ingredients with unrecognizable names. This often means high amounts of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and sodium. An easy way to avoid this, is to make your own salad dressing. It’s both simple and fun. Whisk together oil and vinegar, and add your favorite spices like oregano or garlic powder.

4. Deli meat
While deli meat usually isn’t high in sugar, it often contains high levels of sodium and other preservatives. After all, it takes a lot of intervention for a slab of meat to remain edible for months at a time! This can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight gain. Rather, try to keep your meats as close to their natural (cooked) states as possible. Save leftover chicken and meat from dinner to use in sandwiches during the week.
5. Canned soup
While canned soup is often convenient and delicious, it contains high levels of sodium. This can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. In addition, cans are lined with chemical BPA which has been linked to infertility and diabetes. While making your own soup may seem like a huge task, it can be rather rewarding. Homemade soup freezes well, can often be made in under an hour, and is a perfect addition to portion-controlled diets. Try this simple and delicious buttercup squash soup recipe, perfect for winter.

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