I'm trying to eat less processed food (better for me, better for the planet), but the journey from fresh to processed is not a simple one, nor is it always clear what, exactly, makes something highly processed (the quick answer: the more a food is sliced, diced, and added to, the more processed it is). Here are 12 "fake" foods to avoid and the more natural options you should eat instead:
1. Frozen Veggie Burgers
Eat instead: Fresh edamame (whole soybeans)
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Tofu
Shopping Tip: Try a gilled tofu kebab over highly processed veggie burgers as an easy vegetarian option.
2. Apple Toaster Pastry
Eat Instead: Whole apple
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Applesauce
Shopping Tip: While applesauce is a healthy choice, it has fewer nutrients than a whole apple.
3. Orange Drink
Eat instead: Whole orange
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): 100% orange juice
Shopping Tip: Many fruit drinks contain high fructose corn syrup and little real juice.
4. Frozen Creamed Spinach
Eat instead: Fresh Spinach
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Bagged prewashed spinach (precut greens lose their nutrients faster than the whole uncut bunch)
Shopping Tip: When buying frozen vegetables, avoid those packaged with sodium-rich sauces. Buy plain and add your own light sauce.
5. Frozen honey-glazed carrots
Eat instead: Loose carrots
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Baby carrots
Shopping Tip: Baby carrots are healthy, but they are more expensive than regular-size loose carrots.
6. Dehydrated Soup Mix
Eat instead: Soup from scratch
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Canned soup
Shopping Tip: Homemade soup often has less sodium and more flavor than canned.
7. Frozen beef patties
Eat instead: Grass-fed beef
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Grain-fed beef
Shopping Tip: Grass-fed meat is higher in nutrients and lower in fat than grain-fed beef.
8. Chicken nuggets
Eat instead: Fresh chicken breasts
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Deli sliced chicken
Shopping Tip: Chicken nuggets contain very little real chicken.
9. Egg Beaters
Eat instead: Pasture-raised eggs
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Omega-3-fortified eggs
Shopping Tip: Pasture-raised eggs may have 35% less saturated fat, 60% more vitamin A, and 200% more omega-3s compared with omega-3-fortified eggs and Egg Beaters, which come from chickens kept in coops.
10. Flavored yogurt drink
Eat instead: Plain yogurt
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Flavored yogurt
Shopping Tip: Buy plain yogurt and flavor it at home with honey or fresh fruit.
11. Fortified White Bread
Eat instead: Whole grain bread
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Wheat bread
Shopping Tip: If a whole grain isn't the first ingredient, you're missing out on nutrients.
12. Instant noodles
Eat instead: Dried whole-wheat pasta
2nd Choice (Somewhat Processed): Dried white pasta
Shopping Tip: Whole grain pasta is higher in antioxidants than white or instant noodles.
More Healthy Eating Tips from Prevention
Don't give up on your New Year's Resolution! Lose weight with yummy lower-calorie meals with these recipes from the 400 Calorie Fix!
The best remedies in life are FREE or darn close to it! See for yourself with thousands of cutting-edge remedies from The Big Doctors Book of Home Remedies!