When you are on a diet or trying to eat healthier, you have probably heard that you need to stay away from processed foods. And that is with good reason. Processed foods are to blame for our nation’s epidemic with obesity, but with children and adults. It is also to blame for high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. And while it is important to stay away from bags of potato chips and that McDonald’s 10 piece chicken mcnugget meal, there are actually some processed foods that you can eat that are HEALTHY for you!
What Is Processed Food?
Processed food is defined as “any deliberate change in a food that occurs before it’s available for us to eat.” This means that it can be a change from anything such as freezing or drying of food that helps preserve freshness and nutrients. However, many times this also means adding preservatives and extra sugar or sodium which not only extends the shelf life of the food but eating more of those extra additives can cause your body harm.
What Processed Foods Are Healthy Food You?
Frozen Vegetables and Fruits. Not only is it healthy for you to buy bags of frozen fruit and vegetables, but it is also more economical for your family. Instead of buying fresh fruit and vegetables that may go bad within the next day or so. You may have the intention of eating the couple of broccoli heads you bought yesterday, but they go bad pretty fast.
When you buy frozen vegetables and fruit, you end up with less waste because you are able to use only what you need for that meal, and you can put the rest back in the freezer. When shopping for frozen vegetables and fruit, look for the packages that says that the contents have been flash frozen. This means that they were picked ripe, then blanched in hot water to kill off any bacteria and then frozen immediately which allows the fruit and vegetables to keep all of their nutrients.
Packaged Nuts And Nut Butters. Eating nuts and nut butters are good for your heart. They are both somewhat inexpensive and they are easy to pack and go for when you are on the run. Nuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent your heart against heart attacks. They are also full of fiber which can keep you full for longer. The best type of nuts that you can eat are walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans.
Nut butters are also good for your heart as they help to improve cholesterol levels. They are also loaded with healthy fats, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals and protein. However, not all nut butters are created equal. When shopping for a nut butter, make sure that you pick up a brand that contains only three ingredients: peanuts (or the nut you prefer), salt, and oil. The best type to use is a natural nut butter as this type has only those three ingredients.
Canned Beans. Canned beans are very convenient. As with dry beans, they are full of protein and are easy to add to pretty much any recipe or dish. Also, canned beans are ready-to-eat, you just have to heat them up and they are ready to be devoured. You can easily combine them with rice or even add them to a salad for extra protein and fiber.
As with everything, processed foods should also be consumed in moderation. You should be aware to check the food labels on any can or bag before you purchase it. Make sure that the ingredients are minimally processed and are only prepped for your convenience.