Any food item that has been cooked, frozen, canned, pasteurized, or packaged is known as processed food. Many processed foods including frozen fruits, canned vegetables, and pasteurized dairy products are a part of a healthy diet. Still, some highly processed food items are loaded with sugar, salt, and preservatives which can be very harmful to your health.
The more you reduced the intake of highly processed food the more your health will improve. It will enhance the quality of your diet as it is one of the most effective ways to improve your health.
Here are some simple ways to eat less processed food:
You can swap processed foods with something healthy:
If you look properly there are many healthy swaps for processed products. You can swap sugar breakfast cereal for a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruits or dry fruits. You can get your own popcorn by popping it on the stove in place of microwave popcorn. Try mixing nuts or dried fruits in place of store-bought varieties. Use seeds or nuts to top your salads instead of croutons. You can add sprouts to your breakfast then something oily or packed breakfast.
Add more vegetables:
You can increase the intake of healthy and unprocessed foods by including them in your meals. Add vegetables to your meal while preparing meals at home. You can easily add spinach to your eggs or saute broccoli for a side dish or add carrots and beans to your soups. Vegetables are a great source of fiber and are highly nutritious which helps you to feel full between meals and decreases your cravings for processed foods.
Prepare in advance:
Ensure to keep plenty of nutritious meals ready in your fridge even if you don't have time to cook them. This will make you less tempted to opt for frozen or packed meals. You can even start by preparing a list of recipes and setting a specific time to prepare them.
Drink more water:
Beverages like sports drinks, soda, and fruit juice are high in sugar and calories and low in essential nutrients. Drinking more water throughout the day can help to cut back on the consumption of processed foods and it can help to improve overall diet quality. If you don't want to drink plain water you can be creative with it by adding herbs or fresh fruits, it will enhance the flavor.
Choose whole grains instead of refined grains:
Reducing the intake of processed foods gets easy when you start trading them for healthier whole foods. You can swap refined grains like rice, bread, white pasta, etc for whole grains like whole grain, bread, brown rice, etc. Whole grains are high in nutrients like fiber and have health benefits like protecting against conditions such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, and heart disease.
keep stock of healthy snacks:
Healthy snacks like fresh fruits, nuts, and oats can be very helpful, or if you have some time to prepare you can opt for boiled eggs, homemade kale chips, or oats with milk. They are not only healthy but delicious as well. Keeping your kitchen stocked with plenty of healthy and portable snacks can make it less tempting for you to grab a packaged snack when hungry.
If you try to eliminate processed foods from your diet completely at once, it can get very difficult. You can make changes slowly and this slow change is often effective and sustainable in the long run. These may seem like minor lifestyle changes but these changes can help form long-lasting habits and actions that seem difficult in the beginning and will be much easier over time. And you can still dine out and enjoy processed food in moderation.
These are simple ways to eat less processed food. To know more about a healthy diet contact a diet coach or nutritionist.
Nutritionist & Diet Coach
1. Anita Sahu - Nutritionist & Diet Coach - Utopia Life Coach & DP's Cuisine Restaurant in Siliguri, West Bengal, India.