10 Ways to Eat Less Processed Food That Make Sense

Any food item that has been preserved in a jar, cooked, frozen, pasteurized, or packaged can be considered processed food.

As part of a healthy diet, you can eat a lot of processed foods, such as canned vegetables, frozen fruits, and pasteurized dairy products. On the other hand, some highly processed foods have a lot of salt, sugar, additives, and preservatives that are bad for your health.

One of the best ways to improve your health and the quality of your diet is to eat less of these highly processed foods.

When people ask me for nutrition tips, one of the first things I tell them is to eat less processed foods.

We’ve teamed up with Green Chef UK, a company that delivers meal kits, to give you 10 simple, sustainable, and doable ways to eat less processed food.

1. Stock up on healthy snacks.

If you don’t have much time, it might be tempting to grab a snack on the way out the door.

But if you keep your kitchen full of healthy snacks that you can take with you, it will be much easier to make healthy choices when you are on the go.

Fresh fruit, mixed nuts, edamame, and vegetables with hummus are a few of my favorite healthy snacks.

You can also make some simple snacks ahead of time if you have extra time. You can make hard-boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups, homemade kale chips, and overnight oats quickly and keep them on hand for later.

2. Switch from refined grains to whole grains.

One easy way to start eating less processed food is to start substituting healthier whole foods.

In particular, you can switch out refined grains like white pasta, rice, bread, and tortillas for whole grains like brown rice and whole-grain pasta, bread, and tortillas.

Whole grains are not only higher in important nutrients like fiber, but they also protect against heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

3. Do something different in the kitchen.

If you want to try something new, you can make your favorite processed foods healthier by making them at home. This gives you full control over what goes on your plate and lets you try out new, interesting ingredients.

For example, you can make veggie chips by tossing slices of potato, zucchini, turnip, or carrot with a bit of olive oil and salt and then baking them until they’re crispy.

You can also make chia pudding, air-popped popcorn, granola bars, and fruit leather at home. These are all healthy alternatives to processed foods.

Instead of ordering takeout, I like to try to make meals from my favorite restaurants at home. This saves money and makes it easier to eat more whole foods by stocking up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

4. Drink more water.

Soda, sweet tea, fruit juice, and sports drinks are high in sugar, calories, and minerals.

Swapping these drinks for water throughout the day helps you eat less processed food and improve your diet.

If plain water isn’t your favorite drink, try sparkling or flavored water instead. You can also try adding fresh fruit or herbs to the water to make it taste even better.

5. Plan your meals.

If you make a lot of food once or twice a week, you will always have plenty of healthy food in your fridge, even when you are too busy to cook.

It can also make you less likely to stop at a drive-through on the way home or grab a quick frozen meal when you’re in a hurry.

Choose a few meals per week and choose a cooking time.

I also like to find a few recipes with similar ingredients so I can switch between them during the week and not eat the same thing every night.

6. Eat more vegetables.

Include at least one serving of vegetables in your home-cooked meals to get more healthy, whole foods into your diet.

This can be as easy as putting spinach in your scrambled eggs, sautéing broccoli for a simple side dish, or throwing carrots or cauliflower into soups or casseroles.

Vegetables are very healthy and full of fiber, which makes you feel full between meals, which can help you eat less and stop cravings.

Meal kits are sent to your door. The recipes on Green Chef UK are approved by nutritionists and use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Customers can also choose from several diet plans, such as vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian plans that focus on vegetables.

7. Change your shopping habits.

When you don’t have any processed foods on hand, it’s much easier to limit how much you eat.

Fill your grocery cart with minimally processed fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes.

Stick to the store’s perimeter and avoid the middle aisles, where processed snacks are sold.

When you go shopping, make sure to read the labels on your favorite foods. Avoid foods with a lot of sodium, trans fats, or added sugar as much as you can.

8. Try swapping out a few simple foods.

There are a lot of healthy alternatives to a lot of processed foods. Some of my favorites are:

  • Instead of sugary cereal for breakfast, try oatmeal with fresh fruit.
  • Instead of buying microwave popcorn, you can pop your own on the stove.
  • Instead of using store-bought salad dressings, make a vinaigrette with olive oil and vinegar.
  • Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit can be used to make trail mix, which is a healthy alternative to buying it at the store.
  • Instead of croutons, you can put nuts or seeds on your salad.

9. Don’t eat as much processed meat.

Processed meats, including bacon, sausage, lunch meat, and hot dogs, can cause cancer, according to the IARC.

You’ll be glad to hear that there are many easy ways to eat less processed meat.

For starters, you can swap these foods for fresh chicken, salmon, or turkey instead, which are less processed. You can also use tuna salad, chicken breast, or hard-boiled eggs instead of lunch meats to fill your sandwiches.

You can also eat more proteins that come from plants, such as beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh.

10. Slowly make changes.

You don’t have to cut out all processed foods from your diet at once.

In fact, most changes work better and last longer when they are made slowly. According to the study, small lifestyle adjustments might help you create long-lasting habits and make challenging tasks easier over time.

Try out one or two of the above strategies each week, and then add more as you go along.

Keep in mind that you can still eat out and eat some processed foods as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.

In conclusion

Any food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, or packaged is a processed food.

As part of a healthy diet, you can eat a lot of processed foods, but you should limit the ones that are high in sodium, sugar, additives, and preservatives.

Try a few of the tips in this article to see what works for you, and remember to make changes slowly for the best results. You can read more health posts here.

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