If you‘ve been looking at anything about health and diet in the last 30 – 40 years, then you’ve probably heard repeatedly that processed food should only be eaten in moderation. We also know that this is one of the most challenging parts of choosing a healthier lifestyle. It can be difficult to cut out these processed foods that are food in every grocery store. If you’re ready to cut these foods out, here are some tips for how to not eat processed foods.
How to Not Eat Processed Foods: Where to Start First
How familiar are you with the cons of processed foods?
It’s so hard to resist processed foods, especially when everyone around you likes them. Learning how to not eat processed foods will be a challenge, but we’re here to help.
If you’re anything like most people, reading the ingredient list on many of the prepackaged bags of chips and individually wrapped burritos and sandwiches sold in stores can be baffling.
If someone asks you about the difference between whole foods vs. processed foods, you would probably feel confused. Go and try to trace the indecipherably long names of chemicals, you probably feel some apprehension, and it turns out that is the right mindset.
Start removing processed foods from your diet by avoiding any food with ingredients that are difficult to pronounce or has unfamiliar ingredients to you.
That will keep you from ingesting anything with harsh preservatives. Stick with mostly real foods.
You wouldn’t want to ingest something with an unfamiliar ingredient, right? Not to say that it is all terrible, but that will give you somewhat of a buffer.
Processed vs. Unprocessed Foods
The unprocessed foods definition is the natural, edible parts of animals and plants.
You may be wondering about what kinds of meat are unprocessed. For example, you may be wondering, ‘Is tuna processed meat?’ Remember that once you add oil, salt, and sugar, and if they are packed or canned, they are considered processed foods.
Tuna, if fresh, is good, but it is already processed if it’s in canned form.
Choosing Healthier Alternatives
While you are learning the difference between fresh vs. processed food, it’s time to start creating your sauces and condiments for your food. Instead of buying from the store, you’d appreciate the art, health, and taste of homemade sauces, dips, and seasonings in the comforts of your home.
Try some healthier versions of the condiments you use, and keep them in your pantry for easy use. They are slowly becoming more common, but you can always find them at specialty stores. Once you get used to making your own, you will be able to compare your version with the ones you previously tried.
Foods to Keep in Mind
Coconut oil is versatile. You can use it to add a coconut flavor to foods and baked goods. You can use it to lightly fry veggies and give them a beautiful, fragrant smell and taste.
Coconut oil is great for tea and smoothies. It’s also a great addition to mellow out an intense sauce. Cold pressed coconut oil benefits include anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Specialty cut veggies (noodle alternative)
Who would pass on some fun cuts of tasty vegetables? If you have a food processor or a special cutting device that can make pasta shapes out of vegetables, then you have a huge list of great foods that you can try.
When you feel like you want some pasta but veggies are a better idea, then you can get something going with these. Try out squash spaghetti.
Yogurt like this is a must for all kinds of projects. You can use it to make everything from salad dressings to sweet treats. Greek yogurt is also awesome on anything bready and savory.
Squash and potatoes
Squash and potatoes are great ground treasures and have such a massive role in food all over the world.
Potatoes can be prepared in a variety of ways. Baked, lightly fried, or mashed, squash makes a great base for soup and other innovative ideas.
Now that you have an idea of how to not eat processed foods, try them out. Don’t rush, enjoy the process, and embrace the change to a healthier, clean eating lifestyle.