I buy five processed foods regularly. A dietitian who promotes processed foods must conjure all sorts of images. Let me explain. First, there are many foods that I refuse to buy, here is a list of five. Second, like many of you, I am a busy working mom with two kids. I promote healthy home cooked meals but am realistic if you need to cut a few corners to get dinner on the table in time to eat as a family. Third, not all processed foods are created equal and nor should they necessarily be placed in the same category. Technically speaking processed food is defined as any food that has changed in any way or form from its original form. For example, frozen fruit and vegetables, yogurt, peanut butter, hummus, and store bought chicken broth are all considered processed. Let’s take a look of the five most common processed foods I buy.
Like most families, we eat a variety of nut and seed butters. A simple nut butter sandwich provides a lot of flavour, protein, and convenience. It’s an all around winner. If you have kids and can’t send nut butters to school or child care centres you are most likely familiar with seed butters like sesame seed. Now you can totally make your own nut or seed butter if you want but for me I am going for the convenience.
Frozen blueberries are a regular on our grocery list. Blueberries are a family favourite, we add them to plain yogurt, waffles, pancakes, and oats. I am lucky we have a local farmer who provides frozen blueberries all winter long.
My girls and I love plain greek yogurt with blueberries, we eat it daily, sometimes twice. I have colleagues who make their own but again I am going for convenience.
I buy canned chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans. Some people soak them overnight, extra kudos to you. We don’t eat enough beans for me to soak them, call me lazy.Perhaps one of my New Year’s resolutions could be to soak my own beans. I always look for cans that are BPA free and don’t forget to give them a good rinse before using.
Broths can add a lot of flavour to foods like quinoa. While many people make their own broth I simply don’t have the time or freezer space.
Tips for buying processed foods:
Look at the ingredient list, look for products that contain 5 or less recognizable ingredients.
Look for BPA free cans
Buy from trusted brands. I like Wholefoods 365 everyday brand which offers both organic and natural varieties with high standards at affordable prices.
Avoid buying heavily refined foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, lots of sugar, sodium, artificial ingredients and flavours.
So next time your out grocery shopping and looking to cut some corners read the ingredient list and choose wisely.