According to most nutrition experts, the key to an overall healthy diet is to limit your intake of “ultra-processed” foods. We all know this, but it’s so easy not to do it. Unfortunately, they make up about 60% of total calories and contribute 90% of calories from added sugars. We also all know that we need to choose healthier, unprocessed and minimally processed foods that offer a variety of nutrients. So here are eight, relatively simple and painless ways to do this:
1. Start slowly.
Try taking small steps toward a less processed diet. There’s no need to go cold turkey to start off, and besides if you slowly ease into a less-processed eating plan, you have a higher likelihood of continuing your wholesome new habits.
2. Supplement your meals with fresh foods.
Try adding a banana or apple at breakfast or as a snack, or a vegetable at lunch. Half of your plate at lunch and dinner should be fruits and vegetables. Simply adding a freshly prepared salad or roasted vegetables to an otherwise not-so-fresh meal makes it better for your health.
3. Fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, more water.
If you get tired of water, try carbonated water or add fruit to water for flavor.
4. Stop adding salt to foods.
If you need an extra flavor boost, add garlic or pepper instead. In addition, you can add more flavor and nutrition by using our Land & SEAsoning all-purpose seasoning mix – and it comes in a shaker for table use.
5. Choose whole grains over processed grains.
Go with brown rice in place of white rice, whole-wheat pasta instead of “white” pasta and whole-grain bread instead of “white” bread. These swaps are nuttier-tasting and more filling.
6. Limit or avoid processed meats.
Meats such as bacon, ham, hot dogs and sausage have been linked to increased risk of colorectal cancer.
7. Use substitutes for highly processed snacks and foods.
Instead of potato chips, try nonfat popcorn, which is whole grain and a good source of fiber and still gives the crunch you’re looking for. You can add a dash of Parmesan cheese for flavor, or if you want a little kick, sprinkle on some of our Land & SEAsoning on your popcorn. It has become a go-to snack for many of our customers! We also have a great blog post on popping popcorn.
8. Make your own versions of traditionally processed foods.
Consider homemade kale chips, granola and even salad dressings. We have recipes to replace several traditional bottled salad dressings. Give them a try!
Source: CNN Health, January, 2019