Medically reviewed by Dr. Unsa Mohsin.
Healthy eating and cutting out processed foods from your diet is the talk of the town these days. But do you think its really possible in this day and age to completely cut down on packed and processed items? Almost everything out there is processed one way or the other and it would be quite an exaggeration to say that you should shift to organic foods completely.
Therefore, the easier option is to identify the degree of processing. While some foods are only minimally processed, others are processed to an extreme degree. And these are the kind of foods that should be avoided.
So, lets go ahead and find out about the ultra-processed foods that are a part of our life.
Processed Vs. Ultra-Processed
Even though the terms processed and ultra-processed sound similar, they are quite different from each other. While processed foods have only undergone minimal change before being sold, ultra-processed foods have added flavor, preservatives and colors which make them more harmful than ever.
Now, once I list down the names of the ultra-processed foods, it might come as a shock to you because we eat them regularly. And these foods are:
- Breakfast cereals
- Soda or Cold Drinks
- Fast food burgers
- Chicken nuggets
- Energy bars
- Fruit yogurt
- Infant formula
- Boxed cake mixes
- Hot dogs
- Store bought ice creams
- Noodles and Ramen
So, while you are at it, first start with avoiding things from the list mentioned above, because you know and I know, we love them all!
Towards Easier Swapping
If you have decided to cut back on ultra-processed foods, by following these tips, it will become a tad bit easier for you to achieve your goal!
1. Take it slow
The all or nothing approach almost never works! Therefore, start by cutting off on things that you consume daily. For example, if breakfast cereals are a daily thing, eat them thrice a week and lowering it down to once a week till you are completely off them and have started liking your healthy alternatives.
2. Plan ahead
Planning your meals ahead of time is a great idea when you are cautious of what is going inside your body. If you are constantly planning on making healthier choices, the time will come when eating healthy is as easy as pie!
3. Build a likeness for whole grains and fresh fruits
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and you don’t want to ruin it by filling your stomach with breakfast cereals and pancakes. Therefore, make a bowl of porridge and add some fresh apples and peaches to it. Trust me, you’ll like it and it will most definitely get you throughout the day!
The foods that we consume in this day and age are far from organic. And it’s quite impossible to completely switch to organic foods when even the milk that we consume is processed. Therefore, a better idea is to find healthier alternatives to the ultra-processed foods that we regularly consume.
So, start incorporating eggs, vegetables and fruits in your diet for a change and see amazing results for yourself. While you are at it, satisfy your junk food cravings, but only once a month. Because you know, moderation is the key!
Guest Credits: Asma Qadri