Processed food is any food item that has been canned, cooked, frozen, pasteurized, or packaged.
Reducing your intake of these highly processed foods is one of the most effective ways to improve your health and enhance the quality of your diet. You can enjoy many processed foods, including canned vegetables, frozen fruits, and pasteurized dairy products, as part of a healthy diet. However, some highly processed items are loaded with salt, sugar, additives, and preservatives, which can harm your health.
1.Refined grains for whole grains:
One of the simplest ways to reduce your intake of processed foods is to start trading them for healthier whole foods. In particular, you can swap refined grains like white pasta, rice, bread, and tortillas for whole grain alternatives, such as brown rice and whole grain pasta, bread, and tortillas.
Whole grains are higher in important nutrients like fiber, but they’ve also been shown to protect against conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
2.Keep healthy snacks handy:
keeping your kitchen stocked with plenty of portable, nutritious snacks can make it much easier to make healthy choices on the go.
- Some of my favorite healthy snacks include fresh fruit, mixed nuts and veggies with hummus.
- boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups, homemade kale chips, and overnight oats are a few great treats that you can whip up quickly and keep on hand for later.
3. consume more water:
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
Sugary beverages like soda, sweet tea, fruit juice are high in sugar and calories but low in essential nutrients. Gradually trading these drinks for water throughout the day is a great way to cut back on your intake of processed foods and improve your overall diet quality. Alternatively, you can try infusing water with fresh fruit or herbs for an added burst of flavor.
4. consume more vegetables:
vegetables are highly nutritious and great sources of fiber, which keeps you feeling full between meals to help decrease your appetite and curb cravings.
When you’re preparing meals at home, include at least one serving of vegetables to increase your intake of healthy, unprocessed foods. This can be as easy as adding spinach to your scrambled eggs, sautéing broccoli for a simple side dish, or tossing carrots or cauliflower into soups or casseroles.
5. Try some food substitutes:
There are countless healthy substitutes for many processed products. Here are a few of my favorites:
- top your salads with nuts or seeds instead of croutons.
- Trade your sugary breakfast cereal for a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit.
- Whip up a homemade vinaigrette with olive oil and vinegar to drizzle over salads in place of processed dressings.
- Make trail mix using nuts, seeds, and dried fruit for a healthy alternative to store-bought varieties.