Eating clean is recommended for good health, and we all know we should eat “whole” and “natural” foods. But it’s hard to determine what’s natural and what’s processed, which is why shopping for whole foods isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Processed foods have damaging effects on health, and they also reduce your intake of whole foods. Processed foods are altered to contain preservatives, chemical additives and are calorie-laden, so they have a low nutrient content.
Here are some simple tips that will help you ditch processed foods for more nutrient-rich options.
Check the ingredients label carefully
We look for calorie, fat and sugar content on nutrition labels, but you should also be looking at ingredient labels because the ingredients list is a good indicator of how processed a food is. If the foods contain more than 5 ingredients and you read unfamiliar items that seem like chemical additives than the food is most certainly processed.
Choose foods without packaging
A majority of whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, fresh herbs, meat and fish, nuts are sold without industrial packaging. Add these items to your shopping cart.
Choose locally grown produce
The next time you have to restock your kitchen, buy foods from your local grocery stall instead of a supermarket. The fruits and vegetable sold will be in season and that’s when they are most nutritious.
Buy bread, biscuits and milk products from your local bakery and dairy, and your meat and fish from your local meat market. Locally grown products are also more environment-friendly.
Choose whole grains.
Whole grains are nutrient-dense and rich in fibre. Ditch all the white grains and flour for brown rice, quinoa, oats and whole grains. When grains are processed and flour is refined, nutrients are misplaced, and calories become more concentrated. Always choose whole grains when possible.
Cook your own food
By cooking your own meals you have full control on what you eat. You can choose whole ingredients and cut out processed foods from your diet. You don’t need advanced cooking skills to prepare simple meals. Use simple recipes and techniques to keep you satiated and inspired.
Save half the space on your plate for fruits and vegetables
There’s no denying that fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient-packed foods and most of us don’t consume enough of them.
Avoid products that contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
HFCS products are worse than white sugar and only contain empty calories. It is a definite indicator of food products that have been thoroughly processed.