Food items that are either canned, pre-cooked, frozen or packaged fall under processed foods. They are easily available and are usually ready to eat.
Some of the processed foods, you may enjoy without affecting your health such as frozen fruits, pasteurised dairy products, canned vegetables etc. But apart from these, most of the processed food available easily on shelves contain added sugars, preservatives and salt which are not good for your health. It is advisable to reduce the consumption of processed foods as much as you can to maintain a healthy diet.
Since we are always surrounded by processed foods it becomes easy to regularly make them a part of our diet. But here are 5 ways you can reduce processed foods in your diet and enhance your diet quality.
One of the easiest things you can do when moving to a diet that’s free of processed foods is to replace them with their healthier counterparts. For example, you could replace white bread with brown bread, white pasta with whole-grain pasta and simple rice with brown rice.
Whole grains are rich in fibre that reduces your blood sugar levels and also helps your digestive system. Additionally, they also protect you from heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Artificially sweetened beverages contain sugar that is harmful to your health. Soft drinks, soda, fruit juices, sports drinks are all high in sugar content and lack other essential nutrients.
When thirsty, try to hydrate yourself with more water instead of sugary drinks. This will keep your bodily functions normal and will also reduce your appetite, thereby helping you lose weight.
You can also try adding fresh herbs or fruits to the water for added benefits and flavour.
It is easy to grab a pack of packaged snacks when you’re short on time. This is why it is a good idea to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy food options. Also, try stocking up on portable snacks which you can pick up and eat on the go. Easy healthy snacks would include fresh fruits, mixed nuts, sprouts etc. You may also keep some foods ready in advance for your consumption later in the day.
If you’re too busy to cook during the week, try to prepare meals in advance once or twice a week. This will ensure your fridge is stocked up with healthy food options so you don’t fall into the temptation of grabbing something ready to eat.
Get creative in the kitchen and prepare some interesting healthy recipes in advance and keep some time aside during the week for preparing your meals.
Vegetables are a great source of essential nutrients and contain fibre which helps keep your body functioning normally while fulfilling your appetite. Always try to include some vegetables in your meals so you can reduce unprocessed foods and have healthier options on hand.
Most importantly, make changes slowly and gradually. Don’t go all out and change everything in a single day. You’re more likely to develop long-term habits when you bring in changes slowly into your routine. Try implementing one of the above tips every week and make it a part of your diet. Eventually, you will find your lifestyle and diet improving. You may still enjoy processed food once in a while or go out for eating sometimes. Just remember to follow a healthy, balanced diet.
Dietician Priyatama Srivastava is a highly qualified dietitian who has been bringing positive changes in countless people’s lives through her extensive knowledge of diet. Through her medically approved and specifically curated diet she has treated many patients all across the country with conditions such as diabetes, PCOS, thyroid etc. She is one of the best dieticians in Gurgaon. For any health-related queries, get in touch today.