The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Lisa D’Agrosa, M.S., R.D., EatingWell.com

You’ve probably heard that you should limit processed foods in your diet, but might be wondering exactly what those foods are — and how to cut back on them. Many packaged foods are full of ingredients you can’t pronounce and are loaded with sodium, sugar and unhealthy saturated fat, so it’s worth trying to avoid them when possible.

Here are some simple swaps you can make to cut back on unhealthy processed foods. And, because not everything that comes in a box or plastic tub is bad for you, learn which packaged foods can actually be part of a healthy diet:

At breakfast: Trade cereal for oatmeal.

Many cereals on the market are packed with sugar and/or missing out on fiber. Sure, you can pick a healthier breakfast cereal (and there are plenty of healthy choices), but oatmeal is a whole food with only one ingredient — oats. If you stick to plain oats — not the type that come in flavored packets — you’ll get 150 calories and 4 grams of fiber per ½-cup serving.

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which can help lower your cholesterol, prevent your blood sugar from spiking and keep you feeling full. Add some fruit for natural sweetness and even more fiber, milk or Greek yogurt for calcium and protein and a dash of cinnamon or vanilla for extra flavor–and you have a satisfying and wholesome breakfast.

At lunch: Trade salad croutons for nuts.

A salad can be a very healthy lunch, but watch out for the toppings. Croutons add a nice crunch, but they also add sodium, fat and calories without a lot of extra nutrition. Instead of those processed cubes of toasted bread, add some nuts to the top of your salad. They’re full of heart-healthy fats, and also add some protein and fiber.

Another way to clean up your salad is to make your own healthy, homemade salad dressing. Bottled salad dressings can have lots of added sugar, sodium and ingredients you can’t pronounce; instead, try making your own. To make a super-healthy salad into a filling meal, add a source of lean protein, such as chicken or fish, and a serving of whole grains, like quinoa or brown rice.

At dinner: Trade canned soup for homemade soup.

Canned soups often have long ingredient lists and are full of things you wouldn’t add to a homemade pot of soup. Plus, they’re notoriously high in sodium. While opening up a can is easier than starting from scratch, you can still have a healthy, homemade soup on the table in 30 minutes.

If you don’t have enough time to prep soup for dinner some nights, cook up a big batch of soup when you have time and freeze it in individual portions — ready to be reheated for a healthy dinner in a flash. You can cut back on other processed foods by cooking them at home too. Think homemade pizza instead of a frozen box, and stir-fries instead of takeout.

You can use fresh, healthy ingredients and will know exactly what you’re eating because cooking lets you control what you’re actually having for dinner. Cooking at home can be just as convenient as using packaged foods — and a lot healthier.

Processed foods to keep in your diet:

Not everything that comes out of a package is unhealthy. Many foods that are served in plastic bags, boxes or cans — like dried beans, bagged salad greens, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables (without added sauces, salt or sugar) — are minimally processed and healthy. Plain, low-fat yogurt, natural peanut butter, and canned wild salmon should make it into your grocery cart, too.

When you’re shopping, look for foods with short ingredient lists with names you recognize and can pronounce before purchasing an item to be sure it doesn’t fall in the unhealthy processed-foods category.

EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com.

Photo: Nathan Cooke via Flickr

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

President Joe Biden

The price of gasoline is not Joe Biden's fault, nor did it break records. Adjusted for inflation, it was higher in 2008 when Republican George W. Bush was president. And that wasn't Bush's fault, either.

We don't have to like today's inflation, but that problem, too, is not Biden's doing. Republicans are nonetheless hot to pin the rap on him. Rising prices, mostly tied to oil, have numerous causes. There would be greater supply of oil and gas, they say, if Biden were more open to approving pipelines and more drilling on public land.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

Heat deaths in the U.S. peak in July and August, and as that period kicks off, a new report from Public Citizen highlights heat as a major workplace safety issue. With basically every year breaking heat records thanks to climate change, this is only going to get worse without significant action to protect workers from injury and death.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration admits that government data on heat-related injury, illness, and death on the job are “likely vast underestimates.” Those vast underestimates are “about 3,400 workplace heat-related injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work per year from 2011 to 2020” and an average of 40 fatalities a year. Looking deeper, Public Citizen found, “An analysis of more than 11 million workers’ compensation injury reports in California from 2001 through 2018 found that working on days with hotter temperatures likely caused about 20,000 injuries and illnesses per year in that state, alone—an extraordinary 300 times the annual number injuries and illnesses that California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) attributes to heat.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}