Processed foods have become so main stream that most people don’t even know what the definition of processed foods is! The definition is, “Commercially-prepared food designed for ease of consumption. This includes ready-to-eat foods, frozen foods, shelf-stable products, and prepared mixes like cake mix.” These types of foods are horrible for humans to consume in little to mass quantities but have been advertised to be super healthy and easy to make. Processed foods are loaded with preservatives, unhealthy synthetic ingredients, and high in sodium, sugar, and fat yet are being consumed at astronomical rates. Statistics show processed foods make up at least 70 percent of the American diet. Commonly consumed processed foods include crackers, cookies, chips, breakfast bars, pizza, cereal, peanut butter (the unnatural kind), yogurt, ice cream, pasta sauces, the list goes on and on. So many things are processed that it makes one wonder, “Well, what can I eat then?”
Opt for foods that grow from the earth and are eaten in their natural state. These foods include vegetables, fruit, nuts, and legumes. Instead of buying already made bread, make your own loaf or two once a week and freeze to keep fresh longer. Purchase grass-fed lean meats and all-natural eggs and opt for wild fish instead of farm-raised fish.
Go organic whenever you can – Pesticides are heavily saturated into fruit and vegetables and can cause a multitude of health complications among children and adults. Make cooking at home a great time to have quality time with your spouse and children. Children learn about health and nutrition from their parents so it’s important to set good examples of diet and nutrition early. Make cooking fun! If your family has a crazy and hectic schedule, choose one day a week to cook a bunch of meals together that can last a week.
You will be amazed at how easy it is to choose healthier food options when you start doing so. It takes a little bit getting used to, but you will get the hang of it in no time. Read labels – If there are more than 5 or so ingredients listed in a type of food, set it down and opt to make a “clean” version instead. Get creative and let your kids help! They will feel so accomplished when their input it valued and are able to be a part of the cooking process…and it will instill healthy eating into their minds and bodies for the rest of their lives.