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If you‘ve been paying attention to just about anything written in the past 30 to 40 years, you’ve no doubt heard repeatedly that processed food should only be eaten very occasionally, if at all. This is because researchers have studied the effects processed foods have on your body, and their conclusion is very simply that they are not good for you. This knowledge moves many to avoid these foods, so if you are in line with that thinking, the next few paragraphs will give you a few tips to help you with getting processed foods out of your diet.
Where to Begin
If you’re like most people, reading the ingredient list on many of the prepackaged bags of chips and individually wrapped burritos and sandwiches sold in stores can be baffling. As your eyes read the indecipherably long names of chemicals, you probably feel some sort of apprehension. I want you to learn to listen to that little voice. One simple piece of advice you can always follow is to avoid anything that is difficult to pronounce, or that looks completely unfamiliar to you. Anything with an ingredient list that’s a mile long is not going to be a healthy choice. My rule of thumb with my coaching clients is to look for food products that have no more than five ingredients.
Try Some Healthy Brands
While you are learning to create your own sauces and condiments for your food, you can try some healthier versions of the condiments you normally use. Healthier versions are becoming more commonly available, and you can always find them in specialty stores and health food stores. Once you’re a pro at making your own, you’ll be able to compare your version with the ones you’ve purchased.
Foods to Help You Create Healthy Alternatives
Coconut oil is extremely versatile. You can use it to add coconut flavor to foods and baked goods. You can use it to lightly fry veggies and give them a beautiful, fragrant smell and taste.
It’s great for tea, smoothies, and can be a great addition to mellow out an intensely flavored sauce.
Don’t forget to try coconut milk in your coffee or tea. I love to use the light version of coconut milk in my green tea. It mellows out the flavor and has about half the fat of regular fully fatted coconut milk.
Specialty Cut Veggies (As noodle replacement)
How about some fun cuts of tasty vegetables? If you have a food processor or a special cutting device (like a spiralizer) that can make pasta shapes out of vegetables, then you have a huge list of great foods you can make. When you feel like you want some pasta but know veggies are a better idea, you can get something going with these.
It’s fun to get kids involved with this too! Let them choose the vegetable or the color of the vegetable for the dinner “noodles.”
Yogurt like this is great for all kinds of projects. You can use it to make everything from salad dressings, to sweet treats. Greek yogurt is also awesome on anything bready and savory.
One note of caution: I advise avoiding dairy, so even Greek yogurt, as delicious as it is, should be used sparingly.
Potatoes, Cauliflower and Squash
These wonderful vegetables have a massive role in food enjoyed all over the world! Potatoes can be prepared in a variety of ways. Remember that sweet potatoes are a healthier choice than potatoes with white flesh, so use them baked, steamed or mashed. Squash makes a great base for soup, and riced cauliflower is a great addition to just about any soup or stew!
If you commit to getting processed foods out of your diet and to a gradual transition to healthier eating, you will be more like to be successful with your healthy eating goals. Focus on pushing unhealthy food choices off your plate and replacing them with healthier ones, Be patient with yourself; it’s a learning process for all of us.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you! Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you won’t miss my daily postings for health, wellness and mindset!