When it comes to processed foods, most people are aware that they aren’t always the healthiest choice, but many consumers buy them anyway because they are convenient to make, eat, and buy, and are often less expensive than most whole foods. It is no wonder consumers have no problem grabbing them off the shelves at their local grocery store, convenience store or favorite big-box store. We live in a society that is fast-paced, so it is quite common for many people to eat on the go and lean towards purchasing foods that are convenient. Think frozen pizza, frozen dinners, macaroni and cheese, soup, crackers, chips and more.
The problem however, is that these prepared foods often lack nutrients that our bodies need and crave, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and numerous others, which mainly come through eating whole foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat, grains, etc.) Many processed foods also contain added sugar and fat, which make them appealing to our taste buds, but often leave us craving more. Many are also loaded with additives and preservatives that may give them a long shelf life, but who knows what they are actually doing to our bodies? It is these additives that often wreak havoc, as our bodies don’t necessariily know how to process them.
As a consumer, it is hard to get away from processed foods, as they seem to be everywhere and there are thousands upon thousands of choices. We can however, make smarter choices when selecting them. The best way to do this is to start reading food labels when buying processed foods. While some consumers already read food labels, others do not. When is the last time you took a hard look at a food label? If you can’t remember, or don’t know, maybe it is time to change that.
Here are a some questions you should keep in mind:
- How many ingredients does the product contain?
- How many of the ingredients can you pronounce?
- Do you know what the ingredients are?
If the list is long and involved, you should probably try to avoid the product. Consumers should shoot for 5 ingredients or less when purchasing food products. If you can’t say it, it is probably best to avoid it. It is hard to identify what you are actually eating if you are not familiar with the ingredient. By asking questions up front before buying a product, you are taking control of your life and on your way to healthy living.
Thanks for reading!