Understanding Processed Foods

Never before has the American supermarket—or the average American—contained so many processed foods.  From tortilla chips to frozen entrees, these foods can be convenient and tasty. Some are easy to carry and eat on the run, others require little or no preparation, and all are available practically everywhere.

Processed foods are hybrids of ingredients that are both nutritious and less health promoting – the latter will provide elective calories. Processed food can be a good choice or a poor choice. To complicate matters, many labels make it difficult to figure out what is actually in the food.

Consider those popular nutrition bars, for instance. The long list of ingredients may contain added fiber and protein as well as sugars and fat. How can you tell if this bar meet your needs? The best products:

  • Taste delicious.
  • Are made with whole grains rather than refined grains.
  • Include amounts of added sugar and solid fat that can fit into your elective calorie budget.
  • Help you feel satisfied while enjoying a balance of healthful foods from every food group.

Navigating the supermarket can be difficult and may leave you feeling overwhelmed – even if you have the most healthful intentions. Sometimes, a little guidance may be all you need. Utilize some of our resources to help you refresh the nutritional basics.