Should You Avoid Packaged, Processed Foods?

It’s a sad but very true: a majority of Americans have been carrying on a torrid affair with processed and packaged foods. As a nifty little article in the New York Times points out, “American’s eat 31 percent more packaged food than fresh food, and they consume more packaged food per person than their counterparts in nearly all other countries. A sizable part of the American diet is ready-to-eat meals, like frozen pizza’s and microwave dinners, and sweet or salty snack foods.”

This shouldn’t come as much of a shock. Processed and packaged foods are affordable and convenient, fitting easily into our wallets and hectic lifestyles. And let’s be frank, they often taste great. The real problem with processed, packaged food is the that a majority of the choices are high in calories, low in nutrition and loaded with sugar, fat, and salt. Many of my clients complain that processed foods don’t satisfy their hunger. Dieters are volume eaters, and many processed foods offer little bang for the buck.

But here’s the thing. I can tell you to avoid processed foods whenever possible, but I’m also a realist. I know you’re busy. I know there are going to be many days when you’re going to look for the path of least resistance. Shopping for food and preparing meals takes time, and that may not always be an option for you. If you’re short on time, keeping your weight in check can be challenging.

The real question isn’t whether your food has been cooked, baked, fermented, canned, frozen, mashed or ground, but whether the food delivers great taste and lots of nutrition and leaves you feeling satisfied without doing you harm. Below is a short list of some of my favorite great tasting, light processed and packaged foods. Keep in mind that many processed and packaged foods come in large, unmeasured portions. It can be difficult to know what a serving size is. So, whenever possible, purchase these foods in single-serving packages or get the smallest portion available. Hey, that’s the exact reason why I came up with my own gourmet diet food line!

  1. Joseph’s Honey Wheat Flatbread
  2. PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
  3. Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Cold Cuts
  4. Garden Lites Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
  5. Trader Joe’s Pulled Chicken Breast
  6. Eat Well Embrace Life Black Bean Hummus
  7. Nayosa Pasta Zero shirataki spaghetti noodles
  8. Low Carb Pasta with Turkey Bolognaise Sauce (from The Skinny Jeans Diet food line- 185 calories for entire portion!)


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