3 Processed Or Packaged Foods That Are Actually Good For You!
I am Dr. Monique May MD, Board-certified Family Physician and Founder of Physician in the Kitchen™. Through my meal delivery service, cookbooks, and cooking utensils I help busy households enjoy healthy eating without impacting their hectic schedules. Today I want to talk about processed and packaged foods. Processed and packaged foods are generally not recommended because during processing all of the healthy nutrients are removed from the food. For example, brown rice has more nutrients and fiber than processed white rice does. But there are exceptions to every rule.
Let’s look at three processed foods or packaged foods that you actually should have on hand in your freezer or pantry because they're actually good for you.
First is canned tomatoes, which are full of lycopene, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from daily insults, such as exposure to sunlight, pollution, and radiation. Lycopene is good for your heart, can decrease stroke risk, and can decrease the risk for prostate cancer and others. Canned tomatoes actually have higher levels of lycopene than unprocessed ones. Be sure to read the label for salt or sodium content.
Next are nut butters, such as peanut, cashew, and almond. They are full of fiber, nutrients, and vitamins as well. Avoid those with the added salt and sugar which tend to be in processed foods. While they are higher in calories (two tablespoons of any of the nut butters contain 160 to 200 calories) they contain unsaturated fat, which is the “good kind” of fat that lowers your LDL, the cholesterol that increases heart attack risk.
Last are frozen fruits. Fruits are full of fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. By freezing them, you prevent spoilage and can enjoy your favorite fruits all year round. Just make sure they are naturally sweet without added sugar. They can be added to smoothies along with ground flax or chia seeds, or used in dessert.
These are just a few of my favorite processed and packaged foods, but there certainly are many others. When choosing, read the nutritional labels, which should not have any words you cannot pronounce, or sound like something from chemistry class. As I have mentioned, avoid salt, sugar and other additives such as saturated fats and high fructose corn syrup. Try to get foods in as close to their natural state as possible. Explore vegan and gluten-free options as well.
Spend a few minutes in your grocery store’s healthy food aisle. You just may find something that is good to eat and good for you!
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