By Live Well 360 Guest Blogger Laura Peifer If you walk down the grocery store aisles, you see product after product slapped with labels that sound good—“all natural,” “low-fat,” “heart-healthy” and even “organic.” While it’s encouraging that there have been recent efforts to limit trans fat and high fructose corn syrup and increase the whole grains in our foods, the reality is that any processed food is still just that… processed.
Our body can only handle so much processed food before it negatively affects our digestion, allergy sensitivities and the healthy bacteria in our gut. This can lead to candida, yeast infections, carbohydrate and insulin sensitivities, weight gain and a host of other symptoms associated with poor health.
Simple carbohydrates and sugars will also cause spikes and drops in our blood sugar level and make it more difficult to control our appetite and cravings. When incorporating whole grains into your diet, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta and whole-grain crackers do not count. True whole grains are those that you can recognize in a form that came directly from the plant: rice, oats, barley, wheatberries, bulgur, millet and amaranth, among others.
We’re all time-crunched and the whole-grain bread products are still a better choice than the empty nutrition in white flour products, but only when they make up a small percentage of your daily calories. Likewise, prepackaged frozen meals are often packed with preservatives, sugar and sodium. Rather than cut these out of your diet completely, focus on the ways you can incorporate more whole food into your diet each day.
Here are some simple who food snack suggestions
- Apple with cheese
- Sugar snap peas and peppers with hummus
- Hard boiled eggs
- Almonds or walnuts with berries
- Banana and nut butter
- Nitrate free turkey with carrots
If you find you are often relying on frozen lunches or dinners, try replacing a few each week with fast dinner options instead.
Here are some simple who food dinner suggestions
- Baked fish with lemon squeezed over it, microwaved sweet potato and fresh salad.
- Rather than a rotisserie chicken, place a whole chicken in the crockpot on low all day, seasoned with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley or thyme.
- Use organic, grass fed beef to make your own patties for the grill, and grill corn, zucchini, onions, pepper and pineapple as well.
- Make large batches of brown rice or quinoa salad at the beginning of the week; add in shredded carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Use shredded chicken or chickpeas for protein.
- Make double portions at dinner time and pack leftovers into lunch containers for the following day.
I encourage you to take note of your food for a day or a week, and note how much processed food you consume (including pasta, bread, cereals, packaged products and frozen meals). Make it a goal to work toward limiting processed food to 10% of your diet.