Processed foods refers to products that are heavily modified and contain a long list of ingredients, including many snack foods, sweets, frozen prepared foods, sugary drinks, and packaged meats.
There are still canned or packaged products that you can consume without fear of the possible bad consequences it may bring you:
1. Whole-Grain Pasta
This is a terrific weeknight dinner staple, since it takes less than 20 minutes to prep from start to finish. While your noodles are cooking, sauté some sliced chicken and veggies in olive oil, and toss everything together just before serving. If you find whole wheat too grainy, try brown rice or quinoa varieties.
2. Canned and Frozen Fish
Canned Alaskan salmon is about one-fourth the cost of fresh wild salmon and is shelf-stable, so you don’t have to worry about buying it the same day you plan to cook it. Frozen, individually-wrapped filets are another hassle-free option if you’re looking to eat more fish.
3. Canned Beans
Fully-cooked canned beans are a convenient, ready-to-eat protein, and they’re often the gateway ingredient to making more meatless meals. Combine them with brown rice or quinoa and veggies for a hearty entrée, or add to a salad in place of chicken.
4/ Nut Butters and Packaged Nuts
If you keep a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of whole-grain bread stocked in the house, you always have a simple meal at your disposal. While seasoned nut blends may have more sugar or salt than plain varieties, they’re still a huge improvement over empty carbs like chips and cookies
5. Frozen Vegetables and Fruits
If it hasn’t been drilled into your head yet, frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh, and there’s less waste since you can use only what you need and hold onto the rest for another meal. I use up my fresh vegetables early in the week and keep a stash of frozen blends on hand for later in the week, when the produce drawer is bare.
6. Individually-Portioned Cheese
String cheese, snack-size squares, and mini rounds are perfectly portioned for those who have a hard time sticking to just a few slices.
7. Whole-Grain Breads and Crackers
Bread is a grocery list staple for a reason: Toast is the perfect breakfast solution when you’re short on time — just top with nut butter, avocado, sliced egg, or ricotta for a simple meal you can eat on your way out the door. Hearty, fiber-rich crackers make a satisfying snack when paired with cheese or hummus.
If you prefer the convenience or flavor of premixed fruit yogurts to plain yogurt, just be sure to check the sugar content before you buy. Look for varieties that list fruit ahead of sweeteners on the ingredients list and ideally contain less than 18 grams of sugar per serving (that’s about 2 to 2.5 teaspoons of added sugar in addition to the naturally occurring lactose in yogurt, and fructose in fruit).
9. Bagged Popcorn
Popcorn is a whole grain, and most bagged brands contain just three ingredients: popcorn, oil, and salt. When you’re craving something snacky, it’s a great alternative to chips and pretzels.
10. Naturally Flavored (Unsweetened)
Seltzers and Waters These are great options if you’re trying to avoid sugary or diet drinks but get bored with plain water. Their fruity flavor keeps your taste buds engaged without relying on real or artificial sweeteners.
If you’re not inclined to make your own hummus, pick up a tub of this heart-healthy spread for dunking vegetables at snack time and layering on sandwiches at lunch.
12. Jarred Marinara Sauce and Salsa
There are plenty of great marinara brands with minimal ingredients on store shelves, so why not save some time where you can? The same goes for salsa. Keep a jar on hand and you can transform staples like chicken, beans, tortillas, and brown rice into easy, well-loved meals like tacos and burrito bowls.
Source: Everyday Health
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