13 Prepackaged Foods to Avoid
Posted on October 25 2016
In the crazy, hectic all-out run that life has become today, shortcuts to everything are preferable—even when it comes to food. Somewhere at the back of our minds, we know that prepackaged, processed foods are not the healthiest eating options out there, but we tend to grab such foods just for the sheer convenience of it. But take a moment to think about how much you are making your body suffer in the process.
Although delicious and easy-to-eat, prepackaged foods do more harm to your health than you realize. Foods that are pre-packed usually contain high amounts of sodium, MSG, and artificial colors and are low on fiber and nutrients. In fact, the cans or packages that these foods come in also have harmful ingredients that you should stay away from.
Although most prepackaged foods seem healthy and balanced with low fat advertising and whole grain pursuits; most are anything but. Here’s a list of prepackaged foods you most certainly should avoid.
You are running late for work and head into the kitchen for a bite ( who knows when you will get to eat next?). The easiest thing to do is grab a box of cereals, pour some milk, and gulp it down—this is a typical scenario in most homes. However, what you need to know is that most cereals contain high amounts of sugar, additives, and genetically modified corn.
These are harmful for people of every age (particularly to children) and create health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and a lot more. So stop buying cereals and instead opt for whey protein and organic eggs for a nutritious, yummy, and easy-to-make breakfast.
Low-fat Salad Dressings
Eating hearty salads is a simply way to keep trim. Light salad dressings look tempting indeed and are available in a variety of flavors to makes your salad yummy to eat. Salads and low-fat dressing: you are making the healthiest choice, right? Unfortunately, the answer is ‘No.’ The truth is that such light dressings are full of ingredients that do more harm than good for your health.
Take a look at the list of ingredients mentioned on the bottle—there are high quantities of sodium, preservatives, and even sugar! Rather, fat-based dressings are deemed to be a better option. Better yet, drizzle your salad veggies with balsamic vinegar or extra-virgin olive oil.
Although a convenient meal option, canned soups are prepackaged foods that contain MSG, additives, salt, and several genetically-modified ingredients in high doses. Even if you go for the low-fat or reduced-sodium versions, consuming canned soups may make you feel bloated and tired, and lead to other health issues because of their high sodium content.
Keep away from these foods because several of the cans are lined with Bisphenol-A (BPA). This is a plastic chemical that can upset your body’s endocrine system. Home-made soups are your best bet. Begin prepping for your soups on the weekend. Freeze and use throughout the week if you do not get time to cook regularly. Check out these 7 easy prep meal ideas.
Yummy to eat, easy to store, and easily available—dried fruits are often considered to be a healthy snack option. However, dried fruits are featured on this list of prepackaged foods to avoid because many packaging companies add sugar and sulphur to the fruits to make them more suitable for prolonged stocking on store shelves.
These are also available in the candied form, which only means that you are consuming more sugar. The best way to eat fruits is fresh since those have lesser calories, more nutrients, and keep you satiated for longer. You also have the option of freezing your fruits and enjoying them at later times on the go.
Similar to dried fruits, dried veggies that are available at many grocery stores today are an appealing option as they are easier to work with and provide a nice crunch to dishes. But again, vegetables lose most of their nutritional value during the drying process.
In addition, they contain a lot of calories and salt. So resist the temptation to add these to your shopping cart and instead try nutritious sunflower seeds as toppings for your salads and other dishes. Other alternatives to dried vegetables is to consider making your own veggie chips.
Vegetable and Fruit Juices
Juices are always considered to be healthy beverage, but unless you are juicing the fruits or vegetables yourself at home, they may not be an excellent choice. Pre-packaged and processed juices fare low on the nutritional quotient and high on fructose.
Do not fall for labels at the store that say "100 percent juice." When it comes to juice remember that juice is from concentrate is not always healthy and wise. stick to the raw, organic, and unprocessed versions to derive all the health benefits out of it.
Chances are that you already know about this one, but have been guilty of ignoring it till now. Advertisements for energy drinks may promise you a host of things and trick you into believing that they are beverages that do a lot of good for your body, but the fact is that they are not.
Many energy drink companies have different strategies to sidestep the caffeine content guidelines of the FDA. To keep yourself well-hydrated and healthy, clean old drinking water is the best option. To gain energy consume more raw fruits and keep apples within reach.
Canned beans may make your work somewhat easier, but you need to stop using these if you are concerned about your health. Similar to canned soup, beans come in cans that may be lined with BPA and thus taint your food. Canned beans, whether baked or in different flavors, also contain high amounts of sugar, additives, and sodium—something that you need to avoid. Beans are a food that is high in fiber and protein, so incorporate these into your diet but only when you prepare it at home. Check out how to cook bean at home here.
We do not want to generalize all protein bars by calling everything unhealthy, but most of the time such bars are highly processed edible items that contain many artificial ingredients, a lot of calories, and other ingredients that do not do a lot of good for your body.
Although marketed otherwise, these bars are not really health foods, so take some time to read the list of ingredients and the nutrition info on the pack before deciding to buy one. If you absolutely must have a protein bar, look for organic ones or make them yourself.
Popcorn cannot possibly be bad for health! Rather than a healthy snack, prepackaged microwave popcorn has been found to contain a chemical called diacetyl in addition to trans-fats and high levels of sodium. What makes consuming this food a health hazard is the packing—the bags that the popcorn is sold in usually contain perfluoroalkyls, chemicals that stop the oil or grease from leaking through the packet. The best way to enjoy popcorn is to pop organic ones on the stove at home and use nutritious flavoring like Himalayan pink salt.
For many women today, frozen meals are the go-to dinner after a long day as you need to do nothing. However, being lazy may come at the cost of your health as most of these pre-portioned and packed meals are known to contain a lot of preservatives and more sodium than the recommended daily intake.
Rather than wasting money on such dinners, plan ahead and try cooking in bulk on a holiday or the weekend and have home-made, nutritious frozen food available every day during your regular work week.
Yogurt is delicious, and you may think that you are avoiding the calories by simply choosing the fat-free ones. It is actually a trap—just because it says “fat-free” does not make certain foods healthy. In fact, there are several flavored yogurts that were found to have a lot of sugar content in a small serving. We recommend going for Greek yogurt flavored with some honey.
Fruits are healthy, so why does a fruit cocktail feature on the list of foods to avoid? It is because fruit cocktails available in cans at the supermarket may seem delicious, but are actually prepared with a sugary syrup that only adds calories without having much nutritional value. So next time ditch the canned cocktail, and go for a piece or two of fresh fruit instead.
Food is your body’s fuel. It is important to give you body the best fuel possible. Avoiding pre-packed foods is sure to give you a boost of energy and help you curb hunger pangs. Preservatives and artificial sugars cause your body to experience drops in energy very suddenly. Healthy homemade foods help you avoid this and give you steady energy throughout your day. Consider cooking ahead and choosing other healthy foods to help you protect your health.
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