When I first started reading nutrition labels, the only things I looked at were calories, carbs and protein.
That’s all I looked at, because that’s all I thought mattered.
But it’s not true at all. Ingredients matter. Nutrition matters.
Do you recognize any of the following?
Hmm… I know what flour, sugar, canola oil, salt, and cinnamon are. But how do you add Vitamin C? What about Vitamin D? It’s obvious that to make this packaged food more nutritious, food companies have to add nutrients because they aren’t inherently included in the ingredients that make these crackers.
Processed food purchases are on the incline, likely because as we get busier, many of us put less time towards thinking about what we’re putting in our mouths. It’s understandable, since it requires brainpower that you might not have when you are grocery shopping after an 8-hour workday.
However, you need to think about processed foods, especially if you want to lose weight because they are diet ruiners. Yes, processed foods ruin your diet
Why? Because processed foods aren’t as filling. If you are constantly buying processed foods instead of eating veggies and other plant based starches, then dieting might be harder for you.
Most people don’t get in their five cups of fruits and veggies per day. Yes, most people.
Is that serving of cereal enough for breakfast? Is it going to make you last until lunch? No, because it’s sugary crap.
But what about this?
Does this lunch look like it’s going to hold you over until dinner? No, there’s not near enough protein or veggies to actually fill you up. I hate those sandwich thins. I always bought them because I thought I got more volume for my calories, but they never filled me up! Yes, they’re 100 calories, but they don’t stick with you. If you take a look at the ingredients, you probably won’t know what most of them are.
There are also a lot of granola and snack bars masquerading as healthy, but the truth is that they aren’t near as filling as some meat and veggies or strawberries and almond butter.
So what’s processed and un-filling? Here’s an incomplete list to get you thinking.
- Sandwich Thins
- Granola bars / energy bars
- Any 100 calorie pack
- Canned meats
- Cured deli meat
I won’t lie, it’s a lot of work to cook everything you eat. You don’t have to cut out ALL processed foods to lose weight. However if you find yourself meeting your calorie requirements for the day and you’re still hungry, it would be wise to do a few swaps.
So start with an actionable plan. Start substituting one processed food for one thing that’s not processed. Instead of having a sandwich for lunch, have a salad with a baked sweet potato and some sort of protein. Or instead of eating instant oatmeal, bake an acorn squash the night before and eat half of it for breakfast with two eggs.
Yummy breakfast from A Dash of Meg
If you are used to eating cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and pasta for dinner this one swap will do wonders for your fullness.
So try it and let me know what you think.
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