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Should You Be Cutting Out Processed Foods?

 

Thinking about cutting out processed foods to improve your health? Want to get rid of added sugar in your diet? This post provides the facts about what is a processed food, as well as ingredients to avoid in food and tips for creating healthier recipes. 

 

If we were playing the game "Two Truths and a Lie," you may think I'm lying when I say I eat cake, pizza, and ice cream. Truth is, I do eat these foods! I mean, check out this cake at my recent engagement party.The difference is I don't eat them every day, and I balance out these indulgences with plenty of nutritious foods. And that means eating a good amount of processed foods.

Yup, you heard me right. Maybe I'm about to blow your mind, but I'm a dietitian telling you I not only eat cake, I also eat processed foods. But hold on a minute. Processed foods aren't the horrible-for-you foods you necessarily think they are. Sure, the category includes baked goods with trans fats (please skip!), but it also includes frozen veggies and canned beans.

Plus, many processed foods are fortified with vitamins and minerals that are nutrients of concern for Americans, such as iron and vitamin D. Minimally processed foods can make healthy eating easier, budget friendly, and help 
reduce food waste. Finally, while you don't want ultra-processed foods (not sure what an ultra-processed food is? scroll down!) to be the bulk of your diet, including a few of them can help maintain your sanity while embarking on a healthy eating plan. Just be sure you're making them a normal part of eating instead of planning a cheat day on a diet...and then another and another. So if you're thinking about cutting out processed foods, I hope this blog post changes your mind!

 

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The Difference Between Sugar and Added Sugar on a Nutrition Label


Have you heard someone say fruit has too much sugar? It's easy to get confused by which sugars you should limit. Thankfully, a new labeling requirement will help you decipher the difference between natural sugar and added sugar (and will help you feel better about whipping up this all-fruit 
chocolate banana nice cream or a berry almond cocoa smoothie!) Get the details about the nutrition label change in my interview with Eat This, Not That.

 

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Healthier Alternatives to Ultra-Processed Foods


Cutting out processed foods to improve your health? Hold on just a second. I actually recommend certain processed foods as part of a nutritious daily diet. And certain ones can help you 
save money on groceries! Know the difference between minimally processed and ultra-processed foods, what to look for when you buy them, and healthier versions of your favorite treats. I'm giving you the full rundown in my interview with Chowhound.

 

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Amy's Recipe of the Week: Cheesy Mushroom & Onion Pizza

 

Not only are some processed foods nutritious, they can also make eating healthy easier. For example, whip up a protein-rich cherry French toast for breakfast, then top a packaged pizza crust with veggies for dinner. You can have a healthy meal in no time flat and avoid the drive thru. Get more ideas for making healthy food prep easy.

 

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What do you think about cutting out processed foods? What ingredients do you avoid in food? Tag @amydgorin on Instagram and Pinterest and @amygorin on Twitter and Facebook.

  

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Amy Gorin is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, media personality, and writer in the NYC area.