This list will tell you some of the highly processed foods you shouldn’t eat too often, because, well, it pays to take care of your health. Of course, I would never tell anyone to avoid their favorites. You can indulge now and then without worry. However, eating them all the time can really do a number on your health. So for the good of all my readers, I will tell you some of the highly processed foods you shouldn’t eat too often. Save them for special occasions and your body will thank you.
1. Chicken Nuggets
I know – they taste so good, don’t they? But chicken nuggets are one of the most highly processed foods around, which is why they top my list of highly processed foods you shouldn’t eat too often. That includes the ones you get in restaurants as well as the nuggets you can buy at the grocery store. Instead, bread and bake a fresh chicken breast. It tastes just as delicious and is much better for your health.
2. Frozen Pizza
We’ve all served up a frozen pizza when time is tight and dinner must be on the table, right? There’s nothing wrong with the occasional splurge, but frozen pizzas are very heavily processed. That means they often have a load of chemicals that aren’t good for your health, not to mention all the fat and calories they contain.
3. Hot Dogs
You’ve probably heard all the horror stories about what goes into a hot dog, right? While those stories may or may not be true, the truth is that hot dogs, as well as other processed meats, are unhealthy choices. That includes cold cuts and pepperoni too. Instead of a hot dog, why not have a fresh burger patty or a grilled chicken breast? You’ll get a whole lot more nutrition and a lot fewer chemicals that are harmful to your health.
4. Packaged Desserts
This includes anything from muffins to cookies to donuts to snack cakes that are prepared and sold in packages at the grocery store. They might taste great, but your health will suffer if you eat them all the time. Most of these products are processed with trans fats, which increase your risk of heart disease as well as being responsible for weight gain. Being overweight carries its own set of health risks, so it’s best to indulge in homemade treats because you have more control over the ingredients that go into them.
Some types of chips are semi-OK as a small indulgence now and then. For example, Lay’s plain potato chips contain just a couple of ingredients. However, others (I’m looking at you Nacho Cheese Doritos) are packed with artificial ingredients, flavors and dyes that are not at all good for you. If you must have chips, opt for the ones that are simply fried potatoes with salt. I can commiserate though – Doritos are delicious and very hard to pass up.
I’m not talking about all types of cereal. Some are actually a good addition to a healthy and well balanced meal plan. However, some are full of processed ingredients and colors that you know can’t be good. Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles are some to stay away from. Opt instead for high fiber cereals that are low in sugar.
7. Microwave Popcorn
Yep, it’s pretty processed. Microwave popcorn contains an ingredient that has been linked to lung problems. No matter how good it tastes, skip the processed version and pop your own kernels. Drizzle them with real butter and a dash of salt and you have a tasty snack you can feel good about.
How do you balance your intake of processed foods with the healthy stuff? Which of these foods do you have a hard time staying away from?