So now that we established that we want to eat more real foods during the challenge, we can talk about what we want to eat less of… processed foods.
Processed foods are man made or manipulated. They are like the opposite of real food. They usually come in packages, need nutrition labels, and have ingredient lists. They don’t usually resemble anything you’d find in nature. Some processed foods include…
Baked goods & processed grains like bagels, tortillas, breads, pastas, chips, cookies, cakes, etc.
Convenience/ready to eat foods like cereals, frozen meals, & energy bars
Processed meats like deli meat, cheeses, bacon, sausage, salami, etc.
Processed fats & oils like canola oil and vegetable oil. This also includes stuff made with these oils like packaged salad dressings, other condiments, and fried foods.
Processed foods are EVERYWHERE these days. They can be full of chemicals, and other man made stuff that we’re not even sure our bodies can handle. Not only that, but because of all this fake stuff… they taste… so… good. I mean how could they not? Processed foods are manufactured to taste better than real foods with extra sugar and added fats so that you’ll buy more of them… and let me tell you, it usually works. To top it all off, your taste buds get used to all those added stuffs which makes real food taste bland and flavorless.
All hope is lost. … JK! The good news is your taste buds are constantly changing and cutting back on the processed foods can change your taste buds in a big way so that we can start to appreciate the subtle and not overdone flavors of real foods again! HOORAY.
So, How Do We Avoid Processed Foods?
Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store.
Food prep. Processed foods are often times what we reach for in a pinch because they’re easy and then we get addicted or used to them. A perfect way to combat that is to be prepared with real, whole food snacks prepped in your fridge. Think about cooking extra meats, poultry, and hardboiled eggs for a quick snack. Portion out nuts and seeds with some fresh berries into little snack ziplock bags to eat as is or grab and go with a plain greek yogurt!
Don’t get too hungry. Humans are weak. That’s a fact. If you’re STARVING you’re way more likely to crave something sweet and then before you know it you’ve downed that entire box of cookies that was calling to you from the pantry. Eat real foods at pretty regular intervals throughout the day and you won’t feel as strong an urge to splurge on all things processed!