How Much Processed Food Do You Eat?

Did you know that the average American diet is about 70% processed food? I had no idea it was that high. And you realize that food manufacturers do not have your health as a priority, but rather the short-term profit margins. Do you know why these foods are so addicting and tasty? It’s all about the salt, fat, and sugar combo. There are teams of food engineers who design flavors that light up your brain and make you want more. It’s no wonder carrots and broccoli are such poor competitors for your child’s or your attention. Let’s see, cheddar fish or snap peas, which do you reach for given the choice?

[tweetthis]If you don’t believe you eat many processed foods, just look in your pantry.[/tweetthis]

If you don’t believe you eat many processed foods, just look at your pantry/fridge and see anything that’s in a package or can. That includes yogurt, milk and cheese too. That’s all processed food. I’m not being crazy telling you to can your own tomatoes or milk your won cow, unless you love to do that, but I would suggest you look at the percentage of processed food vs. whole food that you and your family consume.

Processed food is a modern convenience that I don’t plan to give up anytime soon. So, what can you do about it? Let’s looks at highly processed foods vs. less processed. The easiest way to tell is to read the ingredients label. How long is the list? The shorter the list, the less processed the food it is. For dairy, if it’s low fat, it’s more highly processed. And, can you pronounce or are you familiar with the list of ingredients?

Do Your Best

Remember just do your best. I always suggest the 80/20 rule. So that means 80% of the time do really well and 20% of the time, you may only have choices that are not the best for you. If you can cook dinners, prepare and pack your lunches 80% of the time, then you are awesome. Cooking dinners and packing your lunch from the leftovers, means you’re in charge of what goes into your food and ultimately your body. If you have children, they depend on you to feed them well. The better they eat in childhood, the healthier adults they will be. Fresh, organic, whole foods may be a little more expensive, but you’d be surprised at what you can find at farmer’s markets or what you can even grow in your own yard or pots on the porch. The ultimate goal is to prepare home cooked meals that the family enjoys together. This will be healthier for the whole family.

 

Easy Menu Planning Tips

Here are some easy tips about how to make cooking simple on those hectic nights. Take a little time over the weekend to look at your week and plan out a few meals. Especially for the nights when you know you’ll be crunched for time. Print out the list and put in on the fridge. Then when you get home, you’ll know exactly what’s for dinner and that you’ve got the ingredients for that meal. Here’s what I planned for the last 2 nights. Last night was sole that was pan fried in butter and served with lemons, capers, and kalamata olives. I quartered a bag of Brussels sprouts and roasted them with olive oil and made some quinoa. The whole meal took about 45 minutes to prep, cook, and serve. Tonight is a frozen fish that comes in a packet that is already marinated. I’ll roast some broccoli that I’ll drizzle with olive oil and then stir-fry some leftover rice. And serve with a fresh salad. Seriously simple. I’m not a fan of leftover fish for lunch so while I was making dinner, I baked 2 chicken breasts. Those will be the base of my lunches for the next few days and I’ll just eat them with leftover salad and roasted veggies. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not, it just takes a little planning. On the nights I work late, my husband makes things like black beans with quesadillas or frozen mahi-mahi patties with some steamed broccoli. My best advice is keep some basic supplies in the pantry and freezer, then you’ll always have lots of options. If you need some more ideas, I’ll be happy to send you a 14-day meal plan. Just email me

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