I have observed that people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off are those who decrease their consumption of processed and packaged foods. Not all of them are bad – and in a pinch they may be important…but as a regular habit, uh…let’s talk about it.
Many of us are so used to eating these, I think it is good to remind ourselves why we need to avoid them. When a factory (President’s Choice, Weston’s, Kraft, Campbell’s, etc.) makes us food which is ready to eat out of the box, bag or package, very often they have been packed with preservatives, sugar, salt, fat, colouring, chemicals, nitrates etc. which leads to us fuelling our bodies with low quality fuel. This has an affect on our mood, feeling of fullness, calories burned, cell health and overall health and well being.
We can all give our bodies the best chance at losing weight and then maintaining a healthy body weight by preparing our food ourselves whenever possible. I try to buy food and eat food that is in the same form as it was in nature. Nuts, seeds, fresh cuts of meat (as opposed to cold cuts, sausages and hotdogs), chick peas, lentils, etc. This means primarily shopping along the outside walls of the grocery store instead of the isles.
A 0% fat cheese slice wrapped in plastic, for instance, may have low calories but it is a very low quality food, will process quickly through your body making you hungry again quickly and will not have contributed quality proteins, vitamins and nutrients to your body. Another cheese (light feta, Allegro 4%, goat cheese, Western 5 % dry cottage cheese) would have been a healthier choice. Your body will be confident that you are fuelling it with high quality foods and will shed the extra pounds.
The same can be said for most crackers, cookies, and cereal or granola bars. They are healthy eating no-no’s. Start with one thing you will make instead of buy (ie/ homemade healthy granola or homemade healthy hummus). Google the recipe or learn how on YouTube. Preparing your own food is an act of self-love, which in my experience, seems to precede maintaining a healthy body weight for life.
Here is my ‘healthy’ list of packaged foods:
1. Canned Beans (rinse before using)
2. Steel Cut Oats (a filling breakfast food)
3. Frozen Vegetables (to add to everything)
4. Frozen Berries (to use in my Yonanas maker)
5. 30g Protein Bars (I cut each bar in thirds. It’s my emergency food to avoid feeling hungry. I carry the pieces in my purse and store some in my car.)
6. Soups (a staple – usually buy low sodium, only clear or red soups – not white)
7. Fibre 1 Original Cereal (high fibre, tastes good, low sugar – I use as trail mix)
8. Brown Rice
9. Tinned tuna, crab, salmon, and shrimp
10. Greek Yogurt – Plain (I use with defrosted berries or as a sour cream replacement)
So, when you see an article on processed and packaged foods – read it like your life depends on it – as there are so many reasons to avoid them whenever possible. Knowledge is everything.
Have a great unprocessed day!