Most foods are somewhere between being out and out unhealthy – such a fast food – and healthy foods – such as fresh fruits and vegetables. In our convenience-conscious society we tend to rationalize feeding our families foods that are not good for you that fall into this gray area. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we know on some level that the gray area may be doing just as much, if not more, damage to our eating habits and our health than we care to admit.
5 More Foods that are Not Good For You
Just because a food isn’t blatantly bad for us doesn’t mean it’s good for us either. Below we continue the list we started last week, of five foods that are not good for you, but you may think are healthy – in no particular order. Also listed are healthy alternatives to each of these foods.
6. Processed Cheeses
American cheese, Velveeta and most cheese slices are processed. As a result many manufacturers add calcium and Vitamin D to the products and market them as having these ingredients as if they’re a bonus and not a naturally occurring part of natural cheese. Don’t be fooled by this practice.
Many processed cheeses are also made using milk that was produced with antibiotics and hormones – none of which are good for the cows producing said milk, nor the humans who are consuming it.
There are plenty of genuine cheeses out there, made with real milk and without hormones, antibiotics and additives. So buy them, use a knife or cheese slicer and eat the stuff that’s actually made of milk. Or choose healthy non-dairy cheese made from rice or almond milk (the knife suggestion applies here as well).
Yes, juice. Not all, but many, juices are made from concentrate with unhealthy additives. And pasteurization, which is a requirement for juices sold in stores, depletes most juices of any significant nutritional value anyway.
Either buy juice that is 100% juice (read the ingredients, not just the marketing language on the label), organic and minimally processed, or make your own.
8. Packaged Meats
Hot dogs, lunch meat, bacon, sausage and even corned beef are among the types of packaged meats that often contain high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, MSG, “natural coloring” and other ingredients that make them unhealthy. Of course, some of these foods – depending on how they’re cut or made – may also contain more fat than we should consume as well.
There are an increasing number of products on the market that are uncured, and that contain none of these nasty ingredients. Be a good Ingredient Reader and you can continue to enjoy packaged meats in a healthier and more flavorful way. If your grocery store doesn’t carry these products, ask the Meat Manager to start stocking them or buy them at Whole Foods or similar stores.
9. Processed Frozen Foods
Waffles, TV dinners, Hot Pockets, Bagel Bites – read the labels on any of these and other processed frozen foods and you’ll find yourself trying to pronounce and decipher words like L-Cysteine hydrochloride. Even some frozen vegetables contain chemicals to preserve their color and texture. Not to mention the fact that most processed frozen foods contain little meaningful nutritional value, but will certainly introduce sugar, sodium and other “baddies” to your body.
Make healthy meals from scratch, using fresh and organic ingredients, and freeze portions so they can be reheated later. You can do this with everything from homemade waffles and baked goods, to complete meals.
10. Breads & Pastas
Sorry, carb addicts, but most breads and pastas on the market are bad for you in one way or another. For starters, they’re made with wheat, which is not good for anyone (no matter what the “whole grain” marketers may say). Our bodies simply are not made to process the type and quantity of wheat that is in our modern food system. Most breads and pastas are processed, and contain a myriad of other ingredients you know are on the “bad” list: high fructose corn syrup, sugar, cellulose and preservatives.
Believe it or not, there are some wonderful gluten-free options for bread and pasta. I highly recommend Rudi’s gluten-free breads, and most any pasta made with quinoa. Or make your own using flours made from rice, quinoa or garbanzo beans.
Catherine Mason is a writer, former educator, and someone who has multiple food allergies. As Tribe Leader & Chief Wellness Coach at www.mydietribe.com, she helps people identify, assimilate and maintain sustainable health and wellness practices in their everyday lives, with a focus on physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and financial wellness. Catherine may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@mydietribe).
What other foods that are not good for you would you add to this list?
What healthy alternatives have you found to replace them?