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Processed Foods Can Be a Healthy Alternative

By Stephen R. Farris

Open up your pantry or freezer. What do you see? Is your pantry filled with cans and packages of processed food? Maybe your freezer holds packages of frozen fruits and vegetables. Or those quick to heat frozen burritos. Processed foods are not the best choice when it comes to eating healthy. Mind you, not all processed foods are bad for you.

When it comes to processed foods, you have to watch for those that are highly processed, which means they may contain high amounts of sodium, tons of sugar, or they're loaded with carbs and unhealthy fats.

A bit of good news. Most processed canned fruits and vegetables can be incorporated into your healthy eating diet. The catch? You have to read the labels. That's the only way you can tell if they contain more sodium, sugars, and carbs that can turn healthy eating into unhealthy eating.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can change by simply shopping smarter to stock your pantry and freezer with more healthy choices.

Buy Healthy Snacks

Snacks are a staple in any household. Sometimes we all get a little hungry between meals, so it's a good idea to keep a few healthy snacks around to squash that hunger feeling. A few healthy snack ideas could be in the form of raw nuts and seeds, or raw vegetables cut up in snackable sizes. Make sure you have some fresh fruit available; bananas, apples, oranges, berries, etc. 

Examine Your Grains

If you eat a lot of rice, bread, and pasta, you should examine your grains. Most of those are considered refined grains, such as white rice, white bread, and white pasta. You should consider switching those for whole grain varieties, for instance brown rice, and whole grain bread and pasta. 

Creative Cooking

When using processed foods, try a little creative cooking to make your dishes more flavorful and healthy. You can add herbs and spices to processed foods, or you can combine -- for instance -- a few potatoes, zucchini squash, yellow squash, and/or carrots, adding a little olive oil and sea salt, to make veggie checks in the oven. You can also take some of those snack foods like nuts and seeds to make homemade granola bars.

The key to eating healthier is by doing your homework. Read the labels to see the nutritional value in processed foods, and avoid those high in sodium, sugars, and carbs.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sacramento, Calif.

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