Foods like muffins and crackers are usually passed off as packaged healthy snacks.
But, in reality, the purpose of consuming those between meals gets defeated because of the presence of artificial preservatives, sugar, refined grains, says Ameve Sharma.
Eating healthful food is a challenge.
In the fast-paced urban life where speed and convenience are the key, processed foods frequently make way to your platters, knowingly or unknowingly.
And the challenge is becoming tougher with the growing incursions of processed food in our day-to-day diet.
Frozen fruits and vegetables, canned seafood, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals -- the staple diet for the majority of the homes in India -- are all processed foods with decreased nutrient values.
Although those foods save time and cost for us, they jeopardise our healthy existence due to the fact that they come with added sugar, artificial preservatives, sodium, etc.
Before it’s too late, let's reclaim health by opting for natural alternatives to some popular processed foods.
Here are some options you can consider:
1. Shut out packed fruit juices, opt for whole fruits or vegetables
The packed fruit juices available at various stores are processed and have little or no nutritional value.
You can see antioxidants and vitamin C mentioned on the pack as key ingredients. But the overwhelming presence of liquid sugar doesn’t make it a healthy option. Instead, one can eat a whole fruit.
If you must have juices, then make sure you use the entire fruit or vegetable in extracting juice (along with the fibre), and not just certain parts of it.
2. Break free from breakfast cereals, go for DIY cereals
Breakfast cereals that most of us count on to make a wholesome start of a day contains artificial ingredients like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHT), sugar, sodium, etc.
Although those ready-made cereals taste great, they are low on nutrient values.
The best way to avoid those is to prepare your own cereals with millet, steel cut oats, etc.
3. Shun packaged snacks, go for fruits or vegetables
Muffins, crackers, etc. are usually passed off as packaged healthy snacks. But, in reality, the purpose of consuming those between meals gets defeated because of the presence of artificial preservatives, sugar, refined grains, etc.
However, one can stay away from them by keeping fruits, vegetables or nuts handy.
4. Shun packaged salad dressing, opt for honey, dry herbs or vinegar
Packaged salad dressings make salads tasty, but at the cost of your health.
Processed ingredients like modified food starch, sodium chloride, corn syrup solids, etc. make salad dressing a high calorie and sugary food.
Instead, you can steer clear of salad dressings and go for natural options like honey, dry herbs, vinegar, olive oil and lemon juices.
Although processed food has become an integral part of urban life, you can always remain cautious to what you put in your body.
It’s a challenge, but, if you accept it, you will definitely be able to discover the healthier side of your, naturally.
Ameve Sharma is founder, Kapiva Ayurveda, Mumbai.