10 Realistic Ways to Eat Less Processed Food

Any food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, pasteurized, or packed is considered a processed food. Many processed foods, such as frozen fruits, canned vegetables, and pasteurized dairy products, are acceptable as parts of a balanced diet. The excessive levels of salt, sugar, chemicals, and preservatives in some highly processed foods, however, can be harmful to your health.

One of the best strategies to improve your health and the quality of your diet is to cut back on these highly processed foods.In fact, one of the first things I advise when individuals seek me for nutritional guidance is to limit their intake of processed foods.You can use these 10 easy, practical, and realistic techniques to help you eat less processed food thanks to our collaboration with meal kit delivery business Green Chef UK.


1. Keep wholesome treats on hand

It could be tempting to grab a prepackaged lunch on your way out the door if you’re pressed for time.

Making healthy decisions on the fly may be made much easier by having your kitchen well-stocked with a variety of transportable, nutrient-dense snacks.

Fresh fruit, mixed nuts, edamame, and vegetables with hummus are some of my favorite healthy snacks.

You can also prepare some straightforward snacks in advance if you have additional time. Some delicious snacks you can quickly prepare and save for later are hard-boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups, homemade kale chips, and overnight oats.

2. Substitute whole grains for refined grains

Start substituting healthier whole foods for processed ones as one of the simplest strategies to lower your intake of processed food.

In particular, whole grain substitutes like brown rice and whole grain pasta, bread, and tortillas can be used in place of refined grains like white pasta, rice, bread, and tortillas.

Whole grains have been demonstrated to be protective against diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer in addition to being higher in essential nutrients like fiber (1Trusted Source).

3. Use your imagination when cooking.

If you’re feeling daring, recreate your favorite processed meals in your kitchen to give them a nutritious makeover. This allows you to experiment with intriguing new ingredients while giving you ultimate control over what goes on your plate.

Slices of potato, zucchini, turnip, or carrot, for instance, can be turned into veggie chips by mixing them with a little salt and olive oil, then baking them until they are crisp.

Chia pudding, air-popped popcorn, granola bars, and fruit leather are some more at-home healthy substitutes for manufactured foods.

Instead of ordering takeaway, I personally enjoy attempting to recreate dishes from my favorite restaurants at home. By including more items like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, this not only saves money but also makes it simpler to eat more entire meals.

4. Consume more liquids

Sugary drinks with few vital elements, such as soda, sweet tea, fruit juice, and sports drinks, are heavy in calories and sugar.

It’s a fantastic idea to gradually replace these beverages with water throughout the day to reduce your consumption of processed foods and enhance the quality of your diet as a whole.

If plain water isn’t your preferred beverage, sparkling or flavored water are two excellent alternatives. As an alternative, you may try adding fresh fruit or herbs to water to give it a flavor boost.

5. Attempt food planning.

Once or twice a week, prepare a significant amount of food so that you always have plenty of nutritious meals on hand in the fridge, even if you’re too busy to cook.

Additionally, it can significantly reduce the temptation to stop at a drive-through on the way home or to rely on frozen convenience foods when you’re pushed for time.

Set up a certain time to prepare your meals and choose a few dishes to make each week to get started.

In order to prevent recurrence during the week, I also prefer to locate a few dishes that call for the same ingredients.

Also read: 11 Healthy Eating Accounts Worth Following on Social Media

6. Consume more veggies

Include at least one serving of veggies when you prepare meals at home to enhance your consumption of wholesome, unprocessed foods.

This can be as simple as sautéing broccoli for a quick side dish, adding spinach to scrambled eggs, or adding carrots or cauliflower to soups or casseroles.

The high nutritional value and high fiber content of vegetables help you feel satisfied between meals, which reduces hunger and satisfies cravings (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

delivery service for meal kits Green Chef UK offers dishes using fresh, premium ingredients that have been approved by nutritionists. Additionally, customers have a variety of diet options to pick from, such as vegetable-focused vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian menus.

7. Change up your buying habits

When you don’t have any processed foods on hand, it is much simpler to restrict your use of them.

Fill your shopping cart the following time you visit the supermarket with wholesome, minimally processed items like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

You might also try shopping the outside of the store rather than the middle aisles, which are often where processed snacks and junk food can be found.

When you’re shopping, make sure to check the labels on your favorite food goods. Avoid foods that are high in sodium, trans fat, or added sugar whenever you can.

8. Make some easy food swaps.

Numerous healthier alternatives exist for many processed goods. Listed here are some of my favorites:

  • Change to a bowl of fruit-topped oatmeal instead of sugar-laden cereal for morning.
  • Instead of microwave popcorn, make your own on the stove.
  • Replace commercial salad dressings with a homemade vinaigrette made from vinegar and olive oil.
  • Make your own trail mix instead of purchasing it from the store by combining nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
  • Instead of croutons, sprinkle nuts or seeds on top of your salads.

9. Consume fewer processed meats

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classed processed meats including bacon, sausage, lunch meat, and hot dogs as carcinogenic and linked them to a number of negative health effects (4).

You’ll be relieved to learn that there are many simple strategies to reduce your consumption of processed meat.

You can simply replace these items with less processed meats like fresh chicken, fish, or turkey to start. Other sandwich ingredients, such as hard-boiled eggs, chicken breasts, or tuna salad, can be used in place of packaged lunch meats.

You can also increase your intake of plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, tofu, and beans.

10. Adopt changes gradually.

You don’t have to immediately cut out all processed foods from your diet.

In fact, long-term sustainability and effectiveness generally favor gradual change. According to some study, small lifestyle adjustments can help create enduring habits and gradually make originally challenging tasks more simpler (5Trusted Source).

Try experimenting with one or two of the above-mentioned techniques each week, then add more over time.

Remember that you can still occasionally eat out or consume processed foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

The conclusion
Any food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, or packed is said to be processed.

A healthy diet can include many processed foods, but you should avoid the ones that are heavy in sodium, sugar, chemicals, and preservatives.

Try a few of the suggestions in this article to see what works for you, and keep in mind that gradual improvements will yield the best outcomes.