This week, while on a nutrition house-call, I encountered the Processed Princess. Take a look at the person behind the pantry and what I found lurking in her refrigerator:
The first thing I looked for were fresh fruits and vegetables. I came up short in this category, with the exception of a rotten half onion in the crisper. At first glance, I can see she is trying to make healthier, high protein options for snacking and breakfast by choosing Greek yogurt and hummus. Beyond that, I saw processed cheese, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup-laden ingredients, and lots of sugary drinks. Also, I did not find any lean meats or other protein options. I had my work cut out for me with this one. In a few short minutes the trash can contained chocolate syrup, sweet tea, ketchup, and pancake syrup.
Let me give you some red flag label words so that you understand why these or other items landed in the trash:
- “Fortified” or “Enriched”- most likely these are always processed because the nutrients and vitamins have been removed in processing to the point where they have to be added back in or nutrients not originally in the food have to be added in.
- “Sugar-free” or “fat-free”- these products may even have more calories than the original, and when the fat is taken out, it is usually replaced with other unhealthy ingredients or sugars.
- fully or partially “Hydrogenized”- This is a keyword to let you know this product has trans-fats. This is the culprit for heart disease. Found in many processed products to make them shelf stable
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HCFS)- associated with obesity and inflammatory disease
- Soybean Oil- make sure it is not hydrogenated and certified organic, but most Americans are not missing this type of fat in their diet. Extra Virgin Olive Oil would be a better option.
- Sodium Nitrite- used in a lot of processed meat to maintain a pink hue. These have a link to cancer so watch out for these in hot dogs, bacon, and deli meat.
The next step was the trip to the grocery store and the makeover. Take a look at the person behind the pantry NOW and how this Processed Princess turned things around!
These items turned this pantry grade from a D+ to an A!
- fresh produce in the crisper
- lean protein for dinner (chicken marinated in olive oil and fresh herbs)
- salad prep
- plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
- real butter replaced margarine
- milk from pasture raised cattle (Happy Cow)
- coconut water replaced sweet tea
Say good-bye to this processed princess! She is now Queen of the Green!
What do you have tucked away in your fridge? [sc:apple]
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