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10 Realistic Ways to Eat Less Processed Foods

by | Nutrition

Jun 4, 2022

Natural foods almost always score more points than their processed counterparts. This is because some of the changes made to food during processing may change the makeup of the food. 

For example, canning food usually involves adding salt and other preservatives, etc. So, it is best we stick to more natural food and less processed foods. Is this difficult? Well, honestly, a bit. But it is also possible. Check out these 10 realistic ways to eat less processed foods: 

1. Eat Breakfast

This might seem too good to be true, but it does help. Skipping breakfast will have you craving a lot of snacks throughout the day, as a drop in your sugar level will send signals to the hunger centers of your body. 

On the other hand, if you stick to having a good breakfast, you may not feel so strong an urge to throw some snacks or heavily processed foods into your mouth. 

Eat a protein-rich, carb-rich breakfast to keep you fuller for a longer period.

Whole eggs and some bread and Greek yoghurt is a great idea. It will have you energized to face the day. 

Read: What are the Superfoods, their benefits, and Risks

2. Hydrate

When you are trying to stay away from processed foods for a while, it is a great idea to be sure you are hydrated at all times. 

Drink a lot of water so your body does not interpret your dehydration as hunger, and thus, make you crave more and more food. 

One of the signs that you may not be drinking enough water include: 

  • Dry mouth 
  • Dark urine 
  • Too little urination
  • Feeling tired 

The trick is to drink water as often as you feel thirsty, even if this is once every hour. Just drink some water. It helps you eat less processed foods.

Read: 10 Small Changes You Can Make to Shed Pounds Faster

3. Have Some Fruit Around You

Substitute snacks that contain processed sugar with some fruit. 

Carry an apple in your handbag—it helps quite a lot. 

When you feel the urge to snack up, pull out your apple and take a bite. 

Fruits are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that provide an array of health benefits. 

Citrus fruits like grapes and oranges contain a lot of vitamin C, which is great for the nervous system. 

Apples contain antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects and are helpful in preventing cancers. 

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In addition to cancer, studies have also shown that eating apples can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes.

Home-made fruit juices are also a great idea and can be used to substitute for your regular soda, which is just harming you. 

Read: 10 Best Diet Plans for Weight Loss, Sustainability, and Overall Health

4. Don’t Eat Out Often

There is almost no way you will eat your favorite fast food and not have some processed food. So, it is best that, at least for now, you avoid your favorite fast food. 

If you can’t completely avoid it, then you can go there once a week at most. Or just make orders consisting of recipes that aren’t processed.

Stick to eating at home, the food you prepare yourself. Eating food you prepare at home will help you eat less processed foods.

5. Find Ways to Make Cooking Fun

One of the reasons why people eat out or eat already prepared or instant foods is because they dislike cooking. 

If you dislike cooking, I promise you that you are not alone. But the truth is, you will have to find a way to make cooking fun. It is one great realistic way to eat less processed foods. 

Be creative. Watch online cooking videos, and imagine yourself to be the perfect chef. 

Don’t be scared of the food coming out wrong. Even if it does, it doesn’t negate the fact that you’ll do amazing soon. 

When you cook at home, though, be sure not to include too much salt or processed seasoning. 

Read: The Side Effects of Skipping Breakfast, According to Research

6. Have Your Garden

The idea is a simple one. When you have processed foods readily available, you will likely stick to eating them because all you have to do is open some cupboards and pull them out. 

The same thing is going to happen when you grow your garden. You will have natural foods in your backyard whenever you need them. 

In your garden, grow your favorite vegetables. Love pumpkins? Grow some pumpkins, then. 

Use whatever organic waste from your kitchen as compost manure for your garden, and be sure to water it often. 

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7. Cook Meals in Bulk

No, we don’t mean cook drums of food. We mean, cook just enough for a week or two and put some in the freezer so you don’t have to go back into the kitchen and stress all over. 

This is especially helpful if you don’t like cooking at all. Make it a routine, and stick to it. 

Let’s say you are a worker. You can set aside weekends for cooking your meals at a particular time so you don’t get frustrated and turn to processed foods. 

Store your foods properly, and try as much as you can to avoid wastage. 

Read: How to Eat More Sustainably at Home: 10 Practical Tips

8. More Vegetables

Substitute processed foods with vegetables. 

If you have a garden, getting vegetables will not prove that difficult. If not, you can go to the nearby supermarket to get vegetables.

It is helpful that we eat vegetables because they are loaded with healthy vitamins and antioxidants, which help our immune system function properly. 

They also contain a lot of fiber. 

Fiber is a class of non-glycemic carbohydrates that are helpful for the maintenance of gut function. 

They help us stool properly and protect our lower intestinal tract. 

9. Change Your Meals

Perhaps it is time you began changing your meals. 

And don’t expect the changes to occur overnight. Effect the changes slowly whilst being completely patient with yourself. 

Instead of processed cereals for breakfast, have some oatmeals. 

Instead of white, processed rice, how about you have some whole grain? 

How about you add some seafood to the mix? This is sure going to prove to be a lot of good. 

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Read: 13 Best Superfoods To Keep You Healthy

10. Reward Yourself

A personal reward system is a healthy way to interact with yourself. 

When you have managed to stay away from processed foods for a while, then you sure should reward yourself. Now, have some processed food. Your favorite snack, that is. 

Keep going this way, and in no time, you will be consuming less processed foods than you had hoped.

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

By Ubong Johnson

Ubong Johnson (Ubee) is a relationship expert, medical student, and writer. He writes articles which cover everything from relationships and nutrition to lifestyle. His works of short fiction have appeared in several literary magazines including The Shallow Tales Review, Ngiga Review, and the Kalahari Review. He is the founder and editor of Fiction Niche.

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