A great way to get healthy food free of preservatives is to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season. Since these foods do not have to be transported more than a few miles, they’re picked at the peak of ripeness and less likely to contain chemicals designed to preserve the food during the shipping process.
Visit Your Local Farmers’ Market
If you’re looking for locally grown food, there’s no better place to go than your neighborhood farmers’ market. Just remember, it’s about taste, not appearance. Because locally grown fruits and vegetables aren’t full of preservatives, they often don’t look as good as those found in grocery stores. But when it comes to flavor, there’s no comparison. A trip to the farmers’ market is also a great activity for kids who’ll love the chance to taste, touch and choose their own food.
Recipes for Health
The easiest way to cook more healthily is to follow a healthy recipe. So next time you’re ready to try something new, check out the recipes on DDF’s website which offer information on health and nutrition.
Healthy cooking doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your favorite recipes. Try substituting the unhealthy ingredients in your favorite foods with ingredients that are better for you. With a little creativity, you can enjoy a lifetime of meals that taste good and are good for you.
Plan on Having No Time
The biggest hurdle to healthy cooking is lack of time. But, by planning ahead, you can avoid finding yourself in a situation where an unhealthy meal is your only choice.
Refrigerate leftover food and reheat it when you need a quick meal, or make a Do-It-Yourself TV Dinners. When preparing a meal you can always make one or two extra servings and freeze them for later consumption. You’ll know these TV dinners are healthy because you make them yourself.
Pack Your Lunch
Taking your lunch to work will keep fast food out of your hands and money in your wallet. It’s often helpful to prepare your lunch the night before when you’re in less of a rush.
Read the Fine Print
It’s probably impossible to completely avoid processed foods, but by learning to read product labels you can make informed decisions before you buy. Just remember, the best foods, like fruits and vegetables, have no labels at all.
Foods to Avoid
Just because it’s on a supermarket shelf doesn’t mean you should eat it. Processed foods like fast food, pre-prepared meals, and most packaged snack foods and candy bars contain ingredients that may have a negative impact on your health, including refined sugars and trans fat.
If consumed in moderation refined sugar doesn’t pose a major health threat (and it tastes good). But let’s face it; moderation is not something Americans do well. Because of the amount of refined sugar used to sweeten many processed foods, the average American takes in 29 to 40 tablespoons of sugar a day. This amount of sugar can lead to a number of health problems including tooth decay and obesity.
Trans fat, on the other hand, is another matter. Trans fat is man-made fat found in any product containing hydrogenated oil, including margarine and some vegetable oils. Trans fat has been popular with food manufactures for decades because of its long shelf life and unique texture. Unfortunately, studies indicate that ingesting trans fat lowers good cholesterol (HDL), while increasing bad cholesterol (LDL) and the risk of heart disease.
It’s also wise to avoid saturated fat which is found primarily in meat, dairy and other animal products. Although natural, saturated fat also has a negative effect on cholesterol levels and can increase the risk of heart disease. You can easily reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by choosing lean meats and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Surprised? Not all fats are bad. Unsaturated fat, found in natural foods, are absolutely essential for a healthy heart. It should come as no surprise that these fats are found in natural sources, including: cold-water fish (such as salmon), olive oil, almonds and avocados. Even though these fats are good for you they still are not calorie free and should be eaten in moderation.
Choose a Healthy Diet
No matter what diet you try, you won’t lose weight unless you burn more calories than you consume. This can be accomplished through regular exercise and portion control.
It’s also important to note that dieting to lose weight is not the same as healthy eating. So if you’re trying to slim down, remember to make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. The best way to do that, is to find room in your diet for lean meats, whole grains and fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.