03 Mar 31 Days of Healthy Eating: Day 3 Tip from Elena Paravantes
It’s day 3 of National Nutrition Month! Today’s healthy eating tip is brought to you by the talented Elena Paravantes.
Stop Depending on Highly Processed Foods
While some minimally processed foods such as canned tomatoes and frozen vegetables can help us improve our diets and make it easier to eat healthier, other highly processed foods may do just the opposite.
We often seek processed foods that are fortified with vitamins, minerals and fiber in an effort “help” us improve our diet. Unfortunately, many of these foods also contain plenty of added sugars, fats, salt, preservatives, coloring and the list goes on.
One way we can significantly improve our diet is by trying to stick to (at least most the time) to real foods. By avoiding highly processed foods we will automatically cut down on salt, sugars and many of the unhealthy, cheap fats such as palm oil that is often used in these products. But we will also get those nutrients from real food rather than from fortified processed food.
The majority of the things we eat should be fresh with little processing. Apart from fruit and vegetables, we can try the following:
- Choose dairy in its simplest form, for example Choose plain yogurt instead of flavored (you can add some honey and nuts or your favorite jam at home).
- Avoid processed meats such as chicken nuggets, hot dogs, sausages..
- Bread should ideally contain only flour, salt and yeast.
- Avoid breakfast and cereal bars which contain the same amount sugar as a candy bar.
- Save cookies, chips, crackers for a special day, they should not be part of your daily routine.
Elena Paravantes, RDN has been active in the field of Nutrition and Communications for the past 15 years as a clinical dietitian, food and nutrition consultant, writer and teacher, both in the U.S. and Greece. She is the former Food and Nutrition editor of the Greek editions of Men’s Health and Prevention magazines, establishing the food and nutrition sections upon their launch for 8 years. Elena is currently the Health Editor for Olive Oil Times, is founder of Olive Tomato.com providing credible information and guidance on the Mediterranean diet, writes for several U.S. and Greek media outlets and blogs for Huffington Post.