In today's time, hustle culture has taken over our dietary habits. After a long day at work, we don't want to invest any more time in keeping a check on what we are eating. This is where ready-to-eat, ultra-processed foods come into play. Not only are they ready in minutes, but they are also a great way to escape the hassle of cooking. However, they are affecting your health faster than you might expect. Ultra-processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and additives and low in nutrients that are beneficial for your body. This could also lead to various diseases related to heart health, weight, and overall well-being. If you want to avoid the long-term effects of ultra-processed foods, we have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you do just that.
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Here Are 5 Ways To Reduce Your Ultra-Processed Food Intake:
1. Read Ingredients And Labels
To keep a tab on your ultra-processed food intake, develop a habit of reading food labels and ingredients before buying groceries. Look for products that have minimal ingredients to avoid consuming additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors. To understand what is harmful to your health, start reading about what is good for your body and what isn't. Be careful about terms like "high-fructose corn syrup," "hydrogenated oils," and "artificial sweeteners" as they indicate highly processed ingredients.
2. Choose Whole Foods
Try to consume whole, minimally processed foods as much as you can. While grocery shopping, fill your cart with fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, lean proteins, legumes, and seeds. These foods are packed with nutrients and essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that can promote overall well-being. Moreover, whole foods are more pocket-friendly than ultra-processed foods!
3. Cook At Home
Remember when we were little and our parents would say "There's food at home" whenever we wanted to eat fast food? Well, they weren't wrong. You can reduce the intake of ultra-processed food by cooking at home. Take charge of your meals and cook at home often. When you prepare food at home, you can alter the ingredients and cooking methods as per your preference. Experiment with recipes and prep techniques to make cooking and eating more convenient.
4. Limit Ready-To-Eat Foods
Just because you can prepare ready-to-eat meals at home does not mean they are healthy. Reduce your dependence on frozen foods, pre-packaged snacks, and fast food. While they do seem convenient, ready-to-eat foods are packed with preservatives, sodium, and hidden sugars. If you are short on time, plan and prepare meals beforehand.
5. Keep Tabs On Beverages
Pay attention to what you drink and look for hydrating options like water, herbal teas, juices, etc., instead of sugary drinks and artificially flavored beverages. Many market-made drinks are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients that can affect your weight and diet in general.