Choosing Natural Food: 11 Tips.

picture of salad

Buy ingredients that look like real food. Fresh natural foods retain their nutritional value and contain few additives

Natural food looks like it was picked off the vine or pulled from the garden. It is “real food.”

Processed food begins with natural food and it is modified for various reasons: to cook faster, increase shelf life, transport easier and improve texture to name a few. But processed foods lose nutritional value during the processing. Also, additives are usually put into the food to replace vitamins, add flavor, and improve color.

There is a lot of controversy regarding food additives and their affect on health. According to WebMD (The Truth About 7 Common Food Additives)  current research studies have shown that there is little evidence supporting the notion that some common additives are harmful to our health.
On the other hand, an article by Cindy Hill in Living Strong  (read more)  supports the generally accepted idea that food processing removes some, or most, of the vitamins and minerals. Canning and milling destroy or remove nutrients while blanching and freezing serve preserve the nutrients in vegetables.
.”You’re going to get more nutrient bang for your buck to eat less refined foods when you can,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
The FMP contributors know full well that it is difficult for families to eat whole natural foods at every meal. If you want to begin incorporating”real foods” in your meal plan, here are 11 ideas to consider when shopping:
  • Read the label. The first ingredients listed should be real food.
  • Use whole grain wheat, brown rice & pasta because they contain more nutrients.
  • Incorporate “leafy greens” into your salads like kale, Swiss chard, and spinach.
  • Use cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli.
  • Limit use of refined noodles and bleached flour. Look for “100% whole wheat”.
  • Periodically replace white potatoes with yams or sweet potatoes.
  • Buy meat, fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers using sustainable practices.
  • Limit low fat or non fat dairy products.
  • Buy fresh fruits & vegetables. Pick  your own or buy from local farmers. Fresh frozen are a second best option.
  • Buy natural sea salt instead of refined salt.
  • Avoid GMO or processed ingredients with additives.

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