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Avoiding Processed Foods

For some, it might feel like the only thing you have left in the house is a frozen pizza, ice cream and some instant mac and cheese. Believe us, we know how you feel. However, even though grocery stores are limited and finances may look a little different, you can still get healthy and minimally processed meals at home that will help you stay fit and feel your best.

All food is processed in some way.  Apples are picked, flour is milled, and butter is churned. However, it’s when our food is chemically altered or made solely from artificial or refined substances that we start seeing and feeling the effects in western diets.  Highly processed foods are:

  • High in added sugars or High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • High in sodium
  • Contain artificial ingredients like preservatives, coloring agents, fake flavors, etc.
  • High in refined carbs  — or carbs that aren’t healthy for the body
  • Stripped of dietary fiber
  • High in trans fats

Foods like these are hard for the body to digest and do not allow us to absorb the nutrients we need, leading to increases in weight and making you more susceptible to disease. At Woodside, we believe it’s our responsibility to provide our members and staff all-natural, fresh meals that are as healthy as they are delicious. We take pride in our scratch kitchen limiting the use of processed foods and making all our items fresh daily because we feel that you get out what you put in.  Here are three easy ways to ensure the fuel you’re ingesting is the best for your health and wellness through these unprecedented times:

 1. Stay out of the middle of the grocery store. 

The middle aisles are dominated by processed foods, while fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy line the walls. Keep to the edges of stores and you’re more likely to end up with real food in your cart.  With a little more time on our hands, we can look to create healthier recipes with fresh ingredients and hone in on our cooking skills.

2. The frozen section isn’t all bad.

While TV dinners and cartons of ice cream take center stage in the frozen section, there are also healthy meals, fruits and veggies that are not heavily processed and perfectly healthy that are frozen. Freezing is one of nature’s best preserving methods that can ensure you always have smoothie ingredients and healthy sides on hand.

3. Plan ahead.

Time is the one thing we all have plenty of right now, so use it to plan out your weekly meals and snacks. By thinking ahead and making a list, you know your meals and what your grocery list will look like ahead of time, which will make you less likely to impulse buy and saving you money and time. Plus, should you get the urge to snack you know you have healthier, less processed options on hand.

These are trying times, but our health doesn’t need to suffer. We’ll get through this together and emerge happy and healthy.

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