One of the biggest questions on the minds of most food-novices using a meal delivery service is this: How do I understand the difference of what is and isn’t good for me? While most healthy meal delivery solutions provide a fix for this, there is still a concern that some consumers may not know when they are being sold something processed. For those unaware, a processed food is any food that has been altered in some way during it’s preparation. Food processing can be as simple as canning or freezing or as damaging as being packed with unnecessary ingredients used to force the food to taste better.
Our goal today is to provide some direction for those in the same boat as some of those food novices! Avoid unhealthy food that you ordinarily love to eat can be difficult enough. Having a healthy understanding (pun intended) of the food that you should and shouldn’t be eating will only help to solidify your efforts.
DISCLAIMER: We will stress one thing regarding our use of the word “Processed”. Fun fact: Cooking itself is actually a form of processing! So instead, we will note that the focus of this article will be understanding if your food is “overly processed”. For those looking to avoid processing in totality, you should look into a raw diet!
Also, if you’d like to get your hands on some new unprocessed meals, check out our weekly menu.
While every meal that your meal delivery service will bring you won’t have a big red sign on it that says “PROCESSED”, there will be some key indicators. Here’s what to look for!
- Avoid artificial additives
It’s somewhat obvious that you should avoid artificial dyes and sweeteners, but the big picture is that you’re not going to find these additives in any food that is truly good for you. So this is another easy guideline to help you eliminate a lot of junk easily
- “I don’t have those ingredients at home!”
A common guideline that most stick with is not consuming food with any ingredients that they can’t pronounce. Remember that if you wouldn’t cook with the ingredients contained in your meal, why would you order it?
- Sugar (more often than not) is bad
OK, try and follow us here. Sugar itself is not the Devil, ONLY how much of it you consume. This becomes an issue solely because of the amount of sugar that comes equipped with many packaged foods these days. This including everything from chips to bread to salad dressing and marinades! Consistently consuming more than your recommended daily allowance is where you can go wrong, but think no more than once a week.
- 5+ Ingredients
This method is more just a way of drawing a line in the sand. Don’t get too crazy.. you can probably find a decent trail mix with 6 ingredients, but this guideline is a great rule of thumb.
Why you shouldn’t pay for food from a meal delivery service if it’s processed
Salt. Sugar. Fat. These are all ingredients that are frequently added to processed foods to make their flavor more appealing. While this obviously helps to give the food a taste that keeps the public coming back, it comes with all of it’s unhealthy downfalls. Buying processed foods can lead to people eating more than the recommended amounts of sugar, salt and fat as they may not be aware of how much has been added to the food they are buying and eating. These foods can also be higher in calories due to the high amounts of added sugar or fat in them. Find out more about calories.
Taking all of that into account, think of your meal delivery service as an investment. Chances are that you’re already spending a pretty penny to eat the healthy way. You may as well find out if it’s actually healthy!