[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”yes” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”8194″ img_size=”full” qode_hover_animation=”” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space height=”38px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ el_class=”vcenter”][vc_column_text el_class=”v-align-section”]

DIY Processed Snacks
& Ingredients to
Watch Out for in Processed Foods


5 • 18 • 17

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”grid” text_align=”left” background_color=”#8c2a62″ padding_top=”14″ padding_bottom=”14″ css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_column_text el_class=”makewhite”]

“Get people back into the kitchen and combat the trend toward processed food and fast food.”
-Andrew Weil

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Howdy, Munchies!

You all know I’m a big believer in cooking meals for ourselves—we have control over what goes into our food, and it encourages us to eat healthier! I know that I love a good snack (or two), but the ingredients in most processed snacks can be surprising. Most I wouldn’t use at home, and many I don’t even recognize!

We CAN make our own, cleaner versions of the snacks we love! (It takes more time and effort than buying those snacks at the store, but that could help us to eat them less frequently…would we eat the entire bag of Goldfish or Ritz crackers if we had to make them ourselves?) Today, I’m showing you three of my cleaner recipes for DIY PROCESSED SNACKS![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”grid” text_align=”left” background_color=”#8c2a62″ padding_top=”14″ padding_bottom=”14″ css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_column_text el_class=”makewhite”]

How to Make Healthy Processed Snacks
DIY Goldfish, Graham Crackers, Ritz!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Which of these tasty snacks is your favorite? Leave a comment on the YouTube video and let me know!

We may not choose to make ALL of our own snacks and crackers from here on out, but we can educate ourselves so we make informed decisions in the grocery store. I’m sharing some basic info today about why processed foods get such a bad rap, and some of the controversial ingredients to watch out for on the nutrition label![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”24px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”8212″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_hover_animation=”” qode_css_animation=””][vc_column_text el_class=”makegray”]

Un-Junk your favorite, indulgent recipes!

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”8215″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” qode_hover_animation=”” qode_css_animation=”” link=”https://mindovermunch.com/product/un-junk-your-food/”][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]There are so many ways to make our favorite foods and recipes healthier. You can enjoy those delicious comfort foods and snack foods that you love, WITHOUT the guilt!

In my Un-Junk Your Food eBook, you can learn how to health-ify your ultimate guilty pleasures: cinnamon rolls, mozzarella cheese sticks, lasagna, ice cream sandwiches, and SO MUCH MORE! [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”grid” text_align=”left” background_color=”#8c2a62″ css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column css=”.vc_custom_1495046680465{padding-right: 40px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;}”][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text el_class=”makewhite”]What’s inside:

  • Recipes for your favorite treats, like queso, fried chicken, and donuts—using healthy, wholesome ingredients!
  • Un-junked ideas for breakfasts, appetizers, entrees, desserts, dips, and sauces.
  • The nutrition and macronutrient breakdown for each recipe.
  • Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, and gluten-free options, along with possible adaptations to fit those lifestyles!

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”center” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][no_button size=”large” button_hover_animation=”default” icon_pack=”” target=”_self” font_weight=”” text=”Learn to UnJunk Your Food Today!” link=”https://mindovermunch.com/product/un-junk-your-food/” color=”#ffffff” background_color=”#94c93f”][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”24px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”8221″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_hover_animation=”” qode_css_animation=””][vc_column_text el_class=”makegray”]

Not all processed foods are “bad,” but ultra-processed foods can have some problems. Arm yourself with information!

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]“Processed food” is a broad term—there’s really a spectrum of processed food, and some processing is essential to making some foods edible and digestible. Even a wholesome piece of produce, like an apple, is somewhat processed in the sense that it’s cut or picked from the tree. This is a form of mechanical processing, in which a food item is altered by some kind of physical process, and this often results in minimally processed foods:

  • Frozen fruits & vegetables—harvested and then frozen at the peak time of freshness.
  • Canned beans & canned fish—cooked, soaked, and canned for convenience.
  • Nut butters—nuts blended into buttery form.
  • Plain yogurt—made from fermented, cultured milk, then packaged.

These are still real foods, with ingredients that are simple and recognizable, they’ve just been prepared in a certain way. These minimally processed foods can make healthy eating more convenient, and are still great sources of nutrients. But, not every brand of frozen foods, canned foods, nut butters, or yogurts is necessarily a wholesome choice that’s been minimally processed. What we need to watch out for are the loads of additives that can lessen their nutritional value—added salts, sugars, sauces, sweeteners, preservatives, flavors, colors.

 

Foods that are more drastically altered—often chemically altered and laden with additives—are considered ultra-processed foods, and it’s important for us to be aware of what we’re really consuming. Be sure to READ THE INGREDIENTS LIST, because many of the foods we find in the store today are ultra-processed:

  • Frozen dinners, instant foods, microwave popcorn
  • Many packaged snack foods, like chips, crackers, pastries, baked goods
  • Breads, pastas
  • Breakfast cereals, granolas, granola bars
  • Fruit snacks, dried fruit
  • Sauces, condiments
  • Processed meats, deli meats
  • Plant-based products, like vegan cheese, veggie burgers, or meat substitutes made from processed soy 

Different preservatives, colors, and flavors (many of which are chemical) are used to make these ultra-processed foods last a long time, taste delicious, and cheaper to produce. While these additives have to be approved by the U.S. FDA, research studies reveal some with potential dangers, and some are even banned in other countries for protective purposes. It’s important to do your own research so you can make informed decisions about what’s healthy for you.

Problems with Ultra-Processed Foods

A major problem with processed foods is how common they’ve become in our diets—around 60% of the average American’s diet consists of processed foods! The reality is that ultra-processed foods generally don’t provide us with quality fuel, and some of the additives and chemicals may actually cause us harm. If we’re eating lots of processed foods, it’s important to educate ourselves and decide what’s right for each of our healthy lifestyles! As you make those decisions, consider these common problems associated with ultra-processed foods:

  • Low in nutrients—the more that foods are processed and altered with additives, the more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber are stripped from them. In some cases, synthetic vitamins and minerals are added back into processed foods to compensate, but these aren’t a quality replacement for the nutrients we can get from real, whole foods. More processed foods in your diet = fewer essential nutrients fueling your body.
  • High in sugar & salt—where nutrients are lacking, there’s often salt and/or sugar added (whether it’s for flavor, color, or to make food last longer). There are so many processed foods that are sneaky sources of sugar (like bread!?)—especially high fructose corn syrup, which makes for not-so-fuel-filled calories. Whether you’re trying to cut down on sodium intake or not, it’s important to be aware that most sodium we consume is not from salting our own food—75% of it comes from processed and packaged foods, which isn’t providing us with much healthy fuel!
  • Made from refined grains—many processed foods and snacks are made from refined grains, which have a longer shelf life but are lacking the healthy nutrients and fiber that whole grains offer. Refined grains are too easy for us to digest, causing our blood sugar levels to rise, insulin to spike, and cravings to come soon after. Don’t be deceived by “whole grain” claims! (Many white breads are topped with a sprinkle of oats, or colored brown with molasses!) Read the ingredients list and look for a whole grain to be listed as the first ingredient.
  • Take less energy to digest—ultra-processed foods are designed to be easy to eat (and overeat), they’re low in nutrients, and they digest quickly. All of this means we can eat more of these foods faster, without feeling full, and we may even burn less energy than we would eating a meal made of whole foods! (One study showed that subjects eating a sandwich made with multi-grain bread and whole cheddar cheese burned almost twice as many calories during the meal than the group who ate a sandwich made with white bread and processed cheese product.)
  • “Hyper-rewarding” and addictive—those sugary, salty, fatty, calorie-dense foods actually flood the brain with dopamine, much like cocaine and other drugs of abuse. Dopamine is released naturally and makes us feel good when we have a good meal or hug someone we love. But, the intense dopamine surge from sugar or highly-rewarding junk foods is so intense that it overrides the brain’s ability to exercise self-control, making us feel like we just can’t stop eating them. This is one way compulsive eating and even food addiction can result.
  • Countless artificial additives—there’s a lot of debate around artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, and preservatives. I encourage everyone to educate themselves, so each person can decide what they’re comfortable consuming.

There are a few ingredients that are especially controversial in processed foods, and you may want to watch out for them! As always, my goal is NOT to tell you what to eat or what not to eat. The general information provided here is only to raise awareness about these ingredients and get you thinking. I encourage you to do your own research to inform your choices!

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS is a concentrated sugar substitute that’s cheap and super sweet—and it’s in SO many processed foods! You’ll find HFCS in tons of snack foods—both sweet and savory—as well as soft drinks, spaghetti sauces, condiments like ketchup, and even sliced bread. Americans actually consume more calories from HFCS than any other source. You may also find it listed in the ingredients as “corn sweetener,” “corn syrup,” or “corn syrup solids.”

 

Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver and, in high amounts (like from HFCS), it turns to fat in our bodies. Fructose is a sugar that occurs naturally in fruits, but the nutrients and fiber in fruit make it slower to metabolize and offer us some actual fuel. Ultra-processed foods generally offer us little to no fuel, and that HFCS can cause major blood sugar spikes. This can lead to cravings, overeating, and weight gain, especially considering some research suggests HFCS may inhibit our brain’s ability to recognize when we’re full!

Trans Fats

Shortening, partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils—these are all known as trans fats. When vegetable oils are hydrogenated (blasted with hydrogen), they transform from liquid to solid form. This can create the desired moist, crispy, or flaky texture of a processed food, and extend its shelf life. (You’ll also find loads of trans fats in fried foods!) But, it’s now widely accepted that trans fats are harmful to our health.

 

Trans fats can raise our bad cholesterol levels, increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and are linked to some cancers. It’s really better to eat as little trans fats as possible (ideally none—choose healthy unsaturated fats instead!) Trans fats are being eliminated from many food products, but they’re still present in some processed foods and restaurant foods. Beware: the FDA allows food manufacturers to claim “0 trans fat” on the label if the food contains less than 0.5g trans fat per serving. Be sure to read the ingredients list and look for any “partially hydrogenated” oils, or shortening!

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are chemically derived (so they’re different than natural sweeteners like stevia and erythritol). These are the no-calorie sweeteners popularly known as:

  • Splenda (sucralose)
  • Sweet’N Low (saccharin)
  • Equal, NutraSweet (aspartame)
  • Sunnett, Sweet One, ace K (acesulfame potassium)

While they’re often seen as a healthier option than sugar because they have little to no calories, it’s important to be informed about their potential effects. Research studies show that tasting something sweet revs up our appetite—regardless of calories consumed. Artificial sweeteners are super sweet in comparison to sugar, and can trick our brains into expecting calories that we’re not getting. These artificial sweeteners can still lead to insulin sensitivity, and cause us to crave (and eat) even more sweets and carbs.

 

There’s SO much debate surrounding artificial sweeteners. Though these sweeteners are all FDA approved, there are some research studies suggesting negative effects—but these sweeteners are relatively new and more studies need to be done. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to do your research so you can make informed decisions about what’s right for you! (Check out my Sugar & Sweeteners 101 video to learn more!)

Artificial Colors & Flavors

You’ll find artificial colors in lots of cereals and candies—15 million pounds of artificial food dyes are used in U.S. foods each year. And, artificial flavors are listed in the ingredients of TONS of foods. Some research has shown that certain artificial colors may cause allergic reactions, have adverse effects on behavioral health in children, or be linked to some cancers. Other studies are now examining the negative impact some artificial flavors—like diacetyl in microwave popcorn—might have on brain health.

Again, these are approved by the FDA, but there’s just not enough research to make long-term health conclusions yet. That’s why you have the power to educate yourself and make informed decisions about what to put into your body!

Preservatives

Preservatives are what make processed foods last a long time, but we’re still learning about their potentially adverse effects on our health. Some preservatives are allergens, some are linked to digestive problems, some are possible carcinogens. Names like these in your ingredients list are common (and controversial) preservatives in processed foods:

  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) & BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
  • Sodium benzoate & potassium benzoate
  • Sulfites
  • Nitrates & nitrites

Whether we’re talking about preservatives or other additives in processed foods, some things may concern you and some things may not. You do you! There’s plenty of research available if you’re interested in learning more.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”24px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”8246″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_hover_animation=”” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”grid” text_align=”left” background_color=”#94c93f” padding_top=”14″ padding_bottom=”14″ css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_column_text el_class=”makewhite”]

How to Make Oat Flour

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”8248″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_hover_animation=”” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp agave
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 banana

 

Procedure

Blend all ingredients together, serve, and enjoy!

 

Nutrition

per 1 frosty, yields 2
140 calories | 2 F | 33 C | 2 P[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”24px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”8252″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_hover_animation=”” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Check out this blender banana bread @pinaypanda87 made! Looks SO delicious! Thanks for trying out the recipe from my $30 Trader Joe’s Meal Prep, and thanks for tagging me![/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”8254″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_hover_animation=”” qode_css_animation=””][vc_column_text el_class=”makegray”]

Tag me in your Mind Over Munch recipe posts and meal prep photos on social for a chance to be featured!

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_separator type=”normal” up_style=”px” down_style=”px”][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text el_class=”makegray”]

Additional Resources

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”18px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

9 Ways That Processed Foods Are Harming PeopleAuthority Nutrition

8 Ways to Avoid Processed Food100 Days of Real Food

The Eight Most Damaging Ingredients to Watch Out for on Food LabelsDr. Mercola

Sugar & Sweeteners 101Mind Over Munch

Healthy Processed Food ChoicesMind Over Munch

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”34px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email