10 Processed Foods I Eat Regularly
If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can come out of hundreds of battles without danger. — The Art of War
This is how I feel about junk food. In general, I don’t eat junk food, but there are a few things that I enjoy on occasion and I think that is just fine. As with many things, as long as you practice moderation and “know your enemy” then you can have the occasional treat and still maintain a healthy diet.
Before I give my list of 10 sins, it is important to note that almost anything that is in the grocery store these days is processed. Except for most items in the produce section (notice I say most), a lot of what we consume is “processed.” This includes things like milk and frozen peas which are good for you and can definitely be a part of a healthy diet.
This post, though, is about the section of processed foods that people think of when they think of processed foods. Mostly this includes junk foods processed with high fructose corn syrup or fried or in some other way enhanced.
Why am I writing this post? Well, because I think it is important to acknowledge your enemies! These are things that I really enjoy and as long as I recognize that they are treats and not what I should be eating everyday, then I think it is fine for me to have them. Keep in mind that I also exercise a few times a week and walk 3 miles round trip to work everyday so my daily calorie count is a bit forgiving.
On with the list! Some of these are worse than others…
1) Wasabi Peas. Ok. For a snack food these are actually pretty good for you. The fact that I can eat my own weight in them though makes up for the reasonable health. If you are going to snack you could do way worse than these spicy little things.
2) Triscuits. Again. Not the worst thing you could eat, but I load them up with cheese or some sort of cream cheese spread. That makes them a treat. If you eat them in their bare form then they are probably okay to eat regularly.
3) Nutella. Betsy and I have yet to have a container of Nutella that lasts more than a few weeks in our house. One spoonful at a time it just… disappears!
4) Diet Dr. Pepper. If I’m going to drink soda, this is my soda of choice. I know it has 0 calories and all and so theoretically I could drink it everyday, but I know that it isn’t good for me. The caffeine plus whatever the hell they put it in to make it taste so damn good cannot be good for you.
5) Velveeta. Velveeta is pretty much the definition of processed. I have no idea how it is made. In fact, I’ve tried to reproduce it’s texture with regular cheese and milk. It is impossible. But Velveeta makes some of the best queso dip around. That’s all there is to it.
6) Ramen Noodles. This should come as no surprise to Macheesmo readers. I love Ramen noodles. In fact, I love to incorporate them into different dishes.
7) Salsa. This is another pretty healthy one, but definitely worth mentioning given the amount of it I consume. It’s a great snack but most jarred salsas are pretty sodium-packed so while it is good for you in the snack food spectrum, you wouldn’t want to eat the stuff by the bucket.
8) Cheddar and sour cream Baked Ruffles. My coworkers and I all refer to these simply as “The Chips.” I have to be careful because I can eat an entire bag without even blinking. That’s all I have to say about that.
10) Beer. I love a good beer and it is definitely considered a “processed” thing. In fact, sometimes I love many beers. I couldn’t leave this off the list.
So those are my favorites. I don’t feel bad about having them occasionally as long as I balance them with healthy homemade dishes, fresh fruit, lots of veggies, and the once-in-awhile treadmill visit.
So, I have to ask. What junk foods are your enemies and do you know them?!