Published on Sep 06, 2018 - 2 min read
In an era of heavy commercialization of food, a big chunk of the raw materials we use to prepare food at home, are now made in factories and sold to us through glamorous advertisements and colorful displays in grocery stores. In this article, we will examine how safe they are and which ones we should watch out for.
With every passing day, we are increasingly buying readymade foodstuffs from the market, owing to the scarcity of time to cook at home. Frequently, both men and women are working shoulder to shoulder outside homes and cooking at home is taking a backseat. In such times, processed foods in grocery and convenience stores are an easy-pick and save a lot of time and energy. Catering to this increasing demand for ready-to-eat snack foods and meals, many companies have jumped into making processed and packed food, and grocery stores are now flooded with multiple brands with new varieties in colorful packs. It is very tempting to pick these food packs. But, how healthy are these food products? Which are the foodstuffs we should avoid or buy carefully while shopping?
Three such food categories are given below:
Biscuits are our everyday tea-time snacks and have become omnipresent. They are available in so many different varieties, flavors, and textures. But, most biscuits come with added white sugar, vegetable oil, and refined flour. Even multigrain ones have a large quantity of refined flour. Added artificial colors and flavoring agents are common in biscuits. They may taste good, but their nutritional value is negligible. If we cannot avoid eating them, we can surely buy ones that have a better composition, and we can certainly reduce their consumption.
Bread has become a household staple food. So much so that, it has become synonymous with chapati/roti. Bread comes in many forms and shapes - regular slice bread, buns, loaves, puffs, pizza base, burgers, croissants, fruit cake, etc. Even cakes and pastries come in this category. But, all these foods are extremely low in nutrient value and are loaded with trans fats, refined flour, and simple sugars. A big reason for obesity these days is overconsumption of these readily available foods. Again, we need to watch out against over-consumption of these, without making it a regular habit.
3. Salty Snacks
Our favorite potato wafers, crackers, french fries, salty mixtures in colorful packets are in these categories. They are our leisure-time snacks while watching television, or having a casual chat. No matter how crispy and tangy they are, they have loads of salt and vegetable oils. Daily intake can lead to obesity and hypertension. They can easily be overeaten, adding up a large number of calories. Therefore their consumption must not be very often.
If we cannot resist buying the above categories of foods, we can surely reduce the quantities that we buy and can avoid eating them on a daily basis. We should look for healthier snacking options which are available in stores and can be made at home as well easily, such as - roasted peanuts, roasted peas, fox-nuts, plain puffed rice, baked sweet potatoes, steamed corn salad, sprouts salad, home-baked multigrain bread, and cookies.
Healthy snacking goes a long way in avoiding excess calorie intake and increasing our dose of macro and micro nutrients which are essential for our long-term health. Developing this habit in children goes a long way in their balanced physical and mental growth.
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