What Are Processed Foods?

Processed foods are often looked at as something negative, but many don’t understand the definition of the phrase. Processed foods refer to any food that has been altered from its original “pure” agricultural form. This means if it has been washed, chopped, pasteurized, etc., it would technically considered as processed. If we look at the supermarket shelves, it becomes obvious that almost every item is considered to be processed, but they are certainly not all considered unhealthy. There are processed foods that are considered very healthy, such as fruit, vegetables, milk, meat, nuts, etc. Other things such as oils and spices are also processed but considered healthy. Even some foods that have been processed “a lot” can be healthy, such as fresh-baked bread, some cheeses, and some canned goods. When people refer to processed foods being unhealthy, they are more likely talking about ‘highly processed foods’, which have artificial and natural additives and are usually not very nutritious. These often include ready-to-eat meals, cereals, some condiments, etc. These foods can be hard to avoid, but when eaten in moderation and paired with other types of foods for a healthy, balanced diet, they can still be enjoyed!