Purge Processed Foods
January 7, 2013
Nearly 90 percent of the average household food budget is spent on processed foods, but most processed foods are laden with sweeteners, salts, artificial flavors, factory-created fats, colorings, chemicals that alter texture, and preservatives. And, the trouble isn’t just what’s been added, but what’s been taken away. Processed foods are often stripped of nutrients designed by nature to protect your heart, such as soluble fiber, antioxidants, and “good” fats.
All in all, it’s a recipe for health problems. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, our increasing consumption of processed foods is partially responsible for the increasing levels of obesity and even heart disease.
Start purging processed foods from your kid’s diet by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole foods. We’re so unaccustomed to making many kitchen staples from scratch, that most of us don’t even consider it. But, for many items, it’s easier than you think. In the end, your kids will be safer and healthier if you opt to feed them healthy snacks and whole foods.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Croutons. Cut up some old bread into 1-inch chunks. Heat some butter, olive oil and herbs over medium heat for a few minutes. Toss the breads in the butter, spread on a large baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 325°F for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the bread chunks. Stir frequently with a spatula and remove when they are golden on all sides. Store in an airtight container.
2. Vegetable Stock . Mix about 4 cups chopped vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms – you can mix and match what you like or have on hand) with roughly 2 quarts water. Simmer uncovered for about an hour. Any more than an hour and the flavor will begin to deteriorate. Strain out the vegetables using a fine mesh strainer and pressing hard to squeeze out all the broth. Let cool then pour into glass jars and freeze or refrigerate. If refrigerated use within a few days.
3. Granola. This is basically just a combination of oats and any nuts, seeds, and dried fruits you like tossed with cinnamon, maple syrup, and some oil. Bake, cool, crunch, yum.