Walking into the market these days is like walking into a minefield. Things just happen. You start out in the organic fruits and veggies section, make your way to the teeny tiny shelf of “healthy” foods, and bam! You look down and somehow, your cart is almost overflowing with foods that are over processed and under nutritional standards. The main (and often most unhealthy) culprits hiding behind your organic fruit selection seem to be overly processed snacks.
In truth, most foods are processed. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for and the degree to which something is processed. Instead of beating yourself up about it and shunning others who consume such foods, try some helpful tips found below and share them with your friends! Spread the organic love like nut butter on an apple! With summer just around the corner, it’s an awesome time to start thinking about ways to cut down on processed foods. These tips are universal for all seasons, but keep these in mind if you’re trying to cut down on processed foods right now, as summer is a great time to opt for more fresh foods and less of the processed stuff!
Read the Labels
Ah, yes, the label reading continues! This is not exclusive to summer alone, but it’s even more important now if you’re trying to eat less processed food. If you’re already a vegan eater, you know the importance of reading labels to see what is hiding in that unsuspecting bag of snacks. Lactose: no thanks! Chemicals you can’t pronounce: I’ll pass! Reading the labels of even “healthy” snacks can be eye-opening. There are tons of sugars, sodium, and fat hiding in that little hundred-calorie pack. Go for prepackaged snacks that have ingredients you can pronounce, or do a bit of research to find things that are less terrible for you.
Now that summer is right around the corner, the time is right for some chilled sliced veggies to snack on instead of those dried crackers that seem determined to crack a tooth. Try buying whole carrots, cucumbers, or celery sticks and slicing them up at home if you’re into veggies. Apples, pears, and peaches work perfectly if you’re craving something sweeter. Skip out on all of the chemicals and syrupy sweeteners in that fruit cocktail in a can and pack something fresh and prepared with love, rather than with robotic machinery.
Got a long day ahead of you tomorrow? With summer fun in mind, it’s even more important to plan ahead for all of your activities. Run to the market, grab some easy and cheap ingredients, and make some snacks at home to take on the road with you. Spending some time beforehand helps to cut down on the disappointment felt when wandering into 7-11 and praying to find something resembling a balanced snack. Here, you can find 10 Plant-Based Snacks That Cost Less Than 5 Dollars to Make. My favorite from the list is steamed edamame because they hold up well in a to-go container and keep you full.
Keep Your Shelves Stocked
To avoid the late night munchies that inevitably come up in these hot summer evenings, and the desperate grab for anything in the pantry that resembles food, keep your shelves stocked, yes, the ones in the fridge too. If you’re bored and just looking for food out of sheer lack of things to do, grab some carrots to crunch on instead of those overly processed sandwich cookies. You’ll avoid eating crap and probably go for something a bit healthier and organic if you’ve got healthy stuff on hand that’s pre-prepared and portioned out. Mangos and kiwis are great if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, especially in the wee hours, like I do.
Now that summer is just about here, you’ve probably already scouted out who carries vegan ice cream, dairy-free popsicles, and delicious frozen treats to keep you cool all summer long. However, before hitting the market for those sugar-water pops, try making some at home. It can be as simple as taking your already favorite homemade juices or smoothies and portioning them out into popsicle containers. Something about them being frozen makes them irresistible. My favorite includes some blueberries, a banana, and some soy yogurt. However, they keep disappearing from my freezer (looks like even the roommates like them!). If you’re looking for something a bit more tropical, try these awesome Piña Colada Popsicles!
How do you make sure to cut down on processed foods? Let us know!
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Fresh Veggie Summer Rolls With Spicy Garlic Peanut Sauce