one green planet
one green planet

Processed food is almost everywhere these days, and it’s definitely not for the better. America’s health is getting worse with each passing day, and if people don’t stand up or take matters into their own hands, we won’t get healthier. One change one day, two changes the next day, and so on, is all it takes to reclaim your health, so start today by picking one of these swaps:

1. Fruit instead of Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is not a health food if it comes in a carton with false images of groves and sun kissed fruit on the cover. Don’t listen to the 100 percent juice claims. Don’t fall prey to the game of advertisers and put it in your cart. Instead, head over to your local grocery’s produce section and grab some whole, complete fruit. Eat the fruit instead of drinking it, but if you must drink fruit, make it in a home juicer where there won’t be any hidden ingredients.

2. Potatoes instead of Potato Chips

Yes, the crunch aspect is problematic here because potatoes are not crispy by themselves, but that sickly crunch of potato chips is not normal or close to nature. Try and enjoy baked potatoes or potatoes lightly crisped in a pan instead of potato chips in vacuum sealed plastic bags. Or, if you must have chips – make your own from veggies!

3. Tomatoes instead of Ketchup

Ketchup is delicious, don’t get me wrong, but conventional brands that you’d find on restaurant tables or in your own cupboard often have the dreaded sweetener, high fructose corn syrup. Don’t get me started on the disgusting truth of the sweetener: let’s just say its bad news and is the equivalent of poison. Instead of drawing your name in ketchup all over your potatoes, slice some actual tomatoes and eat them with your potatoes like your grandma used to do, because it’s healthier and delicious.

4. Applesauce instead of Canned Fruit

Applesauce is almost texturally identical to canned fruit suspended in “heavy” or “light” syrup, so why not substitute it for said canned travesty? Better yet, why not try whole apples or whatever fruit you like canned in its whole state? The only caveat I have with this suggestion is that you have to make sure your applesauce is free from additives or extra sugar put in just for the fun of it.

5. Brown Rice instead of White Rice

White rice is not that terrible, but it is a refined carbohydrate and should be limited because it gives little nutrition at the cost of raising blood pressure. Its brown rice counterpart, however, is a much better alternative, as the whole grain is left intact with its germ and fiber.

6. Tofu or Tempeh instead of Chicken Nuggets

For those fried meat lovers, try some tofu or tempeh. Tofu may not always be the best alternative, but it’s certainly nutritionally superior to the chicken nugget. If you must fry the tofu and tempeh to curb your cravings, go ahead and do so, but don’t — whatever you do — fall back on fast food.

7. Hummus instead of Mayonnaise

Hummus and mayonnaise do not taste the same, that’s a given, but mayonnaise is the king of processed foods—what the heck do they put in it so the eggs don’t rot and smell like a gas leak on grocery store shelves? Yuck! Hummus, on the other hand, does not have any animal ingredients in it, and can be bought unrefrigerated or refrigerated, and since it does not have any animal ingredients, you shouldn’t really have qualms about it sitting on grocery shelves. So, try some hummus on your sandwich instead of mayonnaise whether you make it yourself, buy it from a nice Greek man at your farmer’s market, or pick it up at the grocery store. Just stay away from the alien that is store bought mayonnaise.

8. Vegetables instead of Vegetable Flavored Chips

Vegetable flavored anything does not count as a serving of vegetables, so don’t be fooled into thinking such nonsense. These processed chips are nowhere near actual vegetables. Why not try eating some baby carrots, celery, cucumbers, or other crudités instead of oil heavy “veggie” chips? Enjoy the taste of actual vegetables by gradually weaning yourself off of these veggie imposters.

9. Steel-Cut Oatmeal instead of Cereal

Steel-cut oats are “whole oat groats that have been cut into neat little pieces on a steel buhr mill.” Made into oatmeal, these oats are high in fiber and protein to help keep you powering through your morning routine or afternoon slump. Sugar cereal falls flat compared to oatmeal. Conventional cereal is devoid of fiber, high in sugar or sugar additives, and is the epitome of refined starch. If you like cold cereal, eat cold oatmeal: just make it the night before and refrigerate it, or make it in the morning and pour some chilled almond milk on top of it.

10. Water instead of Soda

Full of aspartame, phenylalanine, or high fructose corn syrup, soda is not a whole food, but a processed disaster drink that should not be consumed. Water, however, is what keeps human beings alive. If you need to drink something fizzy, try club soda or sparkling water, but don’t drink diet or regular soda just because it’s available.  Or, try any of these great soda alternatives!

Reducing your intake of processed food has to start somewhere. Implement these ten swaps into your daily routine, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you!

Image source: Monticello/ Shutterstock

Help keep One Green Planet free and independent! Together we can ensure our platform remains a hub for empowering ideas committed to fighting for a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate world. Please support us in keeping our mission strong.