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Jul 9, 2013 10:10 PM

Help! Too much processed food!!!

My family is SO hooked on processed foods. No veggies unless they come from a can. Most nights Velveeta Mac n cheese is a side. I've tried to switch to home made options but they will not eat. Anyone else had this problem?

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    1. Just about every single food sold in a grocery store is processed on some level.

      How are you defining "processed" so as to establish where your cut off is?

      1 Reply
      1. re: 1POINT21GW

        In general, with a few rare exceptions (canned tomatoes, chipotles in adobo) I try not to buy anything with an ingredient list. Obviously this isn't completely feasible, but it works for the most part.

        How much convenience food do you need, really? I like to keep a few pantry staples on hand for nights when cooking needs to be quick and dirty -- I can put together a puttanesca from canned tomatoes and anchovies, jarred capers and kalamatas and be good to go. But even then I try to buy things that are minimally processed.

        Unlike going to say, a vegan diet, one doesn't need parameters. You just do your best to eat well, and accept that it's not going to be perfect.

      2. That's a shame.

        Start adding veggies like peas, broccoli, to the Mac and cheese. You can even add grilled chicken or shrimp on top.

        Maybe try half processed half fresh to get them accustomed. Or have them do some Internet research

        1. It's going to be a lot easier now to introduce healthier eating habits than later when somebody finds out their cholesterol level is too high. I feel bad for a niece who grew up with poor diet habits (both parents extremely overweight) and not enough exercise.

          It's going to take time to wean everyone off current favorites but it can happen. I like Cooking Light magazine. Perhaps involve family members in choosing a new recipe to try. We have one granddaughter who seems genetically programmed not to like anything except junk food. Right now, she's skinny. Take advantage of seasonal produce and buy local, go to a PYO farm, learn more about Eat Local.

          Unfortunately, their taste buds are used to those flavors. Give it time and I hope your significant other supports this and is helping out.

          1. Try some taste tests. I find that people often don't even know what the taste of real food is. Making mac-cheese is fairly easy so finding something that fits tastes and is less processed can be fun. Can't promise it will save calories, but it is mac-cheese.

            Leave some good food magazines - Clean Eating, Cooking Light, etc. - around and plan a meal to be prepared and eaten. Eyes often affect the taste of the meal.

            Sub in unprocessed foods occasionally without another processed option. Convenience foods are consumed and preferred often because they're convenient.

            Find something in the ingredient list of process foods that would turn others off and use it against that food. For example, when someone asks for cheese, give them a slurry made from the mac-cheese box and tell them you thought that was the preferred "cheese" of the house. Or have more fun and ask them to find out exactly what's in the box. Don't let them stop at giving the list, make them find out what it is in particular. People are often shocked to find that MSG has an endless amount of names that appear on ingredients lists. Food makers have learned that people won't buy MSG so they call it something else like glutamate/hydrolyzed are core MSG products. Go even further by challenging them to try to recreate the product at home - it's not possible because many ingredients aren't available to the public. Then you can ask if it's not available, is it any different than non-available commercial products that probably shouldn't be used/consumed at home.

            It's an every day effort to eat healthy, but it's worth it.

            Many medical professionals believe a majority of our lifelong and every day ailments are either caused by or complicated by our poor diet choices and histories. We can change that.