Processed foods were basically made for the crazy-busy working professional—and their convenience has certainly stood the test of time. But to the chagrin of busy working women everywhere, the added sugars, refined carbs, and unhealthy preservatives typically associated with these foods have since been outed as dietary saboteurs. Fortunately for those of us who can't realistically cut out processed foods altogether, whether because of financial constraints, time management issues, or both, there are a few processed foods nutritionists give a pass to. Below, read up on the three "unhealthy" foods health professionals actually eat, as originally told to Eat This, Not That:
"I said veggie burgers—not entire frozen meals or TV dinners!" clarifies Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities, of her choice. She recommends scanning nutrition labels carefully and avoiding the brands that list textured vegetable protein, or TVP, as the first ingredient. "Now, there are awesome brands that have made veggies and legumes the first ingredient on the list, indicating they are primarily made up of real food. Read the labels and avoid ones with modified corn starch or artificial colors or flavors."
"Peanut butter is an excellent source of fiber and healthy unsaturated plant-based fats," says Rebecca Lewis, registered dietitian for HelloFresh. "But make sure to eat in moderation as one tablespoon has seven grams of fat and 63 calories." Again, be sure to read the nutrition label carefully and avoid brands that use added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils. We swear by Justin's Peanut Butter at MyDomaine HQ!
Canned Beans + Chickpeas
Dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade swears by canned beans as a "great source of ready-to-eat protein." They significantly cut down prep time when cooking dried beans from scratch simply isn't an option. "Packed full of soluble fiber, iron, and resistant starch makes it a great low-fat, affordable, plant-based protein source," she explains. Remember to always opt for the low-sodium variety.
Head over to Eat This, Not That for more healthy processed foods, and share your picks with us below!