You all know my obsession with clean eating and living on almost no processed food diet. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we ditched a few processed foods and started making them at home. It’s been more than 5 years since we switched to clean eating and now, we love these freshly made homemade versions of processed foods.
What is processed food?
Firstly, let’s understand what is processed food. Most foods undergo some kind of a process. Rice undergoes polishing, wheat too. However, during the process, if the food is changed or something is added to it to preserve it, then it is called a processed food. A simple test to know if a food is processed is to look at the list of ingredients and ask if it’s something you could make at home. For example, aspartame, hydrogenated oil, MSG, etc. Foods like many crackers, cookies and salad dressings contain gums or stabilizers, artificial colors and flavors are added to breakfast cereals, and many condiments contain sodium, preservatives, gums, artificial colors and flavors, etc.During grocery shopping, a general rule of the thumb is to look for foods which contain five ingredients or less which are known to you. #processedfoods #cleaneating Click To Tweet
Is it tedious to prepare homemade versions of processed foods at home?
Well, if we are arguing homemade vs processed food, then yes, it is more time consuming to prepare homemade versions of processed foods at home. Compared to visiting a supermarket and picking up the product from the shelf, here you will need to make the food at home. But, it’s not difficult. These recipes are super easy and you will be saying goodbye to junk food and bad food.
Let’s see these 5 non processed foods that you can easily make at home
People often ask me are homemade wheat cookies considered processed food? No, they are not as you are preparing from scratch and with non-processed ingredients. You can replace refined sugar with cane sugar, honey, grape molasses, etc, use steel cut oats and use whole wheat flour/almond flour instead of refined flour.
Here are a few homemade cookies that I make at home. You can prepare a large batch and they last for 10-15 days. We don’t keep packaged biscuits or cookies at home anymore!
Till a few years ago, I used to hate jams. Somehow, I never appreciated the cake or jelly like texture of store-bought jams. Then I started making my own jams and realized that jams were actually tasty when I make at home. I make Strawberry Jam and Black Grape jam at home. And they are super easy to make. They last for months if properly stored in a sterilized jar in a refrigerator.
Try out homemade peanut butter and you will realize homemade peanut butter tastes far superior to the processed version that you buy. The best part is you can control the amount of oil and salt too, and get a superior tasting healthy snack. I make plain peanut butter and chocolate peanut butter, on special request of my daughter.
Hummus and dips
Hummus is not only a clean eating snack, but also a great healthy party food. All you need are boiled chick peas, roasted sesame seeds, garlic, olive oil and salt. I make yogurt-based dips too for party food. For example, take some hung curd, add crushed garlic, salt and one of your favorite fresh herbs (chives, mint, rosemary, etc.) and serve with homemade bread, lavash or just carrot sticks.
Don’t roll your eyes. Breads can be easily made at home. Just try to remember when was the last time you saw a spoilt bread that you had purchased from the supermarket? Those perfectly sliced rectangular loaves sit on the supermarket shelves for weeks without spoiling. They contain artificial preservatives to stay fresh.
A better option is to buy whole-grain bread from your local bakery, where the only ingredients that go are flour, water, yeast, salt and oil. However, the best thing is to make your own bread. I make sourdough bread too, which uses a natural starter, which means no outside yeas, but a homemade yeast made of only flour and water.
If money and space are not a concern, invest in a bread-maker or knead the bread dough with your own hand. Read this post by my friend and fellow blogger, Kalpana Mannivannan who uses a bread maker to roll out fresh breads for her family.
When we shifted to our new home, my husband and I went to the nearest super mall and stocked our refrigerator with a variety of salad dressings – Thousand Island, Italian dressing, Ranch dressing, and many more. A few years ago, I threw them all out and started preparing my own dressing out of lemon juice-honey-mustard, freshly squeezed orange juice-mustard, hung yogurt-garlic, etc. You can be as creative as you want or can be. My fridge is empty and my salads taste refreshingly fresh!!
Tip to switch to clean eating
In the beginning, it might sound like a lot of effort to make things at home, believe me, it’s not. Take one thing at a time. Ditch one processed food in a month and prepare its homemade version. Once you are comfortable and understand the difference between the taste and texture of homemade vs processed food, it will be easier for you to switch onto other foods.
So, you see making homemade versions of processed foods is not that difficult or time consuming. With a little bit of planning, you can do it. Now, you can ditch these 6 processed foods and make them at home effortlessly.