12 responses to “In Praise of Processed Foods”

  1. Chris @nestlefoodie

    Very nice post. Agree with all you said! 🙂

  2. debbie koenig

    Thanks, Chris! But since you work for Nestle you may have an ulterior motive 😉

  3. NoPotCooking

    These are really, really great tips. I can never remember how much sodium is too much and I didn't realize those alternate fibers might not be healthy. Thanks!

  4. Kim

    Phenomenal post, Debbie. Right on! I told my readers to come see you today–http://playingwithmydinner.com/2011/02/25/super-fast-friday-in-defense-of-some-processed-foods/

    Thanks!

    Kim

  5. sarah henry

    Glad you put the processed foods phenom in perspective. I try to subscribe to that Marion Nestle rule: if there's more than five ingredients or ingredients you can't identify then don't buy it. As you point out, when it comes to processed food products, less is more.

  6. Liz Anderson

    Amen, sister! I think one of the near-inevitable realities of living in a two-working-parent, two-small-kids home (without disposable income for a personal chef/nutritionist, but I can dream…) is processed foods. But lumping them all together in the Evil Basket has never felt right to me, and I've tended to follow a route similar to yours when shopping. Once in a while, something untoward finds its way into my shopping cart, but, hey, I can live with once in a while.

  7. debbie koenig

    @NoPotCooking, the added fiber thing just makes me uncomfortable–whether or not it's "real" fiber, it's so highly processed it just *can't* be good, kwim?

    @Kim, thanks! I love your blog!

    @Sarah, yes, I'm with you on the Marion Nestle love.

    @Liz, I love that you call it "something untoward." So beautifully discreet.

  8. Linda

    Great tips! also watch the serving size (e.g. 300 grams sodium in One Tsp is NOT a great thing!) And if you see sugar listed w/in the first 8 ingredients usually it means refined sugar has been added (not naturally occurring sugar like in milk). Keep up the great work! P.s. kim sent me over!

  9. Rita

    I think it's great to encourage "shortcuts" to make more homemade food…it's almost always healthier and cheaper to eat at home. If I had to made homemade spaghetti sauce every time I reached for a jar of sauce, I would throw in the towel everytime and call Papa Johns. 🙂

  10. Jessalyn

    Great perspective. "Processed foods" in current diet debates is perhaps a bit of a misnomer because, like you said, baby carrots are processed (i.e., they're cut up), but I don't think anyone would say they're bad for you. Michael Pollan says something similar in In Defense of Food about avoiding food products whose ingredients you can't pronounce, so the ingredient list is usually the first thing I take a look at.

  11. Ingles Dietitian

    Great post…processed has become such a bad word but if people just kept things in balance .. We sometimes have a frozen pizza on busy nights. It's cheaper than ordering out but we always have w/ a big salad or steamed vegetables….

  12. Coreopsis

    My pantry is stocked with what I consider "basic" processed foods–mostly things that are basically one ingrediant–like pureed or chopped tomatoes, garbanzo beans, or frozen vegetables or fruit. I also have a lot of pasta and "processed" grains like oatmeal and 7 grain cereal. And in the fridge–cheeses.

    But yes, the sodium is the worst, and I really like what Michael Pollan says in Defense of Food–both about not eating things with ingrediants you can't pronounce, but also not eating things that your grandmother wouldn't have recognized as food….

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