I am Dt. Pujah Kundaar, Dietitian/Nutritionist. I have completed my graduation in homeopathy with masters in alternative medicines and masters in diabetic foods services management. I am a certified child nutritionist. And did diploma in yoga teachers training. Today we will be talking about package food and its effect. We live in a day and age where time is a precious commodity. We always have very less time for ourselves. In this little time, if we cook from scratch, it sounds really difficult. In the end, we are picking up packaged food because that helps us in saving time. Well, that comes at the cost. Before we understand the demerits of the packaged food, let's understand, what are the types of packaged food. For your understanding and easier understanding. I have categorized packaged food in 3 different categories depending on the level of the processing.
The first category is minimally processed food. Also called as preassembled food. The 2nd category is semi-processed packaged food. And the 3rd is completely packaged processed food. Let's start with the first one. Minimally processed food. Why are we calling it a preassembled category? I am sure you see cut fruits and vegetables in the market which is so easily available. Now you must be thinking, let's pick it up because that is the easier way. But what is the harm in taking that? Well, that depends on what nutrient are you looking at. If you are looking to enhance the vitamin content of your food like vitamin B & C are more unstable compared to the fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin-A, D, E, and K. In water-soluble foods, vitamin-C rich food are exposed and when exposed to air temperature and atmosphere, they get destroyed on the exposure in these days. So, it is better to get the citrus fruits which are vitamin-C rich food and eat them fresh and whole. Rather having them in the cut form. If you are looking for vitamin-B6 & B12, they are destroyed on exposure to light. So, if you are looking for buying cut meat, it is better to target is to get a lot of vitamin B12 to enhance it via food. It is better to have fresh meat rather cut meat. Now coming to a 2nd category is semi-processed packaged food. Which are these foods?
Little bit processing is done in this food. All you need to do is just get them, cook them and eat them. Eg. instant soup mixes, cake mixes, breakfast options like poha, upma, idly, dosa. Are these bad things? Now I don't have time to make all of these from scratch. I should be able to consume it. I am cooking it so, technically it is fresh. That is not the way it goes. But there is the silver line into it. You can make these foods more nutritious. But how? In instant soup, you can mix freshly cut vegetables, add it in the soup and it is nutritious. If you want to prepare a cake then make it a carrot cake or a pineapple cake. So, you are getting nutrients and you are also not comprising with the same. 3rd is completely processed food. The nutritive content is very low or NIL. There might be some food which is fortified with vitamins but most of the time this is not the case. The completely processed food is highly addictive which you might end up eating them more. That might also cause a lot of health concerns. But sometimes it may happen that you have no option but to go for these. So, how can you make it more healthy?
The examples for these processed foods are bread, chips, biscuits. These are completely processed. Always choose whole wheat bread or multigrain bread and make it healthy by putting vegetables. You can have it with an omelet or make it a vegetable sandwich. You can also have it with peanut butter. This will prevent you from overeating. Instead of having chips, you can have a bowl of salads. Add little bit crunch to the salad of chips. Choices are in your hand. You can have healthy food. Even processed food can be made healthy. So, be smart. Make a great choice and eat healthily.