Many people are realizing that the standard American diet of processed food is extremely unhealthy and they are trying to change. More and more people are moving towards eating a diet that is free of processed foods. A vegetarian whole foods diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables with sensible amounts of whole grains and healthy fats. It emphasizes eliminating processed foods and eating food in its natural state. While this is an extremely healthy diet, many people who try it find that there are a few specific foods that they have difficulty eliminating. If you have foods that you just cannot eliminate, here are some healthy alternatives for common processed foods.
Soda has become one of the most common beverages in the United States. Unfortunately, it is probably the unhealthiest. Commercial sodas are loaded with sugar and other chemicals making them a processed cocktail of empty calories. And yet, many people drink 20 ounces or more of soda each day. If you are working on eliminating soda from your diet, there are some substitutions that can help. If it is the bubbles that you like, try mixing seltzer water with 100% fruit juice. Work with the ratios until you get something that tastes right without being too sweet. If it is the caffeine that you need, try brewing tea instead. If you brew your own tea from teabags you can make it as strong as you like and control the amount of sweetener that you add. If absolutely nothing else will do there are some options for natural sodas that use less sugar and more natural ingredients than the well-known brands. Any of these options are healthier than soda and can help you to kick that habit.
Many people love the salty crispiness of potato chips. However, these are generally a bastion of salt and unhealthy fats. If they are what you really want, try making them yourself. Slice potatoes thinly and bake in the oven or sauté in olive oil until they are crispy. For added nutrition use sweet potatoes instead of russets. As another alternative, you can find tortilla chips that are all natural and eat them with homemade salsa or guacamole. This will satisfy your need for a snack without all of the fat and calories of potato chips.
If it is meat that you are craving, then that will take a bit more creativity. Processed soy is not generally considered a whole food, so you may want to avoid soy burgers. However, there are veggie burger patties that are made with beans and rice. Alternatively you could find a recipe and make your own veggie burgers. If what you are craving is protein, then some cooked beans or a handful of nuts on a salad may satisfy you.
Overall, the trick is to be creative in finding substitutions for your favorite snack foods. It is best to focus on what you can eat instead of what you can't eat. This will keep you from getting discouraged as you adjust to this change in your life. Remember that there are many healthy vegetarian options out there for those who are committed to sticking with this amazing diet.