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Old 02-16-2013, 09:38 AM
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,639 posts, read 18,116,906 times
Reputation: 6913


It is often argued by food purists that processed food is chemical slush unfit for human consumption. While a lot of processed foods may be worthy of that title, some are actually healthy and have few added ingredients. For example, the ingredient list on Haldiram's Minute Khana-brand Pao Bhaji ($1.99), which does not require refrigeration or freezing, is as follows:

"Tomato, Water, Butter, Potato, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Capiscum, Carrot, Green Peas, Onion, Salt, Lemon Water, Ginger, Garlic, Red Chili Powder, Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder, Mango Powder, Fenugreek Seeds, Mace, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Cardamom"

All NATURAL ingredients!

Just add some rice or bread and you're ready to go.

Even some products that require freezing do not contain a lot in the way of "unpronounceable" ingredients. Here's the list of ingredients that go into DEEP-brand Babu's Pocket Sandwiches ($2.49) Palak Paneer turnover:

"Wheat Flour, Spinach, Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid), Water, Canola Oil, Onions, Paneer (Milk, Part Skim Milk, Vinegar, Salt), Cream, Broccoli, Palm Oil, Spices, Butter, Salt, Garlic, Green Peppers, Milled Cane Sugar, Fenugreek Leaves, Yeast, Turmeric, Sodium Bicarbonate"

In addition to the mostly-natural composition, it's probably the only way to get many people (including me) to eat broccoli, too!

What are some other surprisingly-healthy processed foods you've encountered?
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:11 AM
18,836 posts, read 37,347,105 times
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I eat many products from this line, Tasty Bite: Indian Food, Vegetarian Food - Vegan Food - Kosher Food - Gluten Free Food - MRE all vegetarian or vegan. I think they are pretty good. Sure, I should make fresh Chana Masala, would end up with a huge pot...this is quicker and easier for me.

I also like this, Seeds of Change |
brown rice and quinoa, already prepared.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:22 AM
Location: Prospect, KY
5,284 posts, read 20,043,847 times
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I find Indian food in those prepared packages is often high in fat - or at least higher in fat than I want.

The truth is the product labels are not always accurate. The calories indicated are not always accurate. The conditions that those products are prepared in is unknown. The condition of the foods used in that product is of unknow quality and cleanliness. The people who process those products - you really don't know about them either. How about pesticide levels (the government allows certain levels), how about cockroaches and other bugs residue (the government has a certain level of tolerance in foods for those too).

It is always better to eat fresh, local and organic if possible. I try to eat as few processed foods as possible but sometimes because of time or ingredient limitations, I can't do that but I can make a conscious choices to be the one who prepares my food from scratch as often as possible. I can buy from the farmer down the street that I know uses no pesticides. I can make sure that the environment in which I cook is sparkling clean.

Homemade made from scratch using the freshest whole ingredients is always preferable for us and it is the ideal for which I strive.
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:08 PM
Location: Philaburbia
41,948 posts, read 75,144,160 times
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Like everything else in this world, the differences between processed food vs. "whole" food are not always black and white.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:23 AM
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
77,771 posts, read 104,672,365 times
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Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Like everything else in this world, the differences between processed food vs. "whole" food are not always black and white.
Many foods we think of as fresh or whole can be just as healthy or close to as healthy when preserved..I have read, but am not sure I believe it, frozen veggies are as good or better for you than fresh...

I know when I refer to processed foods, which I do eat often, I am think more, on the lines of pre-packages pizzas, mac and cheese, ready to serve this or that. Though we all depend on these items from time to time, those are the ones we try and stay away from. You are right about the difference between the two type of food. I think some take everything too literly, but I don't think I would ever say, processed foods can be healthy, it is more: porcessed foods really are not that unhealthy, there is a difference.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:28 PM
271 posts, read 600,393 times
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I purchase those ready to eat Indian meals frequently and was surprised that I knew what every ingredient was that was listed. It's not like that with all foods made in the USA. I also like the fact that it is labeled vegetarian, if it is. But yes, some of these are kind of high in fat.

I do believe that frozen veggies can be better for you. Some veggies are grown across the country, between transportation and sitting around in a warehouse time, nutrition can be lost. Frozen vegetables are frozen when picked. Canned veggies I do not like at all, most are mushy and they can be high in sodium.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:39 PM
Location: Boilermaker Territory
26,404 posts, read 46,544,081 times
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This is actually a good topic to discuss.
Lately I have noticed a wide variety of "healthier" frozen food concepts that range from gluten free, organic, etc that have much less in the way of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Should you eat them much at all? No. However, they are a better option than other things you could eat.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:14 PM
Location: In a house
13,250 posts, read 42,766,126 times
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I have no problem with processed foods, I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with including them in your weekly menu - snacks, a quickie-lunch break at work, the occasional TV dinner when watching your weekly favorite show with the kids, etc.

The problem is the OVERprocessed foods, that contain incredibly high amounts of sodium, and are little more than flour, gluten, chemical flavorings, pieces of overcooked carrots (just so they can claim it includes vegetables), slimy slivers of soggy green peppers (look ma, more veggies!), and something vaguely resembling chicken, that was made from some kind of poultry with sodium, preservatives, and water added before they ground it all up and re-shaped it to make it look like a chunk of chicken breast.

That's the stuff that'll kill ya if you make it a regular part of your -daily- diet. Occasional during the week, sure. I indulge in the frozen food section's version of Burger Barf too. But not daily. That's just nasty.
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