When it comes to meals, processed food should not be your go-to. If a big chunk of the items on your grocery list are found in the frozen food aisle, involve cans or consist of ramen noodles, it’s most likely time for you to reevaluate your diet.
Sometimes people will say to me in my office, “What do you think about Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers’ frozen foods?” If you read my last post, you know how I feel about Weight Watchers as a company, but let’s take a moment to break down what really happens to frozen food before it goes in our mouths:
The journey your average Frozen “Cuisine”. Frozen foods are made in a factory. They are then flash frozen and shipped from that factory to various locations across the country in a freezer mobile. From that freezer, they are unloaded in bulk and placed into another freezer at the grocery store--one you never see as an average shopper. There they sit for…who knows how long? Then whenever it’s time, the frozen “cuisine” will be moved to the floor for purchase. But first, all the older frozen meals are pushed forward. While the newer ones are pushed back. Who knows how long they sit in that freezer with hundreds of other products until you come along and buy them? You take them out of that freezer, put them into your cart then bag. Now we are on our way home (which may be a sauna depending on the time of year), and then you take that bag home. From there, the frozen food goes into your freezer and waits for you to either whip it out and microwave it at home or take it to work and eat it there (back in the car, then in the freezer, then in the microwave).
Quite a journey for our frozen cuisines. I personally do not want to eat anything that travels more than I do :)
Next blog, I will tell you how I really feel about processed meats and the big news a few months ago when the World Health Organization changed its tune on processed meats like bacon and sausage and finally labeled them carcinogens. In the meantime, however, here’s what I suggest:
Habit, not rarity, is the issue. Use frozen food as plan B. Instead of having a big portion of your grocery list devoted to the frozen food aisle, chop it down to two or three items (resist those buy 10 for $10 deals!). Sure, we all have days when we are not feeling well or are unusually tired and don’t feel like cooking. That is why frozen foods should be your plan B and not a regular part of your healthy eating plan.
Photo of food collage courtesy of Ambro/ freedigitalphotos.net. Photo of me taken at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Hope & Main, Rhode Island's first kitchen incubator, of which I'm a BIG supporter. Learn more at makefoodyourbusiness.org.