15 Processed Foods These Dietitians Actually Want You to Eat
If you've ever tried to eat healthier, then you've probably heard that you should eat whole, real foods as much as possible. Think fresh produce, lean meats, unsalted nuts, etc. Processed or packaged foods get a bad rap. After all, when you think of packaged food, you probably think of all the junk food that's full of empty calories and added sugars: chips, cookies, pretzels, and candy.
But what if we told you that processed food can actually be healthy? In fact, the term "processed" just means any food that has been mechanically altered from its natural state in any way: cutting, chopping, pasteurizing, cooking, canning, freezing, etc., according to the USDA. And while foods range on a scale from minimally processed, such as bagged spinach and cut vegetables, to heavily processed, such as crackers and frozen premade meals, you can still eat healthy on the spectrum of processed foods.
Here, these registered dietitians tell POPSUGAR their favorite picks for healthy processed food. If you can't eat whole, natural foods all the time (and really, who can?), don't beat yourself up — reach for one of these picks instead. Stay on track with your healthy eating goals with these packaged options!