6 Reasons to Avoid Ready-Made Meals (Even the “Fresh and Healthy” Ones)
I know that when you come home after a busy, tiring day, it’s so tempting to grab a ready-made meal from the freezer. And with so many healthy options, why wouldn’t you? I’ll tell you why: Because in many cases, even the healthy options have some hidden secrets While these foods are convenient, they are low in nutrients and contain an array of harmful ingredients. Since a poor diet is the main cause of the development of chronic diseases, it’s best to try to avoid frozen products such as TV dinners, pizzas and casseroles. Here is the lowdown on why they are a threat to wellness, along with to how to cook at home when you have little time.
Reasons to Avoid Ready-Made Meals
1. Unhealthy Substitutions
Some companies substitute unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones. For instance, although Mediterranean dishes like pizza and humus are traditionally made with olive oil, ready-made ones are commonly made with canola oil. As olive oil is associated with wellness benefits and canola oil is linked to harmful side effects, this is not a good switch.
2. Hazardous Chemicals
Lurking within these products are hazardous chemicals that increase the risk of serious illness. Meats that have been grilled or roasted at high temperatures contain carcinogens called heterocyclic amines. In addition, chicken nuggets have large quantities of advanced glycation end-products, which raise the likelihood of diabetes and possibly dementia.
3. Lost Nutrients and Vitamins
Much of the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals are lost in the processing. Because the depletion of nutrients results in an unappetizing appearance, synthetically-made vitamins are added. Such components aren’t as beneficial as the ones that are lost. Conversely, when people cook at home, they have control over the cooking process and can prepare food in a way that minimizes nutrient loss.
4. Additives and Preservatives
Fast food lasts longer than fresh because it contains additives that prolong shelf life. These chemicals cause hormone imbalances, cell mutations and alterations in the body’s genetic code. Consequently, they increase the risk of chronic diseases, some of which are life threatening.
5. High Fat Content
Ready-made food is often high in fat. Moreover, the poor quality ingredients don’t satiate hunger like home-cooked food, a problem that results in snacking between meals and weight gain.
6. High Sugar and Salt Content
Convenience foods are packed with sugar and salt to enhance taste. Sugar is responsible for a host of ills, such as accelerating aging and raising the likelihood of diabetes and cancer. High quantities of salt can elevate blood pressure and promote fluid retention, disorders that increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Time Saving Tips for Cooking at Home
Because of time constraints, many people may feel that they have little choice but to eat premade foods. Here are some tips to make cooking at home more feasible.
1. Cook in Big Batches
Cook much more than what you need, and freeze the leftovers. This works well for many dishes, such as soups, casseroles and chili. On Saturdays, when you aren’t as busy, set aside a couple of hours to prepare several meals. If you live alone, you can make your own TV dinners.
Get in the habit of cooking at least twice as much and then repurposing leftovers. For instance, roast two chickens rather than one. You can debone the extra one and freeze it to make chicken tortilla soup or chicken salad later.
2. Invest in a Slow Cooker
Buy a slow cooker and a book of slow-cooking recipes. Get up a little earlier in the morning, and throw some ingredients into the pot to cook while you’re at work. When you get home at the end of the day, you’ll be greeted by the tantalizing aroma of a home-cooked meal.
3. Get Organized
Planning ahead and getting organized will save time. For example, if you’re going to have fish with vegetables tomorrow, put the fish in a marinade and cut up the vegetables tonight.
Something about eating a home-cooked meal nourishes the soul as well as the body. When life gets tense and troubles mount, just sitting down to enjoy tasty, nutritious food will help calm and comfort you. Furthermore, if you cook at home, the family is more likely to gather round the table and eat together, a benefit that fosters conversation and bonding.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.