Hi MealMasters! I am Dr. Monique May, Board-certified Family Physician and Founder of Physician in the Kitchen™. Through my books and cooking classes, I help busy households enjoy healthy eating without impacting their hectic schedules. Today I want to talk about processed and packaged foods. Processed and packaged foods are generally not recommended because during processing all of the healthy nutrients are removed from the food. For example, brown rice has more nutrients and fiber than processed white rice does. But there are exceptions to every rule. Let’s look at three processed foods or packaged foods that you actually should have on hand in your freezer or pantry because they’re actually good for you.
1. Canned tomatoes
First is canned tomatoes, which are full of lycopene, which is an antioxidant.
Antioxidants help protect our bodies from daily insults, such as exposure to sunlight, pollution, and radiation.
Lycopene is good for your heart, can decrease stroke risk, and can decrease the risk of prostate cancer and others. Canned tomatoes actually have higher levels of lycopene than unprocessed ones.
Be sure to read the label for salt or sodium content.
2. Nut butters
Next are nut butters, such as peanut, cashew, and almond. They are full of fiber, nutrients, and vitamins as well.
Avoid those with the added salt and sugar, which tend to be in processed foods.
While they are higher in calories (two tablespoons of any of the nut butters contain 160 to 200 calories) they contain unsaturated fat, which is the “good kind” of fat that lowers your LDL, the cholesterol that increases heart attack risk.
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3. Frozen fruits
Last are frozen fruits. Fruits are full of fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. By freezing them, you prevent