It seems like processed and ultra-processed foods have been in the news a lot lately.
While some people get mired in conversations about what foods should be considered processed (canned beans? whole grain bread?), you can’t go wrong by promoting a plant-based eating pattern that’s centered on vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and fruits.
We have some great ways to get your students, clients, or employees off the processed food track and on the road to a plant-based eating pattern.
1. One of our newest posters uses pictures to encourage nutrient-dense foods over ultra-processed ones:
Americans are eating more ultra-processed foods than ever. That’s not a good thing, considering the link between highly processed foods and chronic disease, obesity, and cancer.
Highly processed foods account for two-thirds of the calories consumed by American youths aged 2-19. (NIH)
Ultra-processed foods account for 57 percent of total calories consumed by American adults. (AJCN)
We have a new poster that addresses this issue head on: Nutrient-Dense vs. Ultra-Processed Food poster. This beautiful poster uses photographs of real food to encourage people to eat more whole foods and minimally processed foods that are nutrient-dense instead of ultra-processed foods.
You can include the idea of nutrient-dense versus ultra-processed foods when you teach about most nutrition education topics. For example:
MyPlate: Emphasize less processed foods for each food group.
Supermarket tours and shopping tips: Explain where in the grocery store you’re most likely to find less processed foods and which aisles are danger zones for ultra-processed foods.
Healthy beverages: We automatically think of sugary sodas, but diet soda is also ultra-processed.
Plant-based eating: Point out that some plant-based foods are highly processed.
Medical nutrition therapy: Help your clients find alternatives to any ultra-processed foods they regularly eat.