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Processing the Processed

Almost three weeks into 2017, let’s check how our new year’s resolutions are coming along.

We’ve dodged the temptation of the Saturday night takeaway twice, we’ve learned what to do with kale, and the house has been transformed into a chocolate-free zone (mainly because all the Christmas goodies have already been scoffed by our less health-conscious 2016 selves). Even though we may have not been quite as disciplined as we may have promised ourselves on New Year’s Eve, we’re definitely trying.

Check out this list of how processed foods can affect our minds and bodies, just to help keep you motivated in 2017.

 

The Sugar Crash

Processed foods, high in fat and sugar, are quickly digested by the body and stored as energy. Because of the refined nature of processed ingredients, this little sugar boost is often temporary and followed by an imminent crash once our metabolisms have burnt all the food’s potential energy. These ‘crashes’ make us feel sluggish, unfocused and have us reaching for another sugar snack to restore our lowered energy levels.

CRUSH

The Solution = Trying healthier foods with slow-releasing energy properties, such as eggs, porridge or sweet potato, will help you keep invigorated throughout the day and keep the sugar cravings at bay.

Food, Not-so-glorious Mood

Artificial ingredients in processed foods can wreak havoc with our gut flora, destroying the microbes we need for good mental health. Over time, foods high in sugar can produce negative chemical reactions in the body and affect optimal brain function; often leading to depression and mood swings.

DEPRESSION

The Answer = Foods high in calcium such as yoghurt and almonds, or in Omega 3 such as salmon and spinach, have been scientifically proven to help boost your mood.

Skin Problems

When the sugar in our food responds to fats exposed to high temperatures, like the ones used for processed food preparation, a reaction called ‘exogenous glycation’ occurs. Glycation begins a sequence of reactions that eventually form advanced glycation end-products, aka proteins that can eventually cause collagen breakdown and fine skin lines. Washing-Face-Gif

The Answer = The powerful antioxidants in fruit and vegetables help fight against wrinkle-inducing cellular damage. Foods high in vitamin C: blueberries, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, also produce collagen to keep your skin radiant and blemish-free. 

Luckily many of us have a choice when it comes to our food, and for the most part we can avoid the processed food pitfalls. Sadly, many have no option but to consume cheap and processed meals because a healthier choice is an unaffordable alternative. Here at Can Cook we pride ourselves on providing fresher and more nutritious meals for those living with food poverty.

Battle of the Breakfast

chia seed toast for breakfast blog

So your 9:30 meeting has been pushed forward, the boiler’s broke again and the kids are finishing last night’s homework instead of getting dressed for school. Most mornings can be stressful enough as it is, and all the confusing messages about what’s best to give your family for breakfast only makes matters worse. Here’s our top 5 tips to keeping breakfasts healthy, easy, enjoyable and one less thing to worry about in the early hours.

  1. Keep it Simple: Okay, so the homemade cinnamon-pumpkin pancakes topped with unsweetened coconut that you saw on Instagram last night did look delicious (and nutritious), and if you didn’t have a thousand other things to be doing in the morning you’d probably whip them up, but who really has the time? Keeping breakfasts simple saves time and can be just as tasty.
  2. Know Your Audience: The kids aren’t always going to enjoy every nutritional breakfast you suggest, and to be honest neither are you. And that’s okay. Instead of engaging in the morning battle of child vs food, be open to experiment until you find something the family will genuinely appreciate. With recent studies showing that children consume over half their daily sugar allowance before school, it’s best to provide healthy alternatives that the kids can get actually excited about
  3. A Family Affair: The thought of having to prepare several different breakfasts in the morning to satisfy everyone’s tiny taste buds can have you reaching for the all-appeasing sugary cereal box quicker than you can say coco pops. Having a few recipes that all the family can enjoy means the only thing you’ll have to manage in the morning is the portion sizes.
  4.  It’s All in the Prep: Most tasks are hard to face before your morning coffee; choosing a healthy breakfast for the family is definitely one of them. Preparing breakfast the night before can be a lifesaver the next day and reduces the risk of settling for a sugary no-fuss option.
  5. Progress Not Perfection: It’s okay to give the kids their favourite sugary cereal as a treat every once in a while, or on one of those hectic mornings when thinking about a healthy breakfast is the last thing on your mind. No one is perfect 100% of the time, and as long as it doesn’t become a daily habit, don’t sweat about surrendering to the frosties every now and again. We won’t tell if you won’t.

Check out some of our favourite breakfast recipes on the links below:

Three-grain porridge

Gingery Berry and Oat Smoothie

French Toast Soldiers

Sweet Potato Toast