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For those of you trying to switch to non processed foods....

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Like many of you, I am trying to switch to more "real" food and avoid the overly processed ones.  For the most part, I am pretty healthy.  Unfortunatly, I will pop a lean cuisene or smart ones in the micro at work.  Its easy and helps me control my portions.  Does anyone know of any frozen meals that are too bad for you?

More importantly (and this maybe a stupid question) what do you guys that are on non processed food diets eat for cheese and ice cream?  (They are both processed - right?)  I can't cut them completely out of my life.   Also, what kind of Greek yogurt to you like?  I heard its good for you, but I've never tried it.  Always been a yoplait gal!  Thanks for your help!

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I can't answer the rest, but I love Fage greek yogurt with a little wildflower honey. And please, DON'T expect your greek yogurt to taste like yoplait! Its thicker and its got a tang.

Frozen meals are OK in an emergency but I don't think they make a good dietary staple if you're going for a 'clean' diet.   Even the healthier ones are far from fresh and tend to use too much salt.  If I'm cooking a dish like Chilli Con Carne in the evening I'll save a portion for lunch the next day to heat up at work.... that's not a bad compromise.

Some basic foods you can't really avoid being processed.  Bread, pasta, cheese, ... unless you're going to roll up your sleeves and start milling your own flour there has to be degree of common sense!!!  The definition I work with is Michael Pollan's from his book 'In Defense of Food'.... i.e. if something has more than five ingredients then it's more likely to be a 'food-like-substance' rather than a food.

So cheese.... milk, rennet, salt... three basic ingredients so that gets a tick as a real food.  Ice-cream.... look for a high quality product that's made with cream, sugar and flavoured with fruit, chocolate, vanilla etc.   Avoid the crapola that's made with a million different ingredients, none of them of bovine origin!  You'll pay more but it's worth it.   Yoghurt... go with anything organic and preferably not 'fat-free' because that tends to make it a little thinner and more acidic.


I agree with the fact that you shouldn't expect greek yogurt to taste like yoplait at all.  Think of a thicker, more sour version of sour cream.

To truly eat healthier you do have to do most of your own cooking...if you're like me and willing to eat healthier as long as you don't have to do too much work, then frozen veggies are a life saver, so is Trader Joe's as many of their frozen meals are significantly less processed.

Consider cooking one day a week and making three or four large meals that you portion out into your own frozen meals.  This is actually cheaper in the long run and far healthier.  A pot of whole grain or brown rice is about as cheap as you can go and makes enough for several meals.  Frozen veggies reheat nicely with most meals or only require light cooking.   You can grill/broil/bake any number of meats for protein sources and add simple spices for different flavors.

Original Post by epfever1:

Does anyone know of any frozen meals that are too bad for you?

More importantly (and this maybe a stupid question) what do you guys that are on non processed food diets eat for cheese and ice cream?  Also, what kind of Greek yogurt to you like? 


 Well there aren't many "clean" frozen foods out there in mainstream markets, but at Whole Foods or another health food store they may sell the Amy's organic brand, which are just about as close to home cooking as you're going to get. ALL the ingredients are familiar and there's NO preservatives, flavors, meat, eggs... nothing to worry about. I reccommend the Black Bean Enchilada Whole Meal, the Chili and Cornbread Meal, and any of the "pockets" and burritos. Kashi's meals are OK in a pinch (they're pretty good taste-wise) but there are some questionable ingredients in there. What's "chicken base" anyway?

I don't consider ALL brands of ice cream and cheese to be "processed" or "unclean". There are certainly ones out there that don't use any artifical ingredients whatsoever; even Haagen Daz is "all natural". They even made non-dairy "ice creams" like the ones from So Delicious. The thing to remember with ice cream is that even though it may be natural, organic, etc. - it's not exactly low-cal, so keep your portion size in mind.

CHEESE. I eat cheese everyday and I'm a strict-as-can-be clean eater. The important thing is to choose the right kind in the right amount. Don't buy "fat-free" chemical loaded cheeses, just stick to the real thing and enjoy in moderation. Whole milk (or maybe 2%) cheese tastes 1,000x better than anything less.

Thank you all so much!  You really gave me an idea of whats ok to eat and whats not.

I love Fage 0%!!!  I add apple butter and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to it with splenda...I could eat it plain. I don't like yoplait...aspartamine, so can't tell you the difference, but it is thick and has 15g protein for 6oz!!

I mostly cook my own food, buy frozen steamable veggies and canned ones occassionally.  If I can get fresh, I do.

I do buy Amy's veggie lasagna and shells for my pasta craves, her burritos are pretty good too(and I am picky!!)  I also buy an occassional Healthy Choice steamer, more processed than I would like but I work 12-14h shifts and don't always have the energy to cook when I get home.

Today, for instance, I grilled a large chicken breast(2 portions) added some brown/wild rice and steamed veggies with soy sauce and boxed it for lunch tomorrow.  The rest of the chicken is poaching right now for a chicken salad with red peppers,celery, pickles and greek yogurt with a little mustard, that I can add to spinach for a salad with fruit or make a sandwich out of later this week.  I try to add veggies and fruit to every meal.  I will eat the other half of the chicken this week for dinner or lunch with a sweet potato and brussell sprouts(frozen).

I also plan to make ratatouli(sp) today with grilled squash(yellow and green), tomatoes, eggplant, red peppers, onions and garlic to serve as a side dish or over WW pasta later this week.

I guess I mix "clean" food with frozen and processed, but try to do more "clean".

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