At least 8 out of 10 products in the supermarket are ultra-processed, which is not good news for our health. As the holidays approach, the question arises: How can we enjoy that delicious festive table in a healthy way?
Food processing is important to make food edible, digestible, nutritious, sustainable, delicious and safe. Consider freezing, cooking, or fermenting food. But when the scales tip toward eating too many highly processed foods, it can be harmful to your health. Angie Quinn, nutritionist at the Nutrition Information Center Nice – good“General dietary recommendations advise choosing as little or unprocessed foods as possible, and limiting highly processed foods,” he says. This usually refers to foods that contain many unrecognizable ingredients, or foods that are nutrient-poor and/or energy-dense. The latter contain a lot of fat, salt or added sugars and provide little or no protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals or other bioactive substances. These are also called “empty calories” because they contribute little or nothing to a healthy diet.
Another surprising property of ultra-processed foods is decreased satiety. This increases the risk of eating too much too quickly, Quinn says. “Research shows that high consumption of highly processed foods is associated with an increased risk of obesity and other non-communicable diseases.”
High consumption of highly processed foods is associated with an increased risk of obesity and other non-communicable diseases.
I wish you a long and beautiful life
But how can you avoid those ultra-processed foods as much as possible when the supermarket is full of them? Chef and Head Nutritionist Michael Sales In the UZA this is called the “obesogenic environment”. That’s why he suggests a positive approach he calls “living long.” “Make healthy eating easier by modifying your environment. Increase the availability of healthy snacks and adjust your portions. You don’t do this by depriving yourself of everything, but by adding twice the amount of vegetables to your meal, for example. That way you won’t have room to eat Lots of ultra-processed meat substitutes.
In honor of the holidays, Sells shares some valuable tips for preparing healthy festive meals without sacrificing taste and enjoyment. “Bring on a plate of oysters instead of the usual snacks of pastries. Try a healthy holiday soup, like Jerusalem artichoke soup or dandelion soup, to add variety to your menu. Instead of starting with a main ingredient like pheasant or wild boar, you can also Start with vegetables and create a festive meal around them.
He explains that there may be unhealthy snacks on your festive table, but providing diverse offerings is important. “I remember a study where one group received only yellow M&Ms, while the other group received M&Ms in all colors. The taste is no different, but people eat more when all colors are in their bowl. Apply this principle to your festive table,” Sells recommends. Where, in addition to roasted cabbage, you can also serve baked beans and chicory, for example.This ensures that guests want to taste everything.
Healthy recipes for the holidays
Sels shares his ultimate tip for a festive snack that’s not only delicious, but healthy, too. “Cauliflower grind with hot Mayonnaise is the perfect crunchy dish for the holidays, and you can make it using an air fryer. This vegan treat proves that vegetables don’t have to be boring.
Also the chef Sophie Dumont Recommended recipe for a healthy festive meal: Salmon Tataki with Soy Sauce and Ginger. “Asian-prepared salmon looks beautiful and tastes very good,” says Dumont. Although she regularly serves this dish as an everyday treat, she stresses that it also fits seamlessly into the holiday menu for those who want a less classic approach. Success guaranteed!
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