Time and again nutritionists/dietitians recommend against processed foods and frozen meals, but in vain. Such recommendations are authentic and must be adhered to. Processed foods are higher in everything − sugar, fat, sodium and calories − except nutrients yet they are the foremost choices for most individuals as they minimize effort, time and cooking skill needed to prepare a meal. Some processed foods are minimally processed while some others are greatly processed. Find the different foods that belong to the different categories at the website www.firsteatright.com.
Despite repeated propaganda of the disadvantages of packaged foods, what lures customers to this section of the supermarket? A study specifically done for this purpose throws light on this issue:
The study revealed that although 57% of the parents responded that they purchased frozen foods from outside as it saves ample time, the results are more complex. When a psychosocial survey was used to narrow down the main reason for buying frozen foods, almost 49% of the parents reported their interest in buying ready-to-eat foods as their families enjoyed eating the meal, one third preferred to buy them as their children could help in the meal preparation and more than one quarter (27%) felt comfortable with the cost saving benefits of processed foods.
Prepackaged processed foods are the best buys for working parents who spend most of their time at office and prefer spending minimal time on food preparation.
The main concern with packaged foods is that, such food consumption is linked with decreased fruits and vegetables intake, increased availability of not-so-healthy foods and lower cooking self-efficacy and meal-planning skills.
One good thing in this study is that, if cooking self-efficiency and meal planning is the concern of parents, improving these skills is in our hands and this can be achieved with proper effort from our end. Parents must never forget the fact that they might purchase prepackaged, processed foods due to their lack of confidence to cook, but such foods are the least nutritious options.