Good news! Not all processed foods are bad for you to eat. I had pretzels for an appetizer last night and while they aren't listed on the good or the bad list below, I know they are not the worst but also not the best choice to munch on. Here are the foods to keep and the ones to avoid.

From an article on the Food Network, here is the lowdown:

What is a Processed Food?

The word “processed” has become synonymous with “bad for you,” but that’s not the whole truth. Technically a processed food is a packaged item that has undergone a method of preservation to help increase shelf life. So boxes of cookies and loaves of white bread are processed, but so are canned protein and dairy products.


Sugar:  Be on the lookout for the “white stuff.” It’s lurking (in high quantities) in places you wouldn’t expect, like flavored yogurts, pasta sauces and savory snacks.

Frozen Entrees: Whether they are low-calorie options or not, TV dinners and the like are not a healthy choice. Instead of whole foods, you’ll find lots of preservatives, sodium and fillers.

Commercial Baked Goods: Check the ingredient lists on premade muffins, cakes and cookies — you’ll find a ton of ingredients you can’t pronounce. The homemade version may be more time-consuming, but it will always have the shorter ingredient list.

Condiments: Many bottled sauces pack a double whammy of salt and sugar. Drench your food in these sauces and the calories pile up quickly.


Canned Tuna: Yes, canned foods are processed, but it’s hard to beat this affordable and convenient lean protein.

Milk: To keep milk safe, it is processed by pasteurization, a heat treatment used to kill harmful microorganisms. Don’t skip this important source of nutrients, including protein, calcium and vitamin D.

Cheese: Much like milk, cheese is worth keeping around. It does contain more sodium and fat, so keep portions in check.

Frozen Fruits and Veggies: Freezing is a method of processing, but there’s nothing unhealthy about fruits and veggies that have been packed and chilled at their peak of freshness.

Not necessarily exactly what you were hoping to hear but at least you don’t have to rule out all processed foods. It’s time for me to rework my entire kitchen. Yikes!