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what is a whole food

What is a “Whole Food” & Why Choose Whole Ingredients?

Importance of Whole Food Ingredients

The types of foods we consistently consume have a tremendous effect on our health, including skin, heart, and digestion. Eating meals made with whole food ingredients provides our bodies with necessary fuel, helps prevent illness, and supports a healthy weight. Learning to read packaging labels and choose whole foods when shopping is easier than you may think, and it comes with a variety of benefits.

Whole Ingredients vs. Processed Ingredients

The terms “whole foods” or “whole ingredients” typically refer to items that are in, or very close to, their natural state. Fruits and vegetables are a great example of whole foods.

“Processed foods” are those that have been modified by additional ingredients for preservation or to enhance flavor. This does not necessarily include canned or frozen items, as those techniques can be applied in a healthy way. However, it is extremely important to check the labels on your food before purchasing.

One easy to identify example is sour cream. Most regular sour cream containers at the grocery store contain three ingredients: cultured pasteurized grade A cream, milk, and enzymes. When you compare this with “low-fat” sour cream of the same brand, several more ingredients are added. The “non-fat” version has even more than that.

In other words, while cutting calories can contribute to weight loss, there are other factors to consider when it comes to eating a healthy diet. Knowing exactly what you are putting into your body is a great place to start.

Benefits of Whole Food Ingredients

When you make the change to eating whole food ingredients as often as possible, you will notice an abundance of benefits, including those mentioned below.

  • You will consume more essential vitamins and nutrients.
  • You will dramatically reduce the amount of sugar you eat (and drink).
  • You will support sustainable agriculture and help the environment.
  • You will consume more fiber, which means better digestion, improved metabolism, and feeling full faster.
  • Your heart will not have to work as hard and you’ll be less likely to have heart disease.
  • It will be easier to maintain a healthy blood-sugar level.
  • You will have stronger and healthier looking skin and teeth.
  • Your wallet and waistline will thank you. (Healthy food does not actually cost more in the long run, despite popular opinion. You have to eat a lot of carrots to get the same calories as a candy bar, plus you will feel full faster when you eat veggies instead of sugar.)
  • Healthy fats improve cognitive function and mental health.
  • You will be less likely to get sick or develop a negative health condition.

Whole Food Ideas & Tips

A great way to stop relying on the convenience of processed foods is to plan ahead. For example, at the beginning of the week, spend an hour or two cutting up fresh fruits and vegetables to snack on throughout the week. Make a meal plan and stick to it. Read labels and choose items with whole food ingredients.

  • Meat, seafood, poultry
  • Minimally processed dairy products (ex. Cheese that is pre-sliced is usually heavily processed; try getting a block of cheese and slicing it yourself.)
  • Fruits & Veggies
  • Nuts, seeds, beans
  • Brown rice, quinoa, barley
  • Organic food bar

Kate’s Real Food

Check out Kate’s Real Food for delicious snacks using whole food ingredients. You’ll love our organic food bars and other tasty treats.