5 Overly-Processed Foods

If you're looking to clean up your diet, start by eliminating processed foods such as packaged pastries and fake whipped cream.
doughnuts in box

91489287

Doughtnuts

Photo by: Lai Leng Yiap

Lai Leng Yiap

Did you clean your kitchen out after reading our list of the scariest processed foods a few months ago? Here are 5 more overly-processed foods that you might want to toss if you're looking to clean up your diet.

Flavored Rice & Pastas

Check out the sodium on those seasoning packets -- you could be downing 35 to 45 percent of your daily recommended dose in 1 cup. Plus you'll get an laundry list of additives and preservatives (and they're not even made with real cheese!)—it's just so easy to make your own.

Healthier Alternative: 5-Ingredient Spicy Cheesy Rice
Processed Pastries

Boxed cakes, cookies and doughnuts might bring up those feel-good childhood memories, but they're just a high-fat, nutrient-empty junk food. Some boxed doughnut varieties can have as much as 65% of your daily recommended dose of artery-clogging fat for just one! You'll also find trans fats in some varieties, such as cakes made with shortening-based frosting and cream-filled cookies.

Healthier Alternative: Marbled Banana Bread
Fake Whipped Cream

Hydrogenated fat, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors can all be found in the ingredient list of this faux food.

Healthier Alternative: Homemade Whipped Cream
Sugar-Free Goodies

Many treats now tout themselves as being sugar-free such as granola, ice cream and cookies. Although the sugar content may be lower, the artificial sweeteners used instead are just that – artificial and highly processed. In addition, they're also several hundred times sweeter than sugar. Some research also suggests that munching on loads of these artificially-sweetened foods may program your brain to crave the sweet stuff more often.

Healthier Alternative: Choose foods made with natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and agave. A little goes a long way.

Kids Drinks

The recipe for these drinks: sugar + water + artificial colors. Although they may be the cheaper brand on the shelf or perhaps you got some on sale, they provide your kids with zero nutrients to help them grow and develop.

Healthier Alternative: Choose juices made with 100% juice. Check out my juice box taste test to see which boxed juice rated highest.

Tell Us: What processed food are you suspicious of?

Next Up

5 Frozen Foods to Stock (and 5 to Skip)

Your freezer was created to preserve food for longer periods of time. But filling it with junk can sabotage any healthy eating plan. I’ll tell you which items to stock up on and which can lead to a bulging waistline.

5 Foods To Always Have In Your Fridge

A fridge filled with health-promoting ingredients is an amazing thing. Next time you stand there scanning the shelves, make sure these foods are within reach.

5 Best Instant Ramens, According to Food Network Staffers

Here’s what Food Network staffers reach for when they’re pressed for time, or craving a late night snack.

5 Creative Ways to Reuse Food Scraps This Earth Day

Here's how to recycle all those leftover crusts, stems and peels.

5 Food Safety Rules for Eating Outside During the Summer

Warmer months means spending more time outdoors. Here's what to know when you bring your meal outside.

5 Unexpected Foods That Are Even Better on the Grill

Hear from Food Network's Master of 'Cue, Rashad Jones, about how to elevate everyday ingredients with a quick turn on the grill.

These Are 5 Super-Satisfying Breakfast Foods to Keep You Fuller, Longer

It’s no secret that breakfast is important. Last until lunch by eating more of these five satiating breakfast foods.

5 Homemade Noodle Making Tips from Jason Wang of Xi’an Famous Foods

Keep these in mind for a successful, and so worth it, batch of biang-biang noodles.

Drew Barrymore's Got an Etsy Gift Guide — and Her Best Picks for Food Lovers Start at Just $5

Because who wouldn't want inspiration from the gift-giving superstar herself?