What are whole foods?

Posted: March 30, 2013 in What is ... ?
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"Vegetables At Market" by kratuanoiy via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo Credit: kratuanoiy via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Shelly Najjar

Whole foods are those with little or no additives and processing. Food processing on its own is neutral, neither good nor bad; processing simply means to change the nature of the food (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics [AND]). For example, canning is a form of processing that is usually considered not so good because many canned foods are high in sodium, but frozen foods like vegetables can be as good as the fresh versions because they are preserved in the peak state (read more).

It is important to know that there is no law regulating the definition or use of the term “whole food,” but there is generally agreement that “By most definitions, whole foods include fresh produce, dairy, whole grains, meat and fish” (AND). Nuts and seeds are also usually considered whole foods.

Whole foods may take more preparation before they are ready to be cooked, but the results are often worth the effort. There are also many recipes featuring whole foods that are just as quick as cooking with processed ingredients.

One way to cut cooking time is to use a pressure cooker. In 2011, Diabetes Self-Management ran a great article on whole foods and pressure cookers (read it here). The article featured basic cooking and safety tips for using pressure cookers, along with some recipes to try.

Here are other places that offer free recipes using whole foods:

You may also be interested in these articles…

Shelly Najjar, MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and editor of Nutrition Nuts and Bolts. You can find her on Twitter (@ShellyNajjar), LinkedIn, and at shellynajjar.com

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Comments
  1. […] This term has slightly different meaning depending on the organization, but the basic meaning is a whole food (not pill or supplement) that has some benefit beyond basic nutrition required for survival. (A […]

  2. […] This term has slightly different meaning depending on the organization, but the basic meaning is a whole food (not pill or supplement) that has some benefit beyond basic nutrition required for survival. A […]

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