The 8 Healthiest Ultra-Processed Foods

In recent years, "ultra-processed" has tarnished several foods. You may associate this term with "avoid at all costs." Research has demonstrated that ultra-processed foods, which have additional preservatives, sugars, tastes, and colors, have several negative health effects.

Bread: healthy or not? If ultra-processed food lists are to be believed, store-bought bread may be unhealthy due to additives, preservatives, emulsifiers, and more. Bread is still one of the healthiest foods when cooked with full grains. 

1. Bread

Canned goods have long been stigmatized. People complain that creamy chowders and bisques are overly salty and heavy in saturated fat. Shame on the canned soup blame game. Not all cans are ultra-processed or nutritious.

2. Canned Soups

Granola bars are healthy when made with nutritious grains like oats and little sugars. Check the nutrition facts label for added sugars—7 grams or less per bar is ideal—and the ingredient list for details.

3. Granola Bars

Sugary drinks like canned cocktails are ultra-processed. When craving a sweet, fizzy drink, you can choose one with less sugar and no alcohol. Many canned mocktails are healthier than neon-colored wine coolers or hard lemonades, even though they may contain sugars, coloring, or preservatives.

4. Mocktails

Some ultra-processed breakfast cereals have high sugar and preservative content, but others start your day well. They can provide a lot of fiber, protein, and minerals. Nature's Path Multibran Flakes are a healthy packed breakfast cereal. It offers 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of added sugar.

5. Breakfast Cereal

Many frozen meals are ultra-processed due to their high sodium and preservative levels. Not all frozen meals are unhealthy. Some manufacturers purposefully use less preservatives and ingredients.

6. Frozen Meals

Flavored jerkies are ultra-processed when laden with salt and sugar. Dried beef is a high-protein, nutritious snack. Look for companies with minimal ingredients for less processed jerky. Try a salmon one! Alaska Smokehouse makes all-natural salmon jerky with heart-healthy omega-3 fats.

7. Jerky

One of the healthiest foods is oats. Preparation is key to reaping their benefits. Choose a high-fiber, high-protein oatmeal over one with sugar and preservatives. What are the best brands? See the greatest and worst grocery store-packaged oatmeals.

8. Packaged Oatmeal

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