Like a pro: Fresh food vs. processed food

Health: 1:0 for fresh

The ingredients used in ready meals like frozen pizza have been heated, pressed, dyed and preserved in multitude of processing stages. This when they lose their natural and healthy nutrients. Then, vitamins, enzymes, minerals and trace elements are often added again artifi cially, but the net result actually means more additives.

Calories: 2:0 for fresh

Fat is a great way of adding flavour which is why it’s so often used in processed foods. As well as that, most ready meals contain loads of salt and sugar. An exception though are most organic products, which are less heavily processed. On the other hand, with fresh foods you can work out for yourself how much sugar or fat you add.

Time consumption: 1 point for processed 2:1

The more complicated the meal, the more processed scores. Simple pasta meals are homemade pretty quickly, but a meat dish with all the trimmings takes a lot longer. But here’s a tip. If you pre-cook large portions, refrigerate some for the next day or freeze for whenever and you’ll always have a delicious meal on the table. With frozen products like fish, spinach or pre-cut vegetables, you’ll have something healthy which you can always make quickly.

Price: 3:2 for fresh

Think of it like this. For a family of four, you can cook a relatively inexpensive meal using fresh, healthy and delicious food. In contrast, four ready meals are usually going to be more expensive. For singles who don’t always want to buy all the ingredients for an elaborate meal and don’t want to pre-cook for the next day, ready meals are not necessarily more expensive than self-cooked fresh. So that means both fresh and processed get a point each.

Taste: 4:2 for fresh

It’s difficult to top a self-cooked meal using fresh ingredients and home grown herbs. Each ingredient tastes the way they should and can be refined or adjusted according to your own taste. In contrast, ready prepared foods like instant soups, often don’t come close to tasting natural. They contain artificial aromas, dyes, taste enhancers and much more. They can also taste a little over-spiced, which isn’t ideal for children’s tastes, as they can so quickly get used to it. Even adults who eat a lot of ready prepared foods often mistake the artificial taste for real. But fortunately we can always get used to the real taste of fresh food again.

Feeling: 5:2 for fresh

Cooking yourself can be relaxing and very social activity. And it’s fun. Choosing and preparing your choice of ingredients, slicing and dicing the vegetables together, the aroma of your steaks under the grill, the tasting, refining, tasting again, and finally, sitting down and enjoying not just the taste of a magnificent meal created with your own hands, is a feeling that simply can’t be matched by a ready meal.

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