What is the definition of Processed Food?

processed Foods

Welcome, I hope you all had a lovely weekend and the weather was kind to you…It is certainly a little colder here at night and in the mornings.

This week and over the next few weeks I will be looking at processed food and exactly what it is… Processed food is any food which has been altered in some way during its preparation. Some examples are freezing, canning, drying and baking…

Not all processed food is unhealthy as we will learn in this post but many do contain high levels of salt, sugar and fats added to extend the shelf life of foods and make it more palatable. It is also very easy to consume far more than the recommended daily levels because many people do not read labels or labels can be misleading and a single item of food can be called by a few different names which can make it quite hard for the consumer…

I have given this game up a long time ago and if I see a long list of ingredients with words I don’t know or understand then I don’t buy it…

As consumers, we cannot control what is in the food we purchase HOWEVER as consumers we can control what we choose to buy…

Something to help read those labels and tell you the sugar, salt and fat content and offer an alternative is the Food Scanner App… Change4Life Food scanner is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.


Examples of processed foods are:

  • Cheese
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Bread
  • Snacks…Crisps, sausage rolls, pies
  • Meat: Bacon, Sausage, ham, salami and pate
  • Convenience ready meals
  • Cakes and Biscuits
  • Drinks, milk or soft drinks
  • Breakfast cereal


Some processes are to make food safe such as pasteurisation which removes harmful bacteria from milk. Although there are many schools of thought on that now..As a child, I always had milk straight from the cows but now that many farmers use hormones etc that may not be as safe…Pasteurised fruit juices I never buy them I juice my own or buy freshly juiced I just don’t like food or drink which has been messed with unnecessarily.

Other processes are to make food suitable for use such as pressing seeds to make oil. Processes to make our food safer or to enable us to eat or use something are fine it is just all the added sugar, salt and fats which get me…It gets people addicted and then it is a vicious circle and much of it is aimed at children which I think is unethical and really wrong…I can’t imagine what diseases our next generation will have because of all these additives…

Cereals… Porridge is good for you especially in the winter months and keeps you full until lunchtime…Shredded wheat seems to be one of the good guys. As for other cereals like those below…I would not feed them to my children.


That being said, here are the worst cereals you can buy, based on their nutritional value and sugar content.
  • Honey Smacks. One of the worst is Kellogg’s Honey Smacks. …Which have been recalled…
  • Trix. …
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch. …
  • Oreo O’s. …
  • Cocoa Krispies …
  • Fruit Loops. …
  • Raisin Bran. …
  • Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles.

Why are they bad for you? Anything that states honey coated, frosted or chocolate coated contains a lot of added sugars and it is the added sugars in products which are harmful…Fruit loops, for example, are sugar-filled processed breakfast cereal aimed at children and which contain

INGREDIENTS: KELLOGG’S FROOT LOOPS (Sugarcorn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour), wheat flourwhole grain oat flour, oat fibre, soluble corn fibre, contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), salt, red 40, natural flavor, ..

To me, they just sound like something which I would not wish my children to eat…Just sugar filled nothing…

Crisps…Generally, crisps are better for you than chips as you can buy them in small packets thus restricting how much you eat… Crisps are high in salt and artificial food flavourings…


This article on crisps and what they contain and the best crisps to buy and eat is quite comprehensive.


There are so many processed foods that I think moderation should apply…

Biscuits…Something that we reach for when we have a cup of tea or just when we pass the biscuit tin but how healthy are they?


I love shortbread and a digestive with my morning cuppa but since realising just how much added sugar and calories 2 biscuits adds up to over the course of the year I have stopped…This link will tell you what your favourite biscuit does or does not contain and maybe like me you will decide that they are just something that you can go without.

Or make your own and then you are safe in the knowledge that they may not be the healthiest things to eat but that they have no nasties and eaten in moderation much better than a store-bought packet.


These biscuits are really easy to make and very moreish..

Coconut Biscuits

I don’t make biscuits very often..almost never but once a packet of food is opened here because of the humidity doesn’t last long it either goes off or the ants take residence. I was guided by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar… aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats.

These cookies are my basic recipe and next time will be my experimental recipe I am already planning what I can add to them.


  • 150 gm rolled oats
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100 gm desiccated coconut
  • 100 gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175 C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to the boil and add two tbsp of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.


Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes. They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could build a wall with them…Opppps

To recap many processed foods we could make at home and would be much healthier, they wouldn’t have the shelf life but would also have no nasties…

There are so many apps now where we can check out our favourite foods and be offered alternatives or we could make them at home…

Thank you for reading and I hope you now know a little more about processed foods and which ones are processed so we can eat them or cook with them safe in the knowledge that we are happy to do so…xxx

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week xx

20 thoughts on “What is the definition of Processed Food?

  1. Anne Copeland

    There is so much to learn about our food, and it is shocking – some of it. And the people who create our food should be ashamed of themselves. Having worked with special needs children for so many years, I always wondered how many of the issues they have stem from their diets. Thank you again. This is good to know. Happy and safe Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you, Anne and thank you for the follow…I think many conditions would not exist if it wasn’t for what is in our food chain and it is so hard to even read labels when one product goes by so many different . Yes manufacturers and governments should be ashamed but the truth is they are not …Happy Thanksgiving 🙂


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    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I know it is a minefield I have more or less given up now as I have the added problem that if it is imported then a sticker in Thai is put over the ingredient list and generally the writing is so small that I would need to keep a magnifyiny glass with me at all times..All meant to stop the shopper knowing the truth..So I go without try and make it or just don’t eat it…lol


  5. Jacquie Biggar

    Since our grandson was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes we’ve had to become ‘label readers’. It’s amazing how many items have dangerous levels of carbs, even in fruit and vegetables!
    Thanks for this post, it’s helpful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      That’s such a shame Jacqui and yes the damage the added sugars etc do is horrendous because many people unknowingly don’t realise..The app I left the link for could help you as you scan the bar code on your phone. 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

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