CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…The Definition of Processed Foods…


Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Processed Foods…

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 up the game of trying to read labels 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 a Food Scanner App… 

This link is a good start to finding the best food scanner app for you…

Now for examples of processed foods …

  • Cheese
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Bread
  • Snacks…Crisps, sausage rolls, pies
  • Meat: Bacon, Sausage, ham, salami and pate
  • Convenience ready meals
  • Cakes and Biscuits/Cookies
  • 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 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…there is also the state of children’s teeth around the world ask any dentist!

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…What tempts the kid’s cartoon characters like ” Cap’n Crunch” for 
one  and if I see “Quaker”  on a packet it  says to me healthy…not anymore it seems their 
 multi-grain cereal most certainly isn’t there plain old oats maybe but not those…
It does look like “Fruit Loops escaped that list this time and to be fair they have taken steps to
clean up their act…but that ingredients list is still far too long for me …

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…

To me, they just sound like something which I would not wish my children to eat…Just sugar-filled nothing…cereals are something many people feed their children it quick and easy but so is putting the slow cooker on with porridge at night…

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 video on crisps and what they contain plus 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 add 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 if eaten in moderation are much better than a store-bought packet.,,and fresh;y baked cookies/biscuits taste sooooo moreish….

These biscuits are really easy to make and very moreish…

Homemade Coconut Biscuits…

I don’t make biscuits/cookies very often..almost never but once a packet of store brought cookies/biscuits are opened because of the humidity here they don’t last long they either go off or the ants take residence. I was guided to make these 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…and they are so delicious…I know a biscuit is never either but if I have one I am going to enjoy knowing that they have no nasties and I can control the sugar…

These biscuits/cookies are my basic recipe …


  • 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 a 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 them 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

Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés.

Any meat that has been cured, smoked, canned or salted is a processed food, and these types of meats, including hot dogs, salami and cured bacon, are associated with increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers such as bowel or stomach.

I can hear you asking are there any deli meats which are not classified as processed meats? Yes, there are …Fresh chicken, turkey, beef, minced meat and burgers, pork and fish that have not been modified are considered unprocessed meats…Check before you buy…

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…or you can make an informed choice …read my post and all will be explained…

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…

Ready Meals…

I am just going to touch on ready meals today and most people’s favourite Mac and Cheese…

Homemade Mac & Cheese v processed Mac & Cheese.

macaroni and cheese

I know we can’t make everything at home and sometimes for ease, there is nothing wrong with buying processed food sometimes on occasion just not regularly as it will be detrimental to health…

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… I hope you all have a great weekend xx As always I look forward to your comments xx

18 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…The Definition of Processed Foods…

  1. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Great examples Carol.. as you say most foods we buy have been processed in varying degrees such as dairy and as such are not a problem.. it is the industrially manufactured products that are the worst.. including as you say many of the cereals we are giving our children. We are very lucky here to have access to so much fresh produce that it is easy to adopt a cook from scratch approach.. I know other countries are not so lucky.. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 8th -14th May 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “” and Saturday Snippets where “Glass” is my prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen

    So much marketing in the grocery stores is made just by the placement of the products. I was looking for a box of grits, just that, grits and nothing else. I found it on the bottom shelf along with the familiar Quaker round box of old fashioned oats. The entire rest of a very long aisle from top to the next to bottom shelf was oatmeal in about a hundred different boxers of prepackaged instant oatmeal in individual servings. All these packages contained tons of sugar and food additives, and proudly proclaim “high fiber” and “whole grains.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Its like that in most places now, Dorothy but it seems that those who can and should be stopping all that don’t as manufacturers pay premiums for the slots.. Its all wrong..


  4. Darlene

    As for cookies and baked goods, the rule in my house is that if I don’t make them myself, we don’t eat them. I always cut the sugar in half, at least. I do like cheese but try to limit it. Fortunately, there are plenty of fresh fruits and veges here in Spain and we use olive oil instead of butter for the most part. Once you cut down on processed foods, you really notice the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I agree, Darlene when you bake your own you can cut down on the sugar..cheeses doesn’t bother me too much any more as its either expensive and not particularly good the only one I have found which is nice is a local made feta cheese 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…The Definition of Processed Foods… – MobsterTiger

  6. beetleypete

    I only buy uncut ‘fresh’ bread from the bakery section, but I am aware it has things added to keep it fresh for a couple of days, also some sugar. I don’t eat as much cooked meats as I used to, but my main problem is cheese, which I have 4-5 days a week. I never buy tinned vegetables, but frozen ones like peas are fine, and quite healthy.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I used to eat more cheese than I do now as it is expensive here and not as good as a real mature English cheddar but when I go back I’m sure I will be eating lots of things I wouldn’t eat here as unable to get them but lives too short to deprive ourselves of everything we like to eat Pete…Enjoy your cheese 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.