What’s Your Absolute Worst Regular Meal?

I know Andrew wants us to go wholly October Unprocessed, but I’m guessing that even for many regular readers that’s a loftier goal than we’re ready, willing, or able to meet. Well I’d like to take my guest posting opportunity and offer you an easily doable, no-excuses way out.

What I I want you to do is take a few minutes and consider what I like to call your “Foodscape” – That would be all of the meals that make the regular culinary rotation of your life (meals you have at least a few times a month) and what I want you to identify is your very “worst” meal, where “worst” refers to that meal which is the most diametrically opposed to your understanding of nutrition in the context of your health and life goals. For some of you that may mean crazily high in calories. For others it may be more about sodium, and for others still it may be about being basically pre-chewed, in that it’s as instant and processed as a food can be.

I’m guessing you know what I want you to do next.

I want you to commit to not only booting it from your October rotation, but committing to an unprocessed alternative. One that you’ve cooked from as many scratch, whole, unadulterated ingredients as you can manage. Some of you may manage more ingredients than others (for instance some of you may bake your own bread and make sauces from scratch whereas others will find that to be too daunting), but don’t worry about that – you know your own limits better than anyone.

What I’m trying to say here is that your October Unprocessed best doesn’t need to be perfect to represent a step forward and perhaps it’s a step you might take in the context of a longer journey. Perhaps you could drop that one “worst” meal from your rotation altogether, and who knows, maybe each month for the coming year you could repeat the exercise so that by the time next October Unprocessed rolls around you’ll actually feel confident that you can do the full monty.

Ultimately I’d hate to see a person not try because the chasm seemed too wide, and flying leaps do have a tendency to land people on their faces. So if October Unprocessed’s leap seems too far, why not commit to taking just one tiny unprocessed step a month? Can’t think of anything you’ve got to lose, and clearly, there’s plenty to gain.

Photo © 2011 BoyGoku, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

About the Author

The Diet Fix by Yoni FreedhoffYoni Freedhoff, MD, is an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, where he’s the founder and medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute—dedicated to non-surgical weight management since 2004. Dr. Freedhoff is the author of the groundbreaking book, The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work He sounds off daily on his award-winning blog, Weighty Matters, and is also easily reachable on Twitter and Facebook.

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Katherine
Katherine
October 3, 2012 1:25 pm

My worst meal I think is baguette and cheese. Like most people have replied, I cook a lot of my food from scratch but sometimes when I am home alone and too tired to cook I just have delicious but nutritionally void bread with cheese. That and mayonnaise in my sandwiches. My big weakness is bread.

Jayne
Jayne
October 3, 2012 10:45 am

My worst meal? Has to be the weekly night out at my favorite Tex-Mex place! But they do have some healthier options on the menu, so while I’m not necessarily going to give up my night out, I will make better choices.

Yoni Freedhoff
October 3, 2012 2:37 am

Thanks everyone for weighing in!

My worst has to be hot dogs. Kids love ’em and I’m guessing once every 6 weeks or so we have them.

Wife and I have a turkish turkey kabab that we sometimes make ourselves in their stead…..but I’m not sure how to make an actual home made hot dog.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
October 2, 2012 6:43 pm

I add Starbucks sugar free vanilla syrup to my expresso. Complete poison…but tasty. Stopped using it October 1. Still drinking expresso…I’m sure by the end October my body will thank me for it!

Heidi
October 2, 2012 5:57 pm

The only “bad” thing that makes it into the rotation with any regularity is Trader Joe’s Mandarin Chicken. Plus – I can pronounce everything in it. Minus – well, it has no redeeming nutritional value. But I serve it with steamed broccoli and brown rice, so that’s got to count for something! We’re doing OU for the second year. And when I say “we” I mean my husband and I. With 3,5 & 7 yr. olds underfoot I know better than to try to include them. They’ll just have to be satisfied with homemade pizza.

Heather
Heather
October 2, 2012 3:39 pm

Cheez-Its and Diet Dr. Pepper. I eat mostly homemade and unprocessed, but those Cheez-Its and Dr. Peppers are my absolute weakness. Artificial sweeteners, “caramel” color, msg, preservatives, sodium benzoate, etc. But I started a week early as soon as I saw this website and have gone six days with neither!

Mary Kate
Mary Kate
October 2, 2012 2:31 pm

Usually, when I actually do the cooking I do pretty good staying unprocessed(except occasionally when I buy seemingly innocent ingredients that have bad stuff snuck in them!). That being said, my big goal for October is to greatly decrease the number of times we eat out and to work on getting in a routine so that meal planning and making things from scratch is less time consuming/expensive.

Becky
Becky
October 2, 2012 12:51 pm

Currently (well before challenge): Frozen pizza or pizza rolls and craft beer or a pint of Ben and Jerrys.

Growing up: Swanson’s Salsbury Steaks, Mac & Cheese (from the blue box), canned green beans and probably a few slices of white bread smothered in margerine.

I have been cooking different types of squash and potatoes.

Kristen
Kristen
October 2, 2012 12:36 pm

I eat pretty well but even I have my weakness – Shake n’ Bake. Yup. Shake n’ Bake is terrible processed crap and I like it. My husband and son like it. It is salty and tasty (probably from the MSG goodness) and I’m sure it has hydronated oils in it. I only pull it out once a month but still, it’s tragic. I need to get comfortable with panko and some seasonings – at least it would be a step up. So NO Shake N’ Bake this month. I pledge to try seasoning my pork chops with some panko and herbs (unless someone has a better less processed suggestion?!) 🙂

Genevieve S
Genevieve S
October 3, 2012 10:33 am
Reply to  Kristen

I use this one and my family loves it.

Genevieve S
Genevieve S
October 3, 2012 10:34 am
Reply to  Genevieve S

Whoops:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-shake-and-bake-mixture/

(I use celery seed instead of celery salt, and cut out the garlic salt)

Danielle
Danielle
October 2, 2012 12:31 pm

The worst meal for my family would have to be Tator Tot Casserole. Ground beef, I do use grass fed and local. Cream of mushroom soup, campbell’s of course, Tator tots and Cheese… a ton of cheese. The family will miss it.

Kristen
Kristen
October 2, 2012 12:40 pm
Reply to  Danielle

This is a really yummy homemade condensed soup recipe! I’ve used it a few times now, came out great each time. Of course, can’t help you with the tater tots 😉
http://www.grouprecipes.com/36004/condensed-cream-of-mushroom-soup-substitute.html

Danielle
Danielle
October 2, 2012 4:23 pm
Reply to  Kristen

Thank you Kristen, I found one as well from Alton Brown, he uses it in the green bean casserole, which I plan to make for Thanksgiving. You can find it on the Food network site, sorry I don’t have the link handy.

Laura
Laura
October 3, 2012 10:05 am
Reply to  Danielle

I use Alton Brown’s home-made cream of mushroom soup recipe for everything that calls for cream of mushroom soup. It is delicious and a life savor!!

Barbara
Barbara
October 2, 2012 2:05 pm
Reply to  Danielle

Here’s a recipe for home made Tater Tots (and Ketchup!):
http://www.food52.com/recipes/17144_chive_tater_tots_with_green_onion_ketchup

Danielle
Danielle
October 2, 2012 4:26 pm
Reply to  Barbara

Thank you Barbara, I make my own ketchup, have for a few years now. The tator tot recipe looks great though, I will be trying it out.