Kids’ special: Processed food

Kids’ special: Processed food

Before you eat food, do you ever think about how the food started out before it made it to your plate? Sometimes, food goes through a lot of processes before you eat it.

What is a process?

A process is anything that changes the natural form of food. It can be simple (like peeling or freezing) or complicated!

  • Foods that are closer to how they started often have more fibre and other nutrients, such as an unpeeled potato compared to a peeled potato, or a whole piece of fruit compared to the juice from that fruit.
  • Processing food can also remove vitamins and minerals but for some foods important nutrients are more available when they are processed. Tomatoes, for example, have more healthy nutrients for you when they are cooked.

Different processes

  • Some foods need to be cooked so they are suitable for us to eat, like potatoes.
  • Flour is a processed food. It is made from wheat which has been milled into a powder. Flour is then used to make different foods such as breads and crackers as well as foods that contain lots of energy (kilojoules) such as cakes, pastry, muffins and biscuits.

Watch out!

Empty energy

Cakes, pastry, muffins and biscuits can have a lot of sugar and fat, which makes them high in energy (kilojoules) but lower in nutrients than other foods. They are easy to eat too much of because they don’t fill you up. This unnecessary energy is sometimes called ‘empty energy’. Because your body doesn’t need this energy, these kinds of foods should be eaten only occasionally.

Food for thought

How close to their natural form are the ingredients in this recipe? Do you think this dish will provide more nutrients than a piece of cake? Why? Why not?

Mr and Mrs Egg Head

Check out the other cool stuff in our Kids’ specials!

Kids’ special: Carbohydrates? Sweet as
Kids’ special: Protein power
Kids’ special: Fibre is full on!
Kids’ special: Dairy delicious
Kids’ special: Water
Kids’ special: Snack attack
Kids’ special: Fat

What are kilojoules? The energy you get from foods. Science measures this energy in kilojoules (kJs).

Author: Catherine Sissons

Healthy Food Guide

First published: Aug 2011

2017-11-29 17:18:25

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