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Not your typical junk food


By Carol Seavey/Live Well Wyoming editor, writer



Candy bars. Chips. Fast food. 


Some junk foods are easy to identify, but other seemingly healthy foods may not be so healthy after all. 


A growing number of consumers and health professionals are concerned with the additives in packaged foods. Additives are ingredients that are added to foods to improve flavor, texture, convenience or shelf life. While some additives, such as preservatives, may be harmless, little is known about many of the ingredients in food. The Food and Drug Administration does not carefully analyze every single additive. 


That's why people are taking to cooking their own food at home. Not only do home-cooked foods have fewer additives, they also tend to contain less fat, salt and sugar. 


Of course, most of us eat packaged foods for the convenience factor -- quick, heat-up dinners fit easily into our busy lifestyles. Another reason we buy packaged food is to avoid cooking, whether that's for lack of time or skill. While the main deterrents to cooking are very real, the women in the Real Food Class at the University of Wyoming Extension for Natrona County have had a change of heart. 


Stacey Moore, of Casper, Wyo., has been incorporating more and more homemade foods to her family's diet over the last several years. 


"It's really not that much harder, and it doesn't take that much more time," Moore said. 


Others, like Cara Mesecher, of Casper, took the class not just to learn how to cook healthier food, but to learn how to cook in the first place. 


"It's doable," Mesecher said. "It just takes practice and time to schedule to learn."



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