In today's busy world, less time is spent preparing meals from scratch. Instead, Americans increasingly rely on processed foods. Foods may be processed by canning, freezing, drying, or chemically preserving them. Although each of these processes may result in the food lasting longer or being easier to prepare, the tradeoff is that each of these processes robs food of vitamins and minerals. Some manufacturers, such as those who make white bread, white rice, and processed cereals, actually strip away parts of the food containing healthful nutrients, then may turn around and try to add them back chemically. In addition, many of the additives used to increase the shelf life of foods, or make them appear more attractive to the eye, have been shown to cause adverse reactions. For these reasons, it's important to examine ways to rely less on processed foods. Many of today's household appliances--such as food processors, steamers, pressure cookers, blenders, and microwave ovens--make preparing fresh food easier and less time-consuming than ever before. Barbecues and rotisseries also are popular ways of preparing non-processed foods. Keep in mind that overcooking fresh foods also lowers nutrient density.