When you hear ‘convenience foods’ what comes to mind? Let me guess, chips, cookies, fast food burgers and fries, and the like? Well, not so fast…foods that are convenient can be healthy too! Here are my top picks that will make your life easier.
- Canned Beans. A great source of protein, fiber, iron, and folate. Beans are a fantastic meatless option, and a perfect protein for athletes and pregnant women. We can all benefit from their high fiber content! To keep sodium levels in check, choose low-sodium when possible or simply give your canned beans a quick rinse and drain, and they are good to go. Pair them with salads, soups, or a quick casserole.
- Cottage Cheese. Cottage cheese makes a delicious calcium-rich snack, and is a good source of protein. It can pack too much sodium and fat, so choose reduced-salt and low-fat varieties. Enjoy with fresh berries for an energy-balanced breakfast. It’s also tasty in smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes, or topped on salads.
- Bananas. Possibly one of my favorite foods not only for it’s nutritional pros (potassium + fiber), but that it comes in a convenient and “prepackaged” peel. Perfect for on-the-go munching.
- Microwave Popcorn. Individually packaged, 100-calorie, lightly buttered and salted, of course. Popcorn is a nutritious finger-licking whole grain that is high in fiber. Even better it’s kid and husband friendly too!
- Peanut Butter. Go with “natural” to avoid partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or “trans fats.” Because peanut butter is a higher calorie food, keep portions in check: 1-2 tablespoons is plenty. Nutritious fats, protein, B-vitamins, and the “stick-to-your-ribs” feeling is why I love a spoonful of peanut butter.
- Hummus. Seriously, who wants to make their own hummus? Okay, okay maybe some of you like to, but when I can get this dip-able favorite just as healthy and tasty with less fuss already prepared, I’m down for the convenience.
- Instant Brown Rice/Quinoa. Want the nutritional benefits (fiber, B vitamins, iron) without the 50 minute wait time? I love, love, love the Seeds of Change Brown Rice/Quinoa blend that is ready in 90 seconds flat.
- Frozen Seafood. If you’re anything like me, dinner plans can change during the week. The salmon that I’d planned for dinner on Tuesday, may end up swapping nights. But not to worry when fish is vacuum-packed and frozen. No more tossing out smelly fish making it easier to get the 2 fish-per-week goal!
- Bagged Lettuce. I stock up on bagged lettuce. Nothing is easier for an office lunch or quick weeknight dinner. Salad meals make a frequent appearance on the menu. Top lettuce with protein, cheese, produce, nuts, grains, and dressing for a nutritious, light, and quick meal.
- Frozen Produce. I keep all kinds of fruits and veggies in my freezer. Throw frozen fruit into a blender for a quick smoothie on the go, no need to add ice. Toss veggies into a stir fry, soups, casseroles, or quickly steam them in the microwave for a convenient side.
Healthy eating can be easier and quicker than ordering take-out. Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy convenience foods for effortless meals in a flash.