Is convenience food healthy?

How do you define convenience foods? Typically, people think of them as foods from gas stations or fast food restaurants. They tend to get a bad rap, and are perceived as unhealthy and processed. But what does the term actually mean?

Foods can be convenient AND healthy, right? Gone are the days when anyone (even me – no husband or kids yet) can come home and prepare a meal from scratch. I usually get home from work around 5:30pm do some dishes or switch my laundry and head out for CrossFit around 6:15pm (recently joined and more to come on this!). I might stop for a few staples after I get out and return at 8:15/8:30pm, and resort to one of my regular “dinners”:

  • Veggie and Eggs with whole grain toast
  • Protein smoothie with milk and fruit
  • Ready grilled chicken, veggie and hummus

**How did our environment change so much from those days when women did cook big meals and lived in the kitchen with endless amounts of time? Well, here’s my theory:

People actually worked to harvest their own food and resources and didn’t need a reason to “workout” to stay fit. They spent hours being physically active to get things done. Women also weren’t killing it in the workplace (who run the world? GirlZZ) like they are now, so their role was more focused upon meal preparation and being at home. There also wasn’t addictive TV or Amazon Fresh where you literally just have to sit on your couch and food comes to you. Anyway, although these ways of living have been highly innovative and useful, it has drastically changed the way we live. Because we have to watch our favorite show, go to the gym or work late hours, it leaves little time to focus on what you’re eating.

SO – let me introduce you to my grab n’ go style fridge! This IS the way I live. If I have to do any prep upon my day starting, it’s too much. Yes, you have to do a bit organizing at some point, but the daily food routine is easy peasy.

Many retailers are jumping on board with this! Creating grab n’ go sections near the deli or putting foods in individual size for one time use. Walmart actually has impressed me with how many options they have in this area, plus it’s fairly close, so I have been going there ALOT. If only there were a Trader Joe’s…here’s a list of “convenience items I live off of:

  • Pre-made salads (pictured below) – have a little tray with all your toppings and even a fork comes inside! These are so perfect for lunches
  • Single serve yogurts or cottage cheese
  • Fruit cups – packed with 100% juice. I love the grapefruit ones since grapefruit is annoying to eat whole.
  • Baby carrot bags – it is a smaller bag with just enough carrots for one serving
  • Steam-able veggie bags already washed – I love getting the little bags of green beans or snap peas. They are great for dipping in hummus, or quickly steaming in microwave. Plus you don’t dirty any dishes!
  • Chicken or veggie wraps
  • Whole fruit of course – apples, bananas, grapes (easy to break and bag up)

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Don’t feel like resorting to “convenience items” means you’ve failed, you haven’t! Focus on food groups and getting a variety of nutrients. If it’s quick and easy, better yet!

Cheers, Kate (aka Salt)

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