We always say healthy food should taste delicious, but have we mentioned it can also be really easy and convenient to eat healthily? In an ideal world would we all be cooking from scratch? Maybe. But how many of us exist in the world of ideal? The key is to recognize that ideal isn't always going to happen and to stock your kitchen accordingly.
Here are a few of our favorite, convenient, packaged foods. You don't lose much, if any, in the way of nutrients with these. Maybe you'll see some of your favorites here too...
Microwaveable Rice. Cooking rice from scratch isn't the most difficult thing in the world, but it does take time. And sometimes the 45-minutes to an hour is more time than I have, especially when I haven't given much thought to dinner. So, I usually have a box of microwaveable brown rice in the cupboard (I like Minute brand, which you can get at Target), and a box of jasmine rice from Trader Joe's in the freezer. When I need a whole grain, there they are.
Canned beans and pre-cooked lentils. It's cheaper to buy beans dry and then cook them. But again, time. So, I usually have a variety in the pantry in their canned form. The lentils I get from the produce section of Trader Joe's.
Rotisserie chicken. I mentioned this in another post recently, but Nikki swears by these. Probably more expensive than buying a fresh chicken and cooking it yourself, but way easier. If you take the time to break it down when you get it home, you can add chicken to salads, stir-fry's and burritos, among other things.
Frozen steel cut oats and Instant Cream of Wheat (whole grain version). These are great, quick breakfasts. I get my frozen steel cut oats from Trader Joe's and the Cream of Wheat you can find anywhere. Ready in minutes.
Sweet potato spears. These are ready for a drizzle of olive oil, some seasonings and 30-minutes in the oven.
Nutter Puffs by PopChips. These are a great snack. Five grams of protein, less than 2-grams of sugar.
Guacamole cups from Wholly Guacamole. I love guacamole, but I'm never going to make a batch just for myself. I get these from Costco, but they're probably available everywhere. I usually dip vegetables or whole grain tortilla chips in them.
Fresh whole wheat pizza dough. I always have a ball of this in my fridge. I often make lentil calzones out of it, but you can throw vegetables and a little cheese and/or leftover meat inside too for a quick dinner.
Jarred sauces. There is nothing like homemade marinara or pesto sauce. But there are some jarred versions that are good in a pinch too. I know I mention Trader Joe's a lot, but they really do a good job stocking pre-packaged food that's fairly healthy. Their roasted garlic marinara is especially good and I've had a pesto from there that's also delicious. Just check the sugar content on any jarred sauce you buy. Sometimes they sneak a lot of that stuff in there. But a little whole grain pasta and some jarred sauce is a quick weeknight dinner.
Frozen vegetables. You really don't lose many of the nutrients of the fresh version when they're flash frozen. Heat them up with some rice, edamame or some chicken for a quick stir-fry.
There you have it. Some of our favorite ways to make eating healthy as easy as possible. Feel free to share your favorites below!