Convenience foods often get a bad reputation. They usually are highly processed foods with little nutrition. Yet, we have busy lives and look for short-cuts when we can. The following items are actually very healthy foods that are very convenient. I love to keep these items on hand and use them quite often.
1. Frozen blueberries: I buy these as store brand in a big bag at Walmart. When they come in fresh at the stores we’ll be buying them to freeze. We ran out of those & went to the frozen berries after that. Blueberries have a ton of anti-oxidants in them & when they are frozen are like blueberry popsicles. They also make great smoothies in skim milk when they are added frozen. I am a cancer survivor, so I eat blueberries almost daily for their anti-oxidants. Plus they are delicious! I often have them on my cereal. They turn the milk lavendar which makes it easier to finish for some reason.
2. String Cheese: These are so convenient to throw in my purse for an on-the-go snack. We buy the lowest fat ones to enjoy a bit of cheese without too much guilt. I sometimes make wraps by microwaving one on a tortilla with a shake of red pepper flakes. Buzz it until it’s melted & roll it up. Kids seem to really like string cheese for a snack. It’s probably cheaper to buy low-fat mozzarella, cut it into sticks, and put them in a baggie. But the convenience is worth it to me. Plus it controls portion size.
3. Oranges: I know, these are natural. But they are so well packaged! I can take them along as snacks and not worry that they will get knicked, dented, or bruised. Oranges last pretty long in the refrigerator produce drawer, much longer than thinner skinned fruit. They are a natural sweet with plenty of fiber. And when you have to peel them first, it slows down the experience. I love the smell of orange oil that comes from the peels. I rarely buy orange juice because a person can so quickly gulp it down that it’s easy to drink too much. The orange is natural portion control and you get to experience the joy of eating each segment! lol Be sure to leave on some of the wite pith of the peel to eat as it is a rich source of vitamins too.
4. Eggs: How do I love thee, let me count the ways! Hard boiled eggs make great snacks or a quick lunch with some raw veggies and rye crackers. They are wonderful sliced on top of a salad. Omelettes are cheap, quick, yummy, and can include all sorts of leftovers. We have them about once a week. The cholesterol in eggs is much less than thought a few years ago, and they include good vitamins. Haute cuisine includes a fried egg topping to many dishes these days.
5. Pickled Beets: I buy these in the jar for very little money. We like regular pickled beets and also the “Harvard Style” beets that are a little sweeter in a slightly thick sauce. Beets are a Super Food, and this is an easy way to include them in your meals. My mom set them on the table several times a week as a side like pickles. Only they have much more nutrition than pickles! They keep in the fridge almost forever & help round out any meal that you think doesn’t have quite enough. Even if you just have a couple of pieces they are packed with vitamins! They add nice color to plate too. They are great as a salad topping if you cut them into matchstick size.
6. Frozen stir-fry vegetebles: We love stir-fry for a quick healthy meal that is tasty and satisfying. It’s pretty quick with the vegetebles all cut up and ready to go in the pan. Fresh vegetables are great when you have the time, but you can add any fresh veggies you have on hand to these frozen mixes too. Since we usually have leftover cooked chicken and beef in the freezer and a pot of rice in the refrigerator it makes for some “fast food.” Frozen shrimp work well with this too.
7. Rice: I like to cook up a pot of rice to use during the week, especially with stir-fry dinners. We don’t have a rice cooker, but I can see that one would add to the convenience. We buy rice in bulk at Sam’s Club and it seems to last forever. If you use brown rice it’s even healthier. The convience comes from having the cooked rice on hand to use whenever you want a quick meal.
So there you have it! I hope you give some of these a try to add some convenience to your life as well as great nutrition!
What are your favorite healthy convenience foods? Please share with us in the comments below!