Tips for Choosing the Right Convenience Foods

trail mix convenience foods

You’re on-the-go, working up an appetite and you’re struck by an overwhelming sense of hunger. What do you grab to get you through to your next meal?

The Role of Convenience Foods

Many of us run on a tight schedule, caught between work, home and family obligations at any given moment. On other days, we may feel too tired to do much of anything. In either of these cases, convenience foods can offer significant benefits:

  • Typically low in cost
  • Easy to obtain (drive thrus, checkout lines)
  • Momentarily satisfiying

Think of those snacks/meals you typically grab when you’re running out the door. Maybe it’s a bag of chips, granola bar or fast food box. These are the types of food items considered convenient; In other words, they get the job done when you need it done.

How to Choose Healthy Convenient Foods

It’s no surprise that many standard convenience foods are high in calories, fats and sugars. This is often because they’re heavily processed and artificially flavored, thus increasing the amount of unnecessary ingredients.

There is a way to make healthy convenience foods a part of your weight management plan, however. We can’t help the fact that we’re human and convenience foods are helpful, but we can choose just what and how we eat them. Consider these tips:

  • Invest in Portable Food Carrying Options – Plastic baggies, lunch boxes, Tupperware, thermos, etc.
  • Prepare Your Food in Advance – Do you know ahead of time if you’ll be on-the-go or too tired to prepare food? Prepare food the night before and place them in your portable carrying options.
  • Grab from All Food Groups – Consider fruits, veggies, whole-grain options, low-fat dairy and lean proteins.
  • Opt for Fresh – Fresh foods are less likely to be high in calories and added ingredients.
  • Consider these Healthy IdeasBagged low-sodium/no sodium nuts; bagged grapes and berries; trail mix made from nuts, dried fruit and granola pieces; homemade granola bars or protein bites; Pre-packaged fruit with peanut butter, yogurt or low-fat dip; whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese or other topping; pretzels; rice cakes; no sodium popcorn, etc.

In some ways, choosing healthy convenience foods is a lot like meal-prepping on a smaller scale. For additional tips on meal prepping and planning ahead, please CLICK HERE.

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