If you must, make convenience food healthy.
What we call convenience food is just food that is already cooked or can be easily prepared. As a rule, these foods contain more preservatives, sodium and calories that is convenient. Could convenience food help you improve your diet or fight cancer? Yes, if you eat the right foods.
Not an easy task finding food that is satisfying, convenient and healthy at the same time. Healthy convenient food can be part of a balanced diet. The strategy to follow with convenience food consists in being aware of what you eat. Read the labels, halve the portions if they are too rich, and replace the removed half with extra vegetables and lean protein.
Being on the go is no excuse to eat poorly. Having a healthy convenience snack on hand is not only practical, but it keeps you from visiting the snack machine down the hall every fifteen minutes. Let's take a look a ten of the healthiest convenience foods around to keep you active, on the go and, of course, healthy:
Natural nut clusters.These little nut clusters are full of nutrition and great taste. Available at most stores, and in different nut assortments, nut clusters are naturally made and limit the amount of preservatives needed in the bag. With just the right amount of natural sugars and different nuts, a handful of these snacks will leave you satisfied.
Yoghurt raisins.A favorite of grown-ups and kids alike, yoghurt covered raisins hold a host of benefits. The sweet and salty flavors mesh well together and provide a range of antioxidants. Great to grab and go, yoghurt covered raisins can provide a healthy snack for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Trail Mix. Trail mix is a great source of protein as well as providing your fruit servings for the day. Grabbing a small bag of trail mix will give you the fiber needed to fill your stomach and keep you satisfied between meals. Choose varieties that are heavy on the nut, whole grain, and dried fruit, and light on the chocolate.
Protein shake - Perfect for the morning rush, protein shakes are easy to make and quite versatile. Adding different fruit to the mix can change your drink from a strawberry banana bliss to a peanut butter banana dream. If you are not in the mood to make it yourself, you can always buy them pre-packaged and save your energy for peeling the fruit.
Dried fruit - Drying fruit is different than cooking it. When fruit is dried, the nutrients remain intact because it is not heated over 170 degrees. Fruit has plenty of antioxidant properties and amino acids, and when dried, the best parts remain. While you wouldn't want to overload on dried fruit because of the natural sugars that run rampant, a few servings of dried fruit is a healthy way to tide you over until dinner.
Bean and cheese burrito - While there are plenty of different bean and cheese burritos on the market, all of them are pretty much the same. You can find organic, all natural burritos, but most are fairly healthy; just read the labels. Of course, you can easily wrap up a stash at home and keep them in the freezer for quick snacks, lunches, or dinners.
Soups - It is amazing how satisfying soup can be. When choosing a soup to take along, choose the low sodium and low fat varieties. It is also important to stick with clear broths or stocks to cut down on the additives which are needed to keep the milky sauces from expiring. With the reduction in fat, salts, and additives, you will be able to enjoy a great bowl of soup without sacrificing health. Make your own soup simply at home by mixing a can of broth with some vegetables, rice, or pasta. Store in single serving containers in the freezer and you can have a healthy cup of soup in minutes.
Veggies and dip - You can enjoy veggies with lots of yummy dip without sacrificing your good, healthy eating habits. Substituting hummus, baba ganoush or yoghurt for the traditional ranch or blue cheese dressing, you will be able to enjoy your favorite veggies without all of the guilt.
Food bars - There are a plethora of food bars to choose from. Lara Bars, Luna Bars, and Clif Bars, are a few well known varieties. Many of them are extremely health-conscious but each has their own market. Once you know what you are trying to accomplish (building muscle, losing fat, eating healthy) you can pick the bar for you and, voila, you have a healthy snack.
Oatmeal - Oatmeal is a fantastic snack. Not the instant kind, filled with sugar and artificial flavoring, but the actual kind you make on the stove. Sure, not often considered a convenience food, but when you think about the eight minutes it takes to make instant oatmeal and let it cool and then look at the nine minutes it takes to make regular oatmeal, you can decide the convenience for yourself. You may also just like to nibble on raw oatmeal, or toast it quickly and turn it into a quick granola feast.
No matter what your schedule, you can afford a few minutes each day to eat a healthy snack or two. The nutritional needs of an adult differ from that of a child. These snacks are meant to keep an adult satisfied without adding too many calories, fat, salt, or sugar to their diet. If maintaining a healthy weight is a concern, eating a couple light snacks during the day can help burn fat and keep you from eating larger meals than you have to. Snack smart with these convenient foods and stay healthy and fit.
Healthier lunchtime convenience foods
Grab a sandwich and go. Grab a hot dog and go. Grab a salad and go. Grab a cup of soup and go. It's go go go at lunchtime, so we grab grab grab. Unfortunately, we are so conditioned to grabbing what we always have, we don't think twice. We're in a hurry so we return to the old reliable convenience foods.
The trouble with that is we often find ourselves eating high sugar, high salt, and high fat lunches. At 3:00 we feel worse than before we ate; not to mention the health risks we're taking. How can we break our convenience food habits? By finding alternative foods that are just as convenient.
Here are some lunch and snack food items that you can easily substitute for healthier choices, at least some of the times.
Bread versus English muffins
Even so-called healthy multi-grain breads can be loaded with sugars, fats, and high in cholesterol. If you want a hearty bread that is low fat, with no cholesterol, no trans fat, and no high fructose corn syrup, try English muffins. They are sturdy, solid, and toast nicely. And, because they are so sturdy they transport well, making them a perfect sandwich choice.
Mayonnaise versus yellow mustard
A little dab of mustard goes a long way toward flavoring and moistening a sandwich. Prepackaged mayonnaise is high in fat, salt, and sugar. If you want to cut the sharpness of the mustard, mix in just a bit of low fat yogurt, sour cream, or even plain hummus, then spread on your sandwich.
Lunch meat versus tuna
You've got to be careful with lunch meat, either prepackaged or cut at the deli. Many are high in salt, sugar, and nasty additives like nitrates. You can avoid all that by opening a can of tuna. Mix drained white tuna with chopped onion and cucumber and spread on a toasted English muffin. Top with a slice of low fat Mozzarella cheese for a quick healthy and nutritious meal.
Childhood hot dog versus new age hot dog
If lunchtime is the right time for you to enjoy a good old fashioned hot dog, you can make choices that are healthier, yes, even with a hot dog. Instead of grabbing the same old package of hot dog that you remember from your childhood, look for the new improved and healthier hot dogs. For instance, you'll find turkey hot dogs and vegetable hot dogs, many of which are free of additives. Choose wisely and enjoy the taste of summer with a little more nutrition thrown in.
Buns versus tortillas
Part of the battle of eating our favorite convenient foods is that the traditional elements that make up our sandwich can be made with lots of salt, sugar, and fat. Eliminating the bun from the hot dog entirely doesn't give nearly the same experience; I mean, how do you pick it up and eat it? Using healthier alternatives can solve the problem. Try wrapping a toasted tortilla around a hot dog for a new healthier twist on an old favorite. It's easy to warm up or toast a tortilla. Just put it in a dry skillet and heat it quickly on both sides. Then lay the hot dog on, add your favorite condiments, and wrap it up. Using tortillas to replace bread and buns is something we've been seeing more and more with the advent of 'wraps.' Think of just about any sandwich you like and I'll bet you can wrap it up in a tortilla and eliminate the bun.
Salads gone bad versus good greens
Salads call for a variety of ingredients, some which are better than others. Choose a bag of mixed greens, including spinach and a variety of vegetables, instead of iceberg lettuce which has no nutrition. We also must have our crunch, but are prepackaged croutons the best choice? How about adding crunch and nutrition with sunflower seeds and chopped nuts. Be sure to use natural, unsalted seeds and nuts so you can add as many as you want without worrying. Are you a cheese lover? Choose shredded Mozzarella made from skim milk. Now that you've got your healthy ingredients, don't drown your salad and all your good efforts with dressing loaded with fat, sugar, and salt. A quick whisk of a couple good ingredients and you'll have a healthy alternative in less than a minute. See how quickly you can zip through a healthy salad? There really is no need to throw out all your good intentions of eating a healthy salad by choosing unhealthy ingredients.
Open one versus open two
It's awfully hard to find something as convenient as opening up a can of soup for lunch. However, when you read the label, you may not want to eat all those 'ingredients.' Is it really that much more work to open two things than opening one? How about opening a can of clear broth and a can of navy beans or black beans and mix them together for a hearty bowl of soup? Or, open one can of broth and one can or bag of veggies and bring the mix to a simmer. You've got lunch hot and ready in minutes, and all it took was opening two things instead of one.
When you reach in your refrigerator or pantry for lunch, you want to find something fast. If you stock your kitchen with healthier choices, you'll be grabbing the same fast foods you've always enjoyed with a lot healthier results.
Proven cancer fighting convenience foods
Fast, convenient food can actually help fight cancer. Just because you are on the go, doesn't mean you have to ignore your health. The trick is knowing which foods are cancer-fighters and incorporate them into your everyday life. Let's take a look at some of the healthiest convenience foods that help prevent cancer. Chances are, you will be surprised about at least a couple of them.
Almost every type of bean you can imagine has great cancer preventing enzymes. These enzymes are released when cooked and many of the canned beans you buy in the grocery store have the enzymes preserved. They are canned at the peak of their freshness and cooked to perfection to kill bacteria as well as begin the enzyme breakdown process.
The natural health benefits of garlic range from anti-viral properties, to preventing diabetes and even reducing the risk of high blood pressure or cholesterol. Garlic may be too strong in its raw state for some people, but, never fear; garlic still holds much of its nutritional value when cooked.
For such a small legume, this guy packs a big punch in the health department. Once again, convenience in a can prevails. Give these fellas a rinse and they're ready to enjoy in a nice chilled salad or cooked in a simple soup. Packed with fiber and able to help reduce heart disease, lentils have strong cancer-fighting abilities.
Brown and wild rice
Brown and wild rice have almost 80% more nutrition than enriched white rice. As a matter of fact, the instant brown with wild rice varieties still have more than 75% more nutrition than the instant white rice. If you are concerned about your risk for colon cancer, brown rice not only has enough fiber to minimize the amount of time cancer-causing substances remain in your colon, it also packs a bunch of selenium, which is shown to substantially reduce the risk of colon cancer. Keep the convenience factor by cooking up a batch and keeping small portions individually packaged in your freezer ready to eat when you are.
According to the American Cancer Society, oatmeal is not a cure for cancer since a cure has yet to be discovered. However, oatmeal is one of the best foods to prevent cancer. With the large amounts of insoluble fiber contained in oatmeal, the body is able to fight against the toxicity of bile acids which helps to lower the risk of cancer. Oatmeal is quick to cook, but you can also enjoy it baked and tossed with nuts for an easy granola treat.
Broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage have a powerhouse of cancer-fighting properties. Also, the dark leafy green vegetables such as romaine lettuce, collards, kale, spinach, and beet greens help keep numerous cancers at bay. Many of the vegetables can be eaten raw or lightly steamed. You can find most of these veggies sold already cut up for you, which is a great convenience factor. Also, look for the frozen or canned varieties for even faster and easier preparation.
Lycopene is the name of the game when it comes to tomatoes. Lycopene is a phytochemical, which plants use to color their fruits. If you see a fruit with a red coloring, like a tomato, you can be sure lycopene is the reason. Eating lycopene rich foods has a great impact on protecting against cancers of the stomach, colon, lung, throat, breast and prostate. Lycopene can also be found in grapefruit, watermelon, and strawberries. If slicing a tomato doesn't sound convenient to you, throw ripe tomatoes in your food processor and chop them up. Store them in the refrigerator and they'll be ready to throw on a salad or mix into your favorite rice dish. Or, simply buy cans of diced tomatoes for convenience sake.
These simple foods can be turned into snacks or meals in minutes so you can give your body the cancer fighting weapons it needs without standing at the stove all day. The motto to remember is this - keep it simple when planning a healthy diet. Eat conveniently, and eat well, to stay healthy.
Healthy convenience foods for special diets
With new discoveries made in medicine and technology, we are becoming more aware of how food is impacting our everyday lives. Many times, convenience foods do not fit into these dietary needs.
Discover healthy convenience foods for special dietary needs
If you have special dietary needs, there is no reason you should have to be tied down to stirring a pot all day. There are plenty of convenience foods out there for you, just make sure you pay attention to the labels and check with your physician before beginning a new diet.
Carbohydrates, gluten, and sugars have become unwanted elements in so many diets. There are still a few staples when it comes to healthy convenience food for special dietary needs. Here we'll take a look at foods covering the low carb, gluten free, and diabetic areas of need: