Tag Archives: Convenience Foods

HEALTHFUL CONVENIENCE FOODS


Prepackaged, prepared foods take many forms:  boxed, dry goods such as quick-cook pasta and rice mixes; canned foods, such as soup or ravioli; or frozen foods, such as a single frozen dinner or a “family-sized” lasagna.

All of these are usually loaded with calories salt, saturated and trans fats, sugar, refined carbohydrates, additives, and preservatives. “It’s not the worst thing if you eat this kind of fast food once in a great while, but if you start eating a lot of it, it can lead to weight gain and the health risks that come with it, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease,” says McManus.

And don’t think that take-out food is the answer, either. “Food ‘to go’ has the same problem. It’s quick and it’s hot, but it’s probably salty, fatty, and very high in calories,” says McManus.

To find the more healthful convenience foods takes a bit of sleuthing on everyone’s part.  Start with ingredient lists. “The fewer ingredients, the better, and make sure that real foods are on the list, whether it’s meat or vegetables,” says McManus. If there’s any added sugar, it should be one of the last ingredients, since ingredients are listed in order of quantity.

Next stop: the Nutrition Facts label. McManus recommends looking at the label and choosing entrees with serving sizes that provide 600 or fewer calories; 5 or more grams of fiber; 500 or fewer milligrams of sodium; zero grams of trans fat; 5 or fewer grams of saturated fat; and zero grams of sugar. (See “What to look for in a healthy prepared entrée.”)

 

What to look for in a healthy prepared entrée
The label says… Look for…
Calories 600 or less
Fiber 5 grams or more
Sodium 500 milligrams or less
Trans fat 0 grams
Saturated fat 5 grams or less
Sugar 0 grams

 

Now, to fill up the cart with healthful convenience foods like dried foods, such as whole-grain cereals (shredded wheat or rolled oats); frozen or canned vegetables (without added salt); canned tuna or salmon; some frozen fish or shrimp; and some frozen entrees, usually from companies that promote the fact that they use organic ingredients. It won’t take long to microwave a fish fillet and open a can of green beans, or heat up a nutritious frozen dinner.

 

 

Healthier meals on the go. (2016, January). Retrieved July 25, 2016, from Harvard Health Publications Harvard Medical School: http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/healthier-meals-on-the-go?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=GB20160725-HEDiabetes&utm_id=207105&mid=21239452&ml=207105

 

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