Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Healthy Convenience Foods

In a world where everyone is short on time, "I don't have time to eat healthy" is no longer valid. Although the movement toward convenience foods is generally frowned upon by nutrition professionals, there are some foods and food products that will fit the bill when it comes to quickly fueling performance.

Convenient Processed Foods
The majority of your daily food selections should be whole and unprocessed, but here are some great options for the rest of the time...
  • Brown rice packets: Only 10 min prep vs. traditional 45 min prep)
  • Whole wheat pasta: Ready in 10 min or less
  • Whole wheat couscous: Ready in 10 min or less
  • Quinao packets (pre-cooked)
  • Air-popped or low-fat microwave popcorn*
  • Oatmeal in packets or cups: Excellent for traveling!
  • High fiber cold cereal: Not just for breakfast!
  • High-fiber crackers: Try Triscuits or Kashi TLC crackers
  • Whole wheat pocket or pita bread: Stuff with fresh veggies and low-sodium/low-fat deli meat
  • Kashi granola bars
  • Whole-wheat pizza crust: Load with low-sodium sauce, veggies and low-fat meats such as ham, chicken, lean turkey pepperoni or lean ground beef
  • Canned tomatoes*
  • Individual packs of unsweetened applesauce
  • Canned beans*: Pair with brown rice
  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Lean deli meat*: Try turkey, chicken, ham or roast beef
  • Individual cups of peanut butter: Pair with high-fiber crackers or celery sticks
  • Individual cups of hummus: Pair with high-fiber crackers or veggies
  • Individual cups of guacamole
  • Soy nuts: Great protein & healthy fats!
  • Edamame: Find in the frozen vegetable section
  • Low-fat individually packaged low sugar yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • Low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks
  • Cubed or shredded cheese: Save time! Add it to your favorite meals for extra protein.
  • Frozen entrees*: These are not all bad when used occasionally, as they are often more nutritious than what would have been prepared otherwise. Look for low sodium/low fat varieties and pair with a salad, fruit and glass of low-fat cow's or soy milk for a well-rounded meal.
  • If it's in the budget, don't count out meal delivery services for all or part of your week's meals. This can be relieve the stress of meal planning and assure nutritious meals at least part of the time. Just be sure to choose the best meals (nutritionally) available.
  • Fast food options: Baked potato at Wendy's, Fruit & Yogut parfait at McDonalds, side salad at Burger King to name just a few can be a great addition to your work lunch
*Look for low-sodium varieties or rinse (if appropriate)

Convenient Fresh Foods
Perhaps the most convenient foods are truly the ones listed here. With a little pre-prep during the weekend or other day off, you can easily grab these foods and head out the door.

  • Fresh fruit: Especially apples, oranges, bananas, plums, nectarines, peaches, clementines, grapes, berries and apricots. Pair with peanut butter for protein.
  • Dried fruit: The best choices are cherries, cranberries, and blueberries. Pair with nuts or yogurt for protein.
  • Baby/cut carrots or celery strips: Pair with hummus or peanut butter for protein and healthy fat.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Pair with string cheese for protein.
  • Bagged spinach or spinach mixes: Add pre-cooked or canned chicken for protein
  • Rotisserie chicken: Pre-cooked, often still warm at the time of purchase and can be used for so many dinner ideas, including with tacos, burritos, nachos, stir-fry, fresh salads, baked potatoes, brown rice, or sandwiches. Be sure to include veggies!
  • Pre-cooked shrimp: Just like the rotisserie chicken, can be easily added to a meal as a quick protein source.
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Nuts: One of the best natural convenient foods. Look for lightly salted or unsalted varieties whenever possible.
  • Individually-packaged low-fat milk: Go for cow's milk or soy milk for adequate protein
Be Extraordinary,


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