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Convenience Foods Are....Well....Conve

Thursday, January 02, 2014

In an ideal world I would love to cook every day, fresh wholesome meals from foods that I purchased - so that I would know where the food came from and that it was fresh and nutritious. In an ideal world I would not have to work and I would not have a 45 -60 minute commute one way (and that is on a good day). I would have lots of time for all of the cooking that I would do. But our lifestyle is such that it is not always possible for me to cook at home. Sometimes it seems like months pass before I can even get to the grocery store (let alone the Farmer's Market or the local produce shop). Sometimes we don't get home from work until it is well past our bedtimes. And sometimes my husband, who doesn't care for healthy wholesome eating, just wants to eat out, or he wants a plate full of white spaghetti with Ragu from a jar...not ideal but certainly ever now and then I will accommodate his tastes. So, I do the best that I can. For example, I often will cook up a big batch of steel cut oats and I will freeze it in single container portions. Then I can just pop one out of the freezer for my breakfast when I need to. Sometimes though, I end up resorting to convenience foods. I can't stand instant oatmeal, but I have found that the Quaker Real Medleys don't seem quite as fake to me. And in reading the ingredient list, it doesn't seem quite as nefarious as do those little packets of instant oats. I'll admit though, they do have some sodium and sugar added, so they aren't all that innocent! But, when the going gets rough, sometimes I am happy to have those little containers of oatmeal. Another thing that I have discovered is pre-chopped veggies. Frankly, they are pretty expensive so that isn't always the best way to go. If I lived in an ideal world, I would buy lots of red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers and I would chop them up and freeze them so as to always have them handy. But, in the real world, I have discovered that the frozen bell pepper mix from Trader Joe's does come in handy on a night when I am in a pinch to get some dinner on the table - and it adds desperately needed veggies to our diet! I know that a lot of people are purists and only believe in eating at home and would never use convenience foods. I respect that. Please respect me. My situation is not the same as yours. I work hard, play harder and it is a hard balance for me to achieve. I try to make wise healthy choices and I think that I do a respectable job of it given my situation. I eat six or seven times a day and most of the time I take home cooked meals with me to work - I am not always chowing down on food from a box that I got at the store! But I am doing my best and I think that using certain convenience foods CAN be part of a healthy lifestyle.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I eat healthily to live, dont live to eat healthily! Sounds like you have a good balanced diet. Feel free to get on with life without obsessing about everything you eat!
    1426 days ago
    I can hear it is not easy... but I see you also notice more and more things that are in favour of you.

    I used to eat a lot out (including the company cafeteria), and just quick-non-healthy food at home. It took me about a year to consciously convert my style to be more intentional about what, where and how I eat.

    I still don't cook a lot, because despite I love cooking, I prefer to spend my time differently, so we eat a lot of fresh, cold, and very easy to make meals. What I discovered lately, that we can still eat healthy this way, and many people who cook, eat very heavy and unhealthy.

    My experience is that new habits take time to develop, and somehow nutrition habits take longer to start and stick then nutrition habits. What I eat is influenced by my family history, the society around me, my colleagues, my own habits, body needs, ... not all of them in favour of a healthy choice. But I'm getting there.

    How is your commute looking like?
    Driving, or public transport?

    I also use my commutes to do some other healthy related things, listen to the Nutrition Diva and Get-Fit-Guy podcasts, read my healthy books and magazines, reply to posts on SparkPeople. Sometimes, I'm just tired, and sleep, but when I have these ready with me, so if I want, I can do.
    1510 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/27/2014 3:32:36 AM
    You sound just like me with the steel cut oatmeal, the pasta husband and the cut peppers! Other go to fast healthy food....pre made salads with dressing on the side, Greek yogurt w/fruit and agave nectar, scrambled eggs with veggies is a good go to (your husband can pour on cheese)....have you bought all natural vanilla protein powder? Awesome fast....just add a banana, frozen blueberries, kale. I have a pumpkin protein shake in my recent blogs...yummy (organic canned whole pumpkin). Also just adding spice rub and grilling chicken breast with sautéed onion and peppers on the side. These are my quickie favorites!
    1510 days ago
  • JULIA_211
    Boy do I hear you! We all have to do the best we can with the time and choices we have. Your ideas are excellent! I use the frozen pepper strips for cooking, and I read and compare the labels of convenience food and choose the lowest in sodium and sugar. I will have to try the steel cut oats in the freezer idea! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1534 days ago
    Way to go. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years.
    1534 days ago
    I am with you. Sometimes you do what you have to do and at times it can be difficult when you are on your own. When others want to have something fattier or not as healthy as you want to eat. I applaud you for doing what you can and I completely agree!
    1534 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    I hear you! In our busy days, some of those prepackaged items are a life saver on certain days. I do try to buy lots of fruits and veggies and to eat healthy and compared t a couple of years ago, my diet is so much healthier.
    We all have to do the best that we can with the time that we have so keep on eating healthy, no matter the packaging!
    1534 days ago
    It sounds like you are on the right track :)
    1534 days ago
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