Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an advocate for eating a diet of whole, unprocessed foods. Processed foods are foods that have been compromised by the addition of hormones, additives, and preservatives that alter or destroy the natural healthy enzymes, fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals. They offer no nutritional value to our diets and often make us feel lethargic and weighed down. However, there are definitely some nights when I’m running short on time or don’t have the energy to put together a sit down meal. I’ve come to accept that processed and packaged foods are going to be a part of my diet. In fact, many processed foods can deliver lots of nutrition without doing any harm. Here’s a roundup of foods that, though processed and packaged, pack a nutritional punch.
- Yogurt. Duh, I think we all know yogurt can be a healthy packaged food. Unless you’re eating Gogurt or some other artificial Yoplait stuff.
- Canned beans. If you don’t have time to soak them, canned beans are just fine. Be sure that you’re buying low-sodium versions to keep your sodium in check.
- Canned salmon. I doubt many of you are spending a lot of time fishing (if you do fish, can I come? It seems relaxing) and fresh fish can be expensive in the store. Canned salmon and tuna have the same nutritional value and are easier on your wallet.
- Hummus. If you don’t have time to make your own, store bought hummus is cool. Personally, I wouldn’t make my own hummus because I like the fun flavored ones like pizza.
- Frozen edamame. Frozen edamame is great for adding to soups and casseroles for extra fiber and protein.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables. Not only are they cheaper than their fresher counterparts, but they’re picked at the pick of ripeness so they retain all of their nutritional value.
- Jarred spaghetti sauce. The process of cooking actually improves the quality of the antioxidant carotenoids that give tomatoes their color, making jarred sauce a healthful choice. Sauces are also seasoned with herbs, which add vitamins and minerals such as potassium. Just keep the fact that you’re using a jarred sauce a secret from your Italian grandmother.
- Instant rice. I use instant brown rice a few times a week. I’d rather eat in ten minutes than wait the 45 minutes it takes for traditional rice.
- Eggs. Natures own packaged food! Eggs are a fantastic source of high-quality protein and are also one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring sources of vitamin D. They can be scrambled, poached, fried and even hard-boiled for an on the go snack.
What are some of your favorite healthy packaged foods?