How to make and prepare convenience foods at home

October 9, 2015

A growing number of cooks are discovering that they can make their own convenience foods — all it takes is a freezer and planning. Instead of discarding leftovers, for example, make up a frozen pre-packaged meal that can be popped in the microwave at a later date. This approach also allows you to control the amount of fat, salt and other ingredients. Here are some more tips for making your own convenience foods at home.

How to make and prepare convenience foods at home

Pakaging produce

  • Buy extra fresh vegetables that are in season and freeze them for later use.
  • Be sure to date packages, and use the oldest first.
  • Processing may strip vitamins and minerals from some foods, but there are exceptions in which convenience foods are actually more nutritious than their fresh counterparts.
  • Vegetables and many fruits harvested and quick-frozen at their peak often have more vita­mins than those picked before maturity, shipped long distances and then allowed to sit on store shelves.
  • Most enriched cereals and breads provide more nutrients than those made with the original grains.

The cost of convenience foods

  • Convenience foods carry a higher price tag than the total cost of their ingredients.
  • Most convenience foods also tend to contain more sugar, salt and fat than comparable dishes prepared at home.
  • Combining convenience foods with fresh ingredients can save both time and money while increasing interest and nutritional value.
  • You can build a tasty and nutritious meal around a frozen entrée by adding a green salad and seasonal vegetables that take only minutes to prepare.

Add a simple side salad

  • When preparing a meal consisting of processed food, like a frozen lasagna, always add a side salad.
  • A fresh green salad provides a wide assortment of valuable nutrients.

Anyone who follows the basic rules of variety, moderation and balance can work convenience foods into a healthful, nutritious diet.


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