Make packaged meals as healthy as home cooking

As with everything in life, what the groceries you choose at the store help determine your health. Here are a few basic guidelines for shopping wisely for food, wherever you are.

Make packaged meals as healthy as home cooking

These days, many of us stop at the supermarket on our way home, not for raw ingredients for dinner but for convenient meals that just need to be slipped into the microwave for a few minutes. They're called "prepared meals," and more and more supermarkets are turning over large sections of floor space to them, as well as to frozen foods. If you're willing to spend the money, you may never need to cook at home again.

1. Purchase mall quantities

  • If you buy prepared food to save time, buy only those things you don't have time to make. The less you buy pre-made, the more control you have over what you're eating.
  • So choose a rotisserie chicken, by all means, but also go to the fresh food department for a potato to microwave instead of buying fried or roast potatoes, and add some broccoli that you can quickly steam or some colourful fresh salad ingredients.

2. Get two meals at a time

  • Again, you're trying to save time. So that whole roasted chicken you got for tonight can double as a chicken Caesar salad tomorrow night.
  • If you're making a bowl of couscous to go with your takeout dinner tonight, double the amount and pick up some extra vegetables and feta cheese at the salad bar for a Mediterranean salad the following night. Or perhaps for lunch tomorrow.

3. Go for sushi

Low in fat, sushi is one of your best bets when running into your supermarket for dinner, and many stores now stock a good selection. Can't stand the thought of raw fish? Lots of stores offer cooked-fish sushi or even veggie-only sushi.

4. Have an indoor picnic for dinner

For a fresh take on healthy eating, buy a loaf of whole-grain bread, a basket of strawberries, a favourite low-fat cheese, some thinly sliced roast beef or turkey, some olives, pre-cooked shrimp, cherry tomatoes, pre-sliced green or red peppers and bite-size carrots. When you get home, throw it all on the table and – after properly cleaning any fruit or veggies – declare that dinner is served. This type of "grazing" dinner is fun, easy and a pleasant change. Make it a twice-monthly ritual.

5. Smart sandwich selections

Order sandwiches or rolls with turkey or chicken, lots of vegetable fillings such as tomato, lettuce, peppers and cucumber and just a little spread. Ask for whole-grain bread.

6. Stock up on produce

Order twice as much of the prepared vegetables as you do of the main course.

7. Pick up a rotisserie chicken but remove the skin

  • Much of the internal fat from a rotisserie chicken drips out in the cooking, but the skin still holds lots of the stuff.
  • Add a salad, a box of instant brown rice and some sliced tomatoes and you've got a healthy, easy, barely-have-to-cook-it meal.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu