11 Healthy Convenience Foods You’ll Be Happy to Cook With
Too busy to cook from scratch? Use a handful of healthy store bought foods to cut your cooking time in half!
We would all love to spend Sunday afternoon watching a pot of tomato sauce simmer on the stove. Fresh tomatoes are rich in antioxidants that can lower your risk for heart disease and cancer. They’re also delicious! Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a whole day stirring your sauce to be able to make all your favorite Italian recipes, including this cheesy manicotti—yep, it’s healthy! The cost ($8 for two jars) is well worth the time saved.
There’s nothing like the smell of fresh dough rising in the oven. Even if you don’t have hours to cook, you can still enjoy homemade pizza any time you like. This premade crust ($6) is thin and crispy, but sturdy enough for all your favorite toppings. And because it is made from whole grains, it’s high in fiber keeping you full all night long. Try it with this garden veggie pizza.
If you can’t convince your family to get down with salad for dinner, maybe it’s time to try a new dressing. Toss this sesame dressing ($5) with greens, chopped vegetables and cooked chicken for a hearty meal, or use the dressing in a stir fry. It’s free of MSG and low in sugar, making it the perfect flavoring for any dish, like this gingery pasta salad.
If you are not cooking with precooked rice, you have time to save in the kitchen. This whole grain rice is high in fiber and B vitamins and already seasoned with roasted garlic, corn and fresh vegetables. It takes seconds to make and at $15 for a set of six, you can’t go wrong. Pair it with a recipe like this Red Pepper Chicken.
Looking for a perfect appetizer recipe on Pinterest? Put down the phone and grab a jar of Italian blend olives ($6). They’re loaded with healthy fats that reduce inflammation and keep you satisfied. Serve them on crusty bread or as the center of your cheese plate. It’s a visit to Italy as soon as you pop open the jar!
If you’re interested in adding more plant-based foods to your diet, finding the right non-dairy milk is a must. Almond milk ($2) is soy-free, lactose-free, vegan and can be used over cereal, in smoothies and even in your favorite baking recipes. We love it in these breakfast bowls.
Spending a couple hours each week prepping your meals can save you loads of time in the long run. A rotisserie chicken can provide meals for days, while giving you an easy source of lean protein. Serve with roasted vegetables for dinner, then transform it into chicken salad for your lunches for the rest of the week.
Don’t limit yourself to a plain baked potato for your side dish every night. Canned beans pack a nutritious punch of plant-based protein and fiber and are a delicious way to change up your routine. These baked white beans ($18 for six) are cooked in tomato sauce and ready to serve as a super quick side.
A bagged salad mix ($3) can take you from walking in the door to a healthy dinner on the table in a matter of minutes (hello, eggs Benedict salad!). The greens are already prepped and trimmed, so give a quick rinse, add your favorite dressing and protein and sit down to relax.
Every home cook should keep a few cans of wild tuna ($4) in their pantry for busy days. This low-sodium tuna can be tossed on a salad or spread on whole grain toast for a speedy, nutritious lunch. It’s a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Serve this crunchy tuna salad with tomatoes in a pinch!
You’ll never have to rummage through the cabinets searching for a healthy snack again. This hummus and crackers snack pack ($2) is perfect for a quick bite on the run or an impressive appetizer for guests. Hummus is a favorite among vegetarians and vegans alike for its creamy texture and high protein content without the animal products. Add some feta cheese and fresh vegetables to whip up seven layer Mediterranean dip.
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