When choosing packaged foods, it is important to read the labels. This can be time consuming but worth it. To save time, consider focusing especially on foods low in sugar, low in salt and high in protein. Steer clear of anything containing high fructose corn syrup that’s an unnecessary sugar additive. Why do we even need sugar ? Foods with the fewest ingredients are best. If you do not know what an ingredient is, chances are it’s not good for you.
Marketing techniques labeling foods as Lite, gluten free, healthy or wheat may not always be the healthiest option. As an educated consumer you need to know the difference. Many so called”wheat” products may not be whole grain or made from whole wheat. Wheat flour, unbleached wheat flour, multigrain, improved, and stone-ground wheat flour are alternative methods of saying”refined white flour.”
To save you some time in the grocery store, I have compiled a list of packed healthy foods that can also help you save money. Here are 6 packaged foods that I recommend:
1. Canned beans. Opt for the low salt version if you can. Always rinse the beans thoroughly to wash away any unnecessary salt. Try to prevent beans with sauce or refried beans that tend to be high in sodium.
2. vegetables. Steamables are a wonderful choice when you are in a rush or simply too tired to cook. They are quick and simple and give you little clean up. They can be expensive, so stock up when they’re on sale. I have found them available for as little or near $1 a bag.
3. Frozen berries. Not only are they delicious, but can really save you money. Consider mixing them in plain Greek yogurt. Or serving them with pancakes or French toast. It makes a natural sweet sauce. Occasionally we thaw them in the microwave, which makes them a little warm to pour over our sandwiches. It gives it a flavor that’s almost like a crepe.
4. Nut butter. It takes a while to stir, but if you keep it in the refrigerator, you shouldn’t need to stir it again.
5. Low sugar cereals. Ideally cereals should have less than 6 grams of sugar. Opt for whole grain cereal such as toasted oats and muesli. Unsweetened instant oatmeal can be thrown in the microwave for a quick & healthy breakfast.
6. Canned Tuna fish. This is a fast and inexpensive source of protein. I pack my tuna salad with a lot of vegetables like onions, celery, carrots, vinegar, pepper and olive oil mayonnaise (it tastes just like the real thing without adding as much fat and calories).
When picking pre-packaged foods only remember, marketing can be deceptive. The fewer ingredients, the more natural the product. Look for whole wheat flour as a primary ingredient when picking whole grain foods. Try to stay away from processed foods that are high in sodium, sugar or include high fructose corn syrup.