One of the biggest barriers to healthy eating is convenience. We live in a world where everything is so convenient. We can order something online and have it shipped to our next the very same day (thank you Amazon Prime). Uber Eats and Postmates allow us to have delicious restaurant food without even leaving our house. If you go to the grocery store you realize that there are endless food options available that require no work whatsoever. There are freezer meals that can become dinner in less than five minutes. Chips and cookies are individually packaged and waiting for you in the vending machine down the hall. Convenient foods are such a big part of our world, that I don’t think most of us even realize how much we are relying on them.
I hate to break it to you, but where food is concerned, the most convenient option is rarely the best for you. Prepackaged foods tend to have a lot of preservatives and additives to keep them fresher longer. They often have outrageously high levels of sodium and sugar to ensure that they still taste good even though they aren’t fresh. While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally gabbing a bag of chips or choosing a freezer friendly meal after a long day of work, it’s not something that should become a regular habit.
In this post I wanted to give you a few healthy options that are still convenient. Healthy usually means a tad more prep work. However, if you prep at the beginning of the week you can have enough healthy food to last you until the end of the week.
Some of my favorite options for convenient foods include…
Something that is so simple is to cut your veggies right when you get home from the grocery store. If you put them in the drawer and tell yourself you’ll cut them later, chances are you’re going to forget about them. And trust me, there’s nothing more off putting than finding old soggy vegetables in the back of your produce drawer. If you prep veggies then you have an easy snack to pack with you during your work week. This will help prevent the temptation of grabbing a bag of chips from the vending machine. I usually have some sort of a dip on hand like like hummus or my avocado pesto for added flavor.
Fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds
Another easy snack to reach for is fruit. Fruit is the perfect dessert to snack on when you’re watching TV in the evening. Yes, fruit does contain sugar, but it is also full of beneficial vitamins and nutrients that are bodies need to thrive. Instead of grabbing a bag of sour patch kids or some skittles, go for fruit. Berries have the lowest glycemic index and are loaded with antioxidants, so they are a great option if you want something sweet without spiking your insulin too much. This post is a good refresher of what glycemic index is. Nuts and seeds are a great source of fat and protein, and are especially rich in magnesium. Research has shown that when people crave chocolate, they are often deficient in magnesium. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, grab a handful of your favorite nuts and seeds.
Banana Nice Cream
Banana nice cream is one of my favorite healthy treats. It’s ridiculously easy to make and is just as satisfying as traditional ice cream. All you need are a few frozen bananas and a blender and within minutes you’ll have a delicious bowl of ice cream. This is a great way of getting your ice cream fix without all of the added ingredients and artificial flavors. It may be a bit more labor intensive than just grabbing a pint from your local grocery store, but I promise it’s worth it. I lay out the details of making a delicious bowl of banana nice cream and give some fun flavors to try here.
It’s so common for people to either skip breakfast or to grab something convenient like a quick bowl of cereal or a poptart. Research has shown that eating breakfast sets you up to have more energy and be more successful in your day. Smoothies are my go to on busy mornings because they require little prep and can be enjoyed on the go. A simple trick to making smoothies easy is to prep smoothie bags at the beginning of the week. Throw in a handful of spinach, some cut up fresh or frozen fruit, a half of an avocado, some fresh cut veggies (I use zucchini and cauliflower for a more mild taste), and a tablespoon of chia seeds into a ziplock bag and freeze. In the morning grab your premade bag of goodies and add to the blender along with some almond milk and a scoop of protein powder.
What are some of your favorite healthy convenient foods?