Convenience foods get a bad rap, but the truth is not all convenience foods are created equal and adding some to your menu can greatly reduce your stress and actually be good for you!

If you’ve been following along for any length of time now you now I’m all about cooking from scratch (if you haven’t check out my post on why cooking from scratch matters or how meal planning and prepping has changed my life)

But like all things in life, when cooking gets out of balance it can actually end up causing more harm than good.

Like when I’m stuck in the kitchen for 3 hours at night, my husband stuck on dish duty and me trying to find a recipe to avoid using “ketchup” in a recipe.

Let’s just go ahead and insert a great big eye roll right here.

Cooking from scratch is great, but what about those times that cooking just doesn't make sense.  This dietitian is dishing on which convenience foods she purchases from the store to make her life easier AND give her the extra time to put other homemade things on the table more often.

So how do you choose which foods you should invest time and energy into making, and which convenience foods you can just grab from the store??

Well, this is a deeply personal question and really depends where you are in your parenting journey, your health journey, and your life in general.

…But to give you just a little bit of a jumpstart so you don’t have to make ALL THE THINGS to find out, I’m sharing a few of my favorite things to purchase and combine with homemade food for what I like to call a homemade-ish diet!

Convenience Foods this dietitian swears by

1. Bagged Salads-Making a salad gets expensive quick! It’s also hard to get through all of those fresh ingredients before it goes bad so I love adding a bagged salad to my dinners as a way to get those veggies in!

2. Pre-chopped veggies-You definitely pay for this convenience, but some nights I just need dinner to happen and letting someone else chop my veggies gives me just the right amount of extra help I need to put dinner on the table

3. Storebought bread- I wish I was a “homemade bread” kinda gal, and while I like to make it as a special treat I have not yet mastered making it regularly

4. Frozen fruit and veggies-Let’s stop demonizing fruit and veggies when none of us are eating enough of them. If frozen is the way you get them in, that’s totally fine!

5. Tortilla Chips-I’ve tried making them. Totally not worth the investment of time, and let’s face it. Tortilla chips aren’t the beacon of health in your diet anyway so don’t stress about making them.

6. Uncooked flour tortillas-If you love the taste of fresh tortillas, uncooked tortillas are totally the way to go!

7. Crackers-If you have kids, crackers are probably on your grocery list regularly, I’ve never tried making them…but I think I’ll just let the store take care of this one for me.

8. Canned tomatoes-I don’t love the flavor of most canned veggies, but tomatoes are delicious and can help you make homemade pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce super quickly!

9. BBQ Sauce-BBQ sauce is actually pretty fun and easy to make! But sometimes I just don’t have the time, be sure to check labels on this one as bbq sauce can have lots of added sugars so find one that meets your health and nutrition goals.

10. Canned Beans-A pressure cooker makes canned beans totally do-able, but if your freezer isn’t stocked, you probably still don’t have the 30 minutes it will take to add them to your dinner, so canned beans to the rescue!

11.Canned Tuna-Most of us don’t get that recommended fish in our diet regularly, canned tuna is a fast and easy way to get it!

12. Coleslaw Mix-Eat it raw in a salad OR mix it in with something else like these shrimp thai rice noodles (a 30 minute meal!)

13. Condiments-I’ve tried making my own ketchup. It was gross. Plus, how much ketchup can one person really get through before it goes bad? Just. not. worth. it.

14. Chicken broth/stock-I would love to get better at making this, but until then better than bouillon in all the flavors is totally delicious!

15. Sausage-Just no. Tried it, and I’ll stick to the store thanks.

Resources:

FREE Meal Plan Magic Facebook Group

Free Meal Plan Magic email mini course

Homemade Naan

Homemade Seasoning Salt

Benefits of meal planning and prepping

Why cooking from scratch is totally worth it

Amanda

Amanda is a dietitian turned mom and food blogger. Her goal is to change lives one family at a time by providing easy, from scratch, family friendly recipes that the whole family will enjoy!

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#21 Convenience foods this Dietitian Swears by