Packaged Foods Series: Perishability and Convenience

“I want to make eating healthy and preparing meals as difficult and complicated as possible” … said no one ever. Packaged foods provide a convenient and time-efficient way to eat balanced, nutritious foods without the hassle.

Many packaged foods are easy to “grab-and-go” and require very little preparation.  Products that come in single-serving sizes make great snacks because they are easy to pack and help you with proper portion control. Try buying single-serving packages of jerky, hummus, guacamole, trail mix, or pretzels.

Packaged foods also make it easier to prepare meals, no dishwashing required. Instead of making brown rice from scratch on the stove, you can buy rice that can be prepared in the microwave. Washing, cleaning and chopping fresh produce can be a lot of work, so it's fine to buy them frozen or canned—nutrition made easy and convenient.

Do you hate fighting the crowds and waiting in long lines at the grocery store? Some packaged foods are non-perishable or have a longer shelf life; you can stock your freezer and pantry and make the trip to the grocery store less often. Some grocery list suggestions: frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, fortified cereal or granola bars, microwavable frozen brown rice, popcorn, canned beans, canned or pouched tuna, deli meat, whole grain pasta, yogurt cups or tubes, and cheese sticks.

With packaged foods, you're far less likely to have to throw out older foods that have gone bad, or to feel extra stressed when it’s 8 p.m. and dinner hasn’t been made. So turn to your trusty shelf-stable foods to keep healthy eating simple.

This blog was written by Shelby Santin, a dietetic intern at the University of Maryland.

Don't forget to check out the other parts to the series!
Packaged Foods Video
Part 1: Nutrition Enhancements
Part 2: Time Saving

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