Convenience foods don't have to be too expensive or stand out from your healthy diet.
Premade foods don't have a good reputation, but only a few deserve it. As they make our lives simpler, no doubt there is something wrong with them. Partially it’s true, since most of them have a higher price than separate ingredients, and sometimes they contain more sugar or it’s challenging to fit them into your daily calorage.
Luckily there are lots of premade foods that enter the category “healthy and cheap,” as you can see in this EatCheapandHealthy thread on Reddit. Here are our top healthy bites that you can buy for a reasonable price.
Grilled chickens are very good because they are rich in protein. Another advantage is that you can choose from lean meat and dark meat, and can cook a soup using bones. Besides, they are usually very cheap, as many supermarkets use grilled chickens as bait to attract clients, and people, in turn, don’t expect grilled chickens to be expensive as supermarkets rival all the time.
It’s not a secret that bagged salads have higher prices than if you make them yourself, at least people say so. But if you make a salad on your own, you have some ingredients left, like half a bottle of salad dressing and a piece of an onion that you most likely leave behind until they expire. When you buy bagged salads, there is no need to think about how to use up the other ingredients that are left, and the salad keeps its freshness in its original package for a long time. (Here’s a tip: if you don’t want to eat the whole bag, just pour the dressing that remains into containers and keep the salad in small baggies.)
Redditors say you can often pick up a bagged salad for a dollar if it’s close to its expiration date, making it an even better buy.
By buying Tuna you kill two birds as it’s very cheap, and has great nutrition facts like high protein and omega-3 fatty acids levels. It’s better to buy tuna in packets, not cans, that will be a good choice for a quick lunch. A person from Reddit recommends picking up tuna with the addition of lemon pepper, garlic and herb, sweet and spicy sauce, or other flavors. Add them to a salad, combine them with crackers, or choose mayonnaise as a dressing and a quick salad with tuna is ready.
Vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet, but to be honest do you eat enough? Frozen vegetables are usually cheaper than fresh ones, but nutrition facts are identical. One more good thing about frozen veggies is that they stay fresh in your refrigerator even though you don’t eat them in time. You can discover new tastes if you try blends: classic like carrots and pears and others, for example, cauliflower-broccoli blends, stir-fry mixed and so on. If you don’t have enough spare time and have a couple of dollars, you can buy vegetables in steamer bags, but the usual bags are cheaper, and it’s not difficult to roast or fry them.
Redditor kite_height advises: “Try to add some frozen stir fry vegetables to your ramen. Sometimes you can put an egg there if you like. It will save your time and give you a better taste than ordinary ramen.”
It was briefly discussed in the thread, but I can’t express how I adore frozen burritos. You can find a variety of flavors with all types of nutrition facts. All you have to do is to heat it up when you don’t have enough time or you’re in a hurry. What is a burrito meal type? It can be a meal or a main dish. Trader Joe’s chile verde chicken burritos are my favorite, and their carne asada is awesome as well.
We used to treat canned beans more as a piece of a dish than a premade food, but actually, they can be both. If you cook beans on your own, it takes quite a time because they should be soaked first, and to open a can of beans needs claims no time at all. Add some beans you prefer with some veggies, rice, and meats, if you want to, and a cheap meal that’s rich in fiber and protein is ready. Another option is to make a salad-like dish: mix chickpeas with parmesan, lemon, olive oil, and enjoy.
A user from Reddit named the Tasty Bite brand particularly, but there are loads of companies that specify in fast, microwaveable types of Indian stews such as dal (they make with lentils), channa masala (a chickpea curry), and so on. I’m personally addicted to Trader Joe’s kitchari, a high-calorie blend of legumes and grains. Serve with some rice or bread. You can find at least one or two options in many grocery stores, but check out your local Indian shops if you want to get a bigger choice.
Convenience foods are often bought for holidays, when you want a grocery store to make a cheese plate for you, or roast you a turkey. Some Redditors noticed that these products are often dirt-cheap right after the holiday, since shops try to get rid of the items they haven’t managed to sell.
Atomic76 notices: “I’ve seen thick slices of roast turkey (not the one you usually eat for lunch but the similar you have for Thanksgiving) at a very low price. And for example, soon after Easter, whole peeled pineapples were very affordable.