I work full time outside the home and then in the rest of my time try to exercise regularly, blog, take care of my home and pets, nurture my marriage, manage our money and eat healthy.
I’ve found it easier to eat healthier if I cook at home but really don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing meals after getting up at 4 am and having a full day doing all the things I listed. My secret other than meal planning is to exchange money for convenience. Here are eight things I buy that make it easier for me to live healthier every day.
1. Precut Vegetables. The thought of chopping onions every time a recipe calls for them was enough for me to run out and buy fast food in the pass. Now I buy diced onions (fresh or frozen) and don’t shy away from any recipe calling for them. Other vegetables I buy precut at times includes: carrots, celery, cabbage and broccoli stems.
2. Precooked Brown Rice. Brown rice takes a long time to cook and when I’m making dinner after a long day, its too long! Instead we buy the precooked frozen brown rice at Trader Joe’s. Three minutes in the microwave and we have perfectly prepared rice for two.
3. Prepared Mashed Potatoes. Mashed potatoes aren’t the healthiest food but you need variety in your starches, right? Mine will never come out as good as the prepared ones at Costco so we buy this occasionally to have with dinner.
4. Roasted Chicken. I don’t know how Costco or Sam’s Club make any money on their large roasted chickens, but I’ll gladly pay $5 for a perfectly roasted chicken that gives us three meals (easily) and lots of time back.
5. Packaged Nuts. I buy prepackaged 100 calorie packs of almonds for portion control purposes. I can’t trust myself to stop at the same number of nuts if I have a bigger bag.
6. Instant Oatmeal. Yes, it’s cheaper to buy the container of oats than individually packaged servings but they’re definitely not as portable. This way I can take packs to the office or on trips.
7. Frozen Meals. Keeping a few frozen low-calorie meals in the freezer has kept us from running for fast foods many a night.
8. Bagged Salad. I hate making salads but know we need to eat them more often. Even though it is more expensive, I buy salad in a bag. We do add at least one more vegetable to the salad mix.
9. Precut Fruit. I don’t buy precut fruit but wanted to put it out there for people who don’t eat enough fruit because of this barrier. Go ahead and spend the extra money on precut apples or buy a mini fruit tray to eat from all week. I do buy frozen berries so we can have them year round in yogurt, pancakes and smoothies.
For us spending more money on foods that facilitate healthier eating at home is worth it. The extra cost is easily recovered with one fewer restaurant outing a week. IN the long term who knows how much medical expenses are being avoided.
Do you ever pay more for convenience? Why?
Bagged spinach is it for me, I kind of like doing the prep and I do stuff like that while my kids are doing their homework. I do buy prepacked school snacks like Sunchips at Costco.
Anne @GenFabulous says
I use all of these from time to time, except for the cut fruit. Those roasted chickens can be a life saver! Dinner tonight, chicken salad for lunch then next day, and chicken soup the day after that.
Of course and we justify it based on our hourly wage. I also have repairmen or painters do things I may or may not be able to do myself based on my time. The real issue is does the convenience put your finances in trouble or make you overspend?
Kay Lynn says
Krantcents, that’s a good way to think about it. We treasure our handyman who takes the jobs that we’d struggle at and finishes them in much less time and probably at less cost with our lack of fix it knowledge.
Midlife Finance says
The only precut stuff I buy is bag spinach/frozen spinach. The fresh stuff is always so muddy. Other than that I don’t mind doing the prep. I used to work in a restaurant so I’m pretty quick.
The roasted chicken is a good deal and I buy that once in a while.
Kay Lynn says
Midlife Finance, unfortunately I never worked in a restaurant so I’m pretty slow at the food prep. The one thing I won’t buy precut is apples. I either eat them whole or cut them up myself.