Packaged foods get a bad rep from health connoisseurs around the world, but most of us are either in school or at work most of the day and thus have a very limited amount of time to make everything from scratch. Here are a few healthier options for ready-made food that won’t sacrifice your budget and your health.
This seasoned medley of vegetables is the perfect side for a dinner after a long day of work. Just throw these in the skillet with the thyme-infused canola and olive oil blend and you’re good to go.
Per 1 1/4 cups: 140 cal, 7g fat, 180mg sodium
Most tomato sauces come loaded with added sugar like high fructose corn syrup. However, this option skips the added sugar and relies on the sweetness of the tomatoes instead. Even better, the Monte Bene tomato sauce contains about one-half to one-third the sodium compared to regular tomato sauce brands, according to Elisa Zied, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips.
Per 1/2 cup: 24 cal, 1g fat, 191mg sodium
This delicious spread is a great alternative for peanut butter. Peanut butter packs in a lot of added sugar, fat, and sodium, but almond butter is a much healthier alternative.
Per ounce: 190 calories, 18g fat, 0g sodium, 1g sugar
Many pre-packaged yogurts at the grocery store contain heaps of added sugar, especially those that are advertised to have fruit on the bottom. According to Hurley, “the most ‘fruited’ yogurts have 3-4 teaspoons of added sugar.” This Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt makes the perfect breakfast or snack (I’m actually eating it right now) and can be dressed up with fruits, nuts, and agave nectar for a dose of extra sweetness.
For 5.3 ounces: 90 calories, 0g of saturated fat, 15g of protein, 15% of your daily calcium requirement and 1 teaspoon of sugar
Most packaged soups are stocked high with sodium, but here’s a much healthier alternative for those nights when you don’t have time to cook.
Per cup: 90 calories, 0g of saturated fat, and 280mg of sodium
For those who like a bit of seafood in their diet, try these SeaPak Salmon Burgers that are wild and caught sustainably. They are rich in Omega-3 which also has great benefits for the heart.
Per burger: 110 calories, 3g fat, 380mg sodium
Sausages are quite the mystery food because you never know what gets stuffed into those casings. However, these organic sausages are free of preservatives, have no added nitrates, and even contain 15% percent of your daily value for vitamin A. They also have half the calories and one-third the fat of beef sausages.
Per link: 160 calories, 10g fat, 430mg sodium