Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Healthier Convenience Foods

I am busy. You are, too. We have responsibilities. Most of us have husbands. Many of us have children. Some of us are even crazy enough to home school those children. A few of us even have work-for-money jobs as well as all those things we do for nothing but sticky kisses and the change we find in the washing machine.

So, I get the fact that you like convenience. I do, too. However, most of the convenience foods we buy at the store come at a price. A price to our pocketbook, and whether we want to admit it or not, our health.

I decided to share with you a few of the convenience foods we enjoy that are healthier and taste oh so much better, too! Maybe you can get a few new ideas. I'd love for you to share your own in the comments as well.

1. Popcorn
I hate to break it to you, but when you buy microwave popcorn, there is a lot in there besides corn. If you eat a lot of popcorn, or if you eat it in massive amounts when you do make it (not that we do that....I'm just sayin'), it can be pricey as well. Buy some paper lunch sacks and a bag of yellow popcorn and make it yourself. Add some melted butter and salt before popping in the microwave or try this delicious Kettle Corn for a sweet treat.

2. Hot Cocoa
It's embarrassing to admit how old I was before I realized that one could make hot cocoa from, well, cocoa. I just figured it wouldn't quite be the same without those neat little packets. Then, while reading the side of my trusty Hershey's cocoa canister one day, I realized that there was a way to throw some cocoa and sugar in a mug and add milk to make my own delicious cup. And delicious is right! Adding water to some chemicals just does not compare to real whole milk in real chocolate. Yum!

3. Hamburger Helper
In our early days of marriage, one of these little boxes was cheap and it fed my husband and I. It also promised variety since it came in so many different flavors. I have no idea if they are still cheap, but I have a feeling that it would take at least 3 boxes to feed my family since they already polish off alarming amounts considering they are years away from being teenagers. Laura of Heavenly Homemakers has this great solution which I tried not too long ago. We still polished it off, but I didn't have to worry about unidentifiable chemicals.

4. Onion Soup Mix
This seems to be a staple in a lot of meat dishes to add flavor. I won't get all scientific, but let me just tell you it's not the onions doing the flavoring. For a long time, I just used garlic and onions to replace this flavoring. We were happy, but I was really ecstatic to find another of Laura's recipes for this mix. Now I can jazz up meat dishes and casseroles without jazzing up the MSG.

5. Fruit Snacks
Ah! Fruit snacks. The "healthy" snack of the '90s. After all, they were fat free and the label said they contained real fruit juice. I ate these as my fruit serving in my lunch box for years. Now they occasionally make their way into our house. Usually because someone has given them to the kids. As much as they like snacks, it's just not cost-effective for me to buy something that doesn't fill them up. When they do get them, I put them in the candy dish with the Lemon Heads. Because they're the same thing.

The fruit snacks I do buy? They come in colors like red, orange, yellow, blue and purple. The kind of colors that don't have numbers after them. They come in neat little packages, too. The yellow and orange have biodegradable packaging that just peels off. The red, blue and purple can be eaten in their packaging. Yep, you guessed it. We buy the original fruit snacks that remember when they hung on a tree or bush. A lot more filling than a drop of fruit juice, a ton of sugar and more of those lab-concocted ingredients.

What about you? What convenience foods do you make at home?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thank you for the onion soup mix recipe...how nice to have an alternative that is MSG-free! I can't wait to try it!