We are always told to minimise the number of foods we eat that come from a packet. But, is it absolutely all bad?
Good quality packaged foods are important pantry staples that form the base of many healthy, convenient meals. The key is just to know what you are looking for, and to be savvy with label reading.
1. Tinned tuna and salmon
Tinned fish is a really convenient option for a healthy lunch or even snack. Choose a can in spring water if possible and add your own flavouring. Be wary of tins in olive oil, as some of those are actually olive oil blends, and only contain a small amount of olive oil, with other oils added.
2. Canned legumes and lentils
Canned legumes and lentils such as chickpeas, red kidneys beans, black beans and brown lentils are so versatile and can be added to so many dishes, and used to make delicious homemade snacks such a hommus. Always drain and rinse before using to cut the salt content.
3. Frozen fruit and vegetables
There is absolutely nothing wrong with frozen fruit and veg! In fact, in some cases they can be more nutritious than fresh produce which may have sat in the supermarket for some time. So easy and convenient too!
4. Wholegrain crackers
Crackers with nut butter are one of my go-to snacks. I always look for crackers that have plenty of grains and seeds in them, and steer clear of the overly processed crackers which are not very sustaining. The more grain and seed you can see the better!
Yoghurt is high in protein, calcium and probiotics for gut health. It is also a very convenient snack to have on the run. However, it can also be high in fats and sugar. Getting a balance between fat and sugar can be tricky as often the low fat options are packed with sugar. Ideally look for a natural, reduced fat yoghurt, that also has less than 10g of sugar per 100g. Then you can add your own fresh fruit or nuts and seeds for flavour.
6. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter would have to be one of my favourite foods for sure! When buying have a look at the ingredients list on the label, and choose one that is made of mostly peanuts – i.e. 99% peanuts and a small amount of salt.
I always keep a packet of wraps in the freezer for a quick lunch. I love wraps because you can pack in a ton of salad along with something like chicken, egg or tuna for protein. I like to choose multigrain wraps to ensure I am getting plenty of dietary fibre.
While it is nice to make homemade stocks, there is not always time! I like to choose a liquid stock, and go for the salt reduced options to cut back on the salt.
As you can see, there are plenty of pantry staples that are 'packaged' yet still very healthy. Even better, they're all easily accessible and quick to prepare. Watch out for my next blog post in the next fortnight on some healthy recipes using these packaged foods. If you have any questions regarding these items of food, or a general enquiry, please call me (Amy Knight) on 9589 7815.