Produce Isle Convenience Foods

Being on a gluten-free diet, there are many convenience foods I can’t eat.  That’s a good thing because many of them are unhealthy anyway.  There are healthy convenience foods, though.  Consider the produce isle.  You can buy bag salad, pre-cut broccoli, containers of pre-cut fruit and vegetables, and more.

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Convenience costs.  You know that right?  In any area of life, convenience costs.

Convenience can be worth the cost.  If you don’t have time or energy to fix yourself a salad, buying premade salad can be the right choice.  It’s better than a fast food meal.  It’s better than many other options.  It’s  a price you are willing to pay to eat healthy.

Convenience can be too convenient.  This is where I get into trouble.  I choose that convenient option one busy week, and it was so easy that I buy it the next week when I don’t really need it.  It’s just so……convenient.

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Doing a little extra work saves money.  Washing, cutting, and peeling fruits or vegetables isn’t that hard.  It isn’t that time consuming. It’s healthier, too, because foods can begin to lose nutrients once that work is done.  A little work can mean significant savings.

Make a conscious decision.  This is what I’m working on.  When I reach for that bag of salad or pre-cut broccoli (my two biggest temptations), I want to stop and make a conscious decision.  I want to ask myself if I have a few minutes to do the work myself.  Am I only reaching for it because it is convenient?  On the other hand, if it is a particularly busy time or I’m sick, and buying that item will mean that we eat healthier, then fine.  I am willing to pay for that convenience.  Most of the time, though, I can do the work, and I want to consciously choose to eat healthy and save money.

What produce isle convenience foods do you reach for most often?


For other money saving ideas, visit Life as Mom which hosts Frugal Fridays.




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Comments

  1. Paola (polynat) says:

    I am one of those who sometimes will buy what is convenient instead of what is better. For example, cut celery, or the baby carrot bags that I used to pack on the kids lunches, now, I buy full celery sticks, wash them good and then chopped them, and they are ready to go on the kids lunch boxes, I know how much they eat and I know how much I put on their bag so there is no waste there!
    Thank you, Linda for your post :)

  2. Mom2fur says:

    We sometimes buy pre-made Greek Salad. It is very reasonably priced at one store and since only my husband and I eat it, one container lasts two meals. By the time I bought all the ingredients, I'd spend a fortune. We'd have to eat Greek Salad every night for a week, and we like our variety, LOL!
    I sometimes use the salad bar, but not for salad. If I only need a few slices of red onion, for example, it makes more sense to buy it that way than to get a whole onion and end up throwing 3/4 of it out when it goes bad. (I know you can freeze onions, but IMHO that only works if you are going to cook them later, not eat them raw in a salad.) Even though the salad bar runs 4.99 a pound, those few slices end up costing me about a quarter!

  3. Tasty Eats At Home says:

    I don't buy a LOT of convenience produce, but I do buy those baby carrots that aren't really baby carrots. It's just so much easier for me to be sure we're getting veggies in our packed lunches with those – but if I really want good carrot flavor, I take the time to peel and cut the "cheaper" carrots. I also buy the big plastic container of organic baby spinach – which costs a lot, but it's hard to find baby spinach otherwise – and "grown-up" spinach just isn't the same in a salad. I do my best to ensure it all gets eaten though – if there is some left over at the end of the week, it gets sauteed and thrown in with my weekend eggs for breakfast. Yum.

  4. gfe--gluten free easily says:

    Another really good post, Linda. Sometimes we just need to stop and think, but as you and others have shared sometimes the "convenience" foods can make sense, particularly in the produce aisle. If you are one person or just need a little, like Mom2Fur said, it makes sense to purchase from the salad bar. (My regular store is so basic, we don't even have one of those!) Like Alta, said, I do buy the boxes of organic baby spinach and sometimes baby romaine. They go far with me for salads, smoothies, and lunches so I still feel like I'm getting a good value with them. I also buy the ready-to-go cole slaw mix because it has two kinds of cabbage and carrots ready to go. More expensive, but it lasts us a long time. (We use it for both cole slaw and just to mix into salads or smoothies.) But for green cabbage, mushrooms, artichokes, kale, celery, regular romaine, and many things like that, it's no big deal to buy the larger quanities and wash and prepare the items. And, the savings can be a lot.

    Shirley

  5. FoodontheTable says:

    Great idea to select just what you need from the salad bar. That cuts down on waste and prep time. I am addicted to the bagged lettuces. I don't think I would eat near as much greens without them. You can find the Fresh Express brand on sale, or Safeway has a store brand that's the least expensive.

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