Processed meals… processed!
In an ideal world, we all have enough time to cook healthy meals every day of the week. We know that your reality may be different from that and that you may not have enough time to cook. For those of you who have to buy prepared or instant meals more often, we want to marry healthy eating with the pleasure of eating. That’s why we’re giving you a hand to learn how to transform an instant meal into a real champion meal!
Why improve meals and store-bought foods?
Have you noticed that processed and ultra-processed foods are taking up more and more space on your supermarket shelves? These are interesting from a practical point of view and are developed to make your life easier.
In order to produce a tasty food with a longer shelf life, the nutritional aspect of the product suffers and is not optimal for most of the time. These products are high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat. If consumed in excess, these nutrients can have negative effects on your health.
We are talking about a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure in the long term.
Processed foods are considered energy-dense foods, meaning they have a lot of energy for a given amount. To give you an idea, a low energy density food would provide less energy for the same amount. Therefore, a high consumption of processed foods is associated with a higher risk of being overweight.
That’s why it’s a good idea to improve your prepared or instant meals. By adding more nutritious ingredients to your instant meals, you will be able to make more servings with the same meal. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Subtle ways to improve nutrition at home
Improving your diet may seem complicated, but it’s the simple things that will help you see good changes everywhere. Without having to give up the prepared and instant foods that we love so much, optimizing your meal will give it more nutritional value.
After a while, you’ll see that it becomes natural to add more vegetables and good quality proteins to your meals. Eventually, you’ll even be able to put aside the prepared foods and get creative by making everything yourself.
In the meantime, we’ve thought of some changes to make to your favorite options.
The best combinations to enhance your instant noodles
There are as many different flavors for your ramen noodles as there are interesting foods to add to them. We’ve got some tempting options for you:
- Marinated tofu cubes, mixed mushrooms and shredded carrots;
- Thinly sliced beef, hard-boiled egg, broccoli florets and corn;
- Salmon cubes, canned baby corn, shredded kale and lemon juice.
The best combinations to enhance your prepared box of pasta and cheese
The famous blue box macaroni and cheese is still a comforting option for your quick meal that requires no headaches.
In an effort to give it added value, nutritionally speaking, a few additions are possible:
- Green peas and canned white tuna;
- Crushed tomatoes, low-fat cheese and edamame beans;
- Steamed broccoli florets, sliced prosciutto.
- Grilled onions and mushrooms, garam masala and shredded cheese (for gratinating).
The best combinations to enhance your bagged salad mix
Adding any vegetable you have lying around in your fridge will make your bagged salad mix complete.
To make it even more interesting, here are some combinations to try:
- Plain goat cheese, sliced strawberries, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds;
- Seasoned chicken breast chunks, pecan and dried cranberries;
- Hard-boiled egg, bocconcini cheese and cherry tomatoes.
All of these ideas will make your prepared food options so much better! The taste will vary from time to time and you can be inspired by the availability of food or the cravings of the day. All this while turning your favorite processed foods into healthier options.