Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Eating Clean Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

Eating "clean" doesn't have to be difficult.
Eating "clean" doesn't have to be difficult.
Image: Shutterstock
One of my favorite parts of more people wanting to eat and be healthy is that “clean” food has become much more mainstream and “cool.” I don’t care much about being considered cool, but I do care about being time efficient. Sometimes we all work long days and the last thing we have time for is making sure that we eat a healthy and balanced meal. One of the hardest parts of eating healthy is that it can take up so much extra time—and one of the best parts of not eating healthy is the convenience.

Luckily, some brands have struck a nice balance between convenience and healthfulness. Women’s Health Magazine has put together a great list: the 125 Best Packaged Foods For Women. I think I might be in love!

The list starts out with “Sweets & Treats,” which is great because it gives dessert lovers a chance to see which desserts they don’t have to feel quite so bad about munching on. On the list are two of my favorites: Edy’s Fruit Bars and Skinny Cow Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches. Yum!

Next up is “Condiments,” which can truly be health killers if you’re not careful. From salsa to hummus to dressing to jam, there are a lot of great options there. The same can be said for the “Soups” section, where a few more of my favorite go-to meals are. Pacific Natural Foods’ Organic Butternut Squash Bisque is on the list, as is Healhy Choice’s Chicken Tortilla Soup.

As far as “Meats & Seafoods” go, I tend to just go without if I’m in a rush—substituting tofu or beans for the meat I didn’t have time to cook. But for those who want to get meat in, the list includes a selection of meatballs, sandwich meats, turkey bacon, and more.

It can be hard to strike a balance between  convenience and healthfulness.
It can be hard to strike a balance between
convenience and healthfulness.
Image: Shutterstock
The “Fruits & Veggies” section mostly consists of salad mixes, frozen vegetables (including edamame and butternut squash), and fruit cups. It’s nice to have a few easy options that can be kept at work or in the cupboard when you don’t have fresh produce available.

“Dairy” gets in a good selection as well, including greek yogurts, coffee creamers, cream cheese, and other healthy cheese options. Next up comes “Breads & Cereals,” which is great for people who have a hard time knowing what their best carb options are. And “Frozen Meals” offers some lifesavers for those days you just don’t have time to pack a lunch.

The list finishes up with “Drinks,” “Pasta & Rice,” and “Snacks, Crackers & Chips.” While, of course, not all of the foods on the list are 100% clean or as good as making your own meal at home, they do offer some great alternatives for when you’re short on time—and that’s something I can really appreciate!

Be sure to check out the full list from Women’s Health Magazine—it’s free to download and print!