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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Fast & Healthy Convenience Foods for Weight Loss

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Fall is such a busy time of year and I know a lot of people struggle with healthy eating as their schedules fill up with work, kids’ after school activities, holidays, travel, etc. It just seems there is never enough time in the day to prepare a healthy meal!

I want to share some of my personal tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle with pre-made and pre-packaged foods! Here are my favorite fast & healthy convenience foods for weight loss:

Dr. Preager's

One of my absolute favorites is Dr. Preager’s sensible foods. They have sweet potato and broccoli pancakes which I keep as a staple in my freezer. They are great just broiled plain with a little organic ketchup or my favorite BBQ sauce to dip, in a veggie sandwich, or topped with greens and a fried egg! Dr. Preager’s also makes fish sticks and a variety of veggie burgers, all of which are all natural, GMO free, and cholesterol free! They’ve been around for 20 years and are a brand you can always trust! Find them in the freezer section or your local grocery store, health food store, and even Trader Joe’s!

Vita Spelt Pasta

Another pantry staple for me is Vita Spelt Pasta and a good quality marinara sauce like Mezetta. Spelt pasta has the same flavor and texture as regular white pasta but is much easier to digest, higher in nutrients, and less inflammatory. It is an excellent source of vitamin B2, manganese, niacin, thiamin, and copper!! Although spelt is not gluten free, the gluten in spelt is water soluble making it much easier to digest.

Simply cook your pasta, add a good quality marinara sauce (you could also add some extra veggies to your sauce if you like or have time: spinach, mushrooms, shredded carrots, etc.), and maybe a little goat cheese on top! And voila! A simple meal you can feel good about. I know most people steer away from pasta and carbs in general but a simple meal like this is waaaaaay better than ordering take-out or grabbing something through the drive thru!

steamed cauliflower with marinara and goat cheese, a great gluten-free, carb-free substitute for pasta!!

If you are strict paleo or low carb, you can actually skip the pasta all together and just heat up a bag of frozen veggies. Frozen spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower all taste amazing steamed then topped with fresh marinara and goat cheese! I know it might sound strange at first but don’t knock it till you try it, most people end up loving it!

THE GREAT SPINACH SWAP - steamed spinach with marinara and goat cheese, a great gluten-free, carb-free substitute for pasta!!  Don't knock it till you try it!!

And then there’s pizza toast…

One of my absolute faves and such a great meal/snack for all ages when you are in a pinch! No need for fattening, toxic delivery pizza when you can make a much healthier version at home in less than half the time!

Another great freezer staple is Ezekiel bread, which you all know I use all the time! You can combine it with the marinara in your pantry to make delicious PIZZA TOASTS!! One of my absolute faves and such a great meal/snack for all ages when you are in a pinch! No need for fattening, toxic delivery pizza when you can make a much healthier version at home in less than five minutes! You can see the super easy recipe here!

Trader Joe's soups

In my pantry I ALWAYS have soup. It’s a no-brainer when you are feeling lazy or simply don’t have anything else on hand to eat! I get them at Trader Joe’s or my local health food store. Pacific and Imagine brand have good clean products that you can find in most stores. Just remember to always check the labels to make sure you know and understand what all the ingredients are! Serve your soup piping hot with diced avo, toasted Ezekiel bread, or a little feta cheese sprinkled on top!

Easy Artichoke, Spinach, & Herb Frittata via Linda Wagner

Another staple of mine are eggs! Frittatas like these take 15 mins to make and leftovers will last several days in the fridge:

In the end, just remember to do the best you can. Sometimes when life gets crazy we feel like it’s “all or nothing” and if we can’t follow our diet properly, then we just forget it and go the opposite direction. That will cause us to gain weight and feel tired and sluggish extremely quickly! Do the best you can, try to stock healthy foods in your pantry, freezer, car, and at work. It might not be perfect but at least it will keep you on the right track and not cause you to gain weight or go backwards with your goals. It’s all about balance and making it work for you and your lifestyle!

Here are some additional ready made foods to keep on hand:

  • Lara bars and KIND bars to keep in your gym bag, work desk, purse, or car as an on-the-go snack.
  • Evol brand frozen foods – ready made meals you can feel good about! “No Antibiotics – Our chicken, beef, pork, eggs and cheese come from animals raised on US Family Farms WITHOUT the use of Antibiotics & Hormones. No Artificial flavors, colors or additives. No GMOs in our grains, vegetables & oils.”
  • Amy’s brand frozen foods (most are good, just check the labels!)
  • Pacific brand foods – Frozen pizza and soups.
  • Artisan Bistro frozen foods – “Our mission is to make it easy for everyone to eat delicious, nutrition-rich meals.  We make single-serving frozen meals and bowls balanced with the best sources of lean protein, fiber-rich whole grains, plentiful vegetables and healthy fats.  Our wholesome organic ingredients keep their flavors because they’re unprocessed.  So our recipes taste great without artificial flavorings.  Complete, wholesome and satisfying meals are now always an option and ready in minutes.”

I hope this article gives you some perspective and helps to inspire you to eat healthy, even during your busiest and most hectic times!!

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