10 Surprisingly Healthy Packaged Foods
You’ve probably heard this advice before: For a healthy grocery trip, shop the perimeter of the store. Avoiding the middle aisles is a good tactic to help you make great choices and pick the most nutritious foods, but if you stick to this advice completely you’ll be missing out on some of the nutritious items that do come in packages. Buying some boxed, canned and jarred items can be healthy when you’re equipped with the right information.
Here’s a list of the healthiest convenience foods you can buy from the center of the grocery store:
- Canned Beans. Canned beans pack an impressive amount of fiber and protein and can be a quick addition to many meals.
- Oats and Flaxseed. Prepare to have a heart-healthy breakfast by combining old-fashioned oats and ground flaxseed, both found packaged in either cartons or bags. One cup of cooked oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed will give you 8 grams of much needed fiber, as well as a dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Frozen Vegetables.These can be nearly as nutritious as fresh and are conveniently prewashed and chopped. Steam or microwave your veggies rather than boiling them to make sure you’re not losing water-soluble vitamins.
- Frozen Berries. Many frozen berries do not have added sugar, but some do. Double check that the ingredients list contains berries to make sure you’re not getting extra calories from refined sugars.
- Granola Bars. This one can be tricky, as not every granola bar is good for you. Shop carefully and read labels to pick out the healthiest option. Flip the products over and check out the ingredients.
- Soups. Soup that comes in a can or carton can be a healthy choice if you shop carefully. Many are packed with plenty of fat and added sodium, but some brands are lighter in both.
- Cereal. Breakfast cereal can be a toss-up. Either you’re eating an overdose of sugar or you’re getting a good amount of fiber and vitamins. Pick the right cereal, and you’ll be supporting your heart and intestinal health with each bite. Look for at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and keep in mind the amount of added sugar.
- Brown Rice. For a boxed fare that is both versatile and nutrient packed, pick up brown rice on your next grocery trip. This fiber-rich grain is a great side for nearly any meat, bean, and vegetable.
- Tuna Fish Packed in Water. When it comes to getting a bang for your buck out of canned food, this is almost as good as it gets. This convenient food is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and also gives you a good amount of vitamins D and B-12, too.
- Yogurt. This tangy concoction found in the dairy aisle can be a great snack or breakfast staple. Many brands are advertising “natural” products that do not have artificial colors or sweeteners, but what you choose should depend on your own preferences and nutritional goals.