The problem with convenience food is that convenience is its only attribute. It's there. It's available. It's shelf-stable.
On the other hand, list of what convenience food is not goes on and on. It's not fresh, not nutritious, not vibrant, not wholesome, not flavorful, not sustainable, not natural...
When we strive to offer ourselves the gift of a better, tastier, fresher, more healthful diet, we need to plan ahead to make the magic happen.
Sometimes life gives you a beautiful fruit stand. Far more often, the modern world will offer up its shelf-stable candy aisles and its fast food chains. The convenience is there, but you pay for that convenience with your health and your hard-earned dollars.
If you can plan ahead, you'll create convenience on your own terms.
1. Make sure you know where your next meal is coming from.
Most people need three (or more) meals a day. Make sure you know how that's going to happen. Buy groceries with several meal plans in mind. Cook on Sunday and put soups and casseroles in the freezer. Pack lunches or look up in advance the local options for places that will feed you healthful foods. Don't leave your good intentions for nutritious, delicious meals in the hands of fate. She'll turn around and hand you a Ho-Ho.
2. Pack food.
You've packed your ipod, your sunglasses, your book and your sweater. What about snacks? Pack a water bottle. Pack an apple. Pack a banana. Pack a sandwich. Pack a bento box. Pack a hard-boiled egg in a plastic bag with a paper towel. When it comes to traveling (whether that's across town or across the country) it pays to be a little paranoid.
3. Don't leave hungry.
That party that's supposed to offer food? The appointment that's supposed to be a lunch meeting? Don't believe the hype. You never know what the future holds, so don't go anywhere with a ravenous hunger. You'll end up eating whatever's put in front of you, and because you're desperate, you'll probably eat far more of it than you normally would have. Life is uncertain, so make sure you at least eat a handful of nuts or an apple before leaving the house.
4. Make fresh food convenient.
We all have moments when our inner caveman takes over, and we stumble through the kitchen in search of something... anything... to eat. That's a particularly vulnerable state to be in.
When you stock the house with easy, healthy snacks, you offer a gift to your hungry caveman. Make sure you always have healthful supplies on hand. Think fresh fruit, snack-sized vegetables, dried fruit and nuts, juices, yogurt, cottage cheese, granola, etc. Conversely, make convenience foods inconvenient. Keep them away from your home, your office and your car. They're just not allowed.
A box of crackers will sit, inert, on a shelf for years. A banana goes brown and spotty after a week or less.
So yes, eating fresh, nutritious foods takes some effort on a regular basis. But planning ahead for healthful meals and snacks means convenience foods... actually become a little less convenient.
Miss out on previous days? Read Goal 1 and Goal 2.