On occasion, my mom would buy some of those frozen dinners in compartmentalized foil trays. I loved the way each food was contained in it’s own little section of those trays. I loved that I was permitted to eat my TV dinner on a tray on the floor of the living room just inches away from our living room rug.
I loved that I was allowed to watch TV while I ate it! (Daytime TV was a big no-no at our house when I was a kid, so this was a real treat!)
I’m not a fan of those frozen dinners now, but I do think that convenience foods can serve a purpose in our lives. If having a few convenience foods on hand can keep you at home for dinner, then I say, go ahead and use ‘em.
Low carb convenience foods are not easy to find, but I still stock some convenience foods. Here you can see that I have canned beans, pasta, spaghetti sauce, condensed soup, marinades, boxed scallop potato mix, and Stove Top stuffing.
We don’t eat these items on a regular basis, but if I need to make a quick meal, I can use them.
With frozen meatballs and a jar of spaghetti sauce, I can put dinner in the crockpot in minutes. This is a great way to avoid the drive thru when you know you are going to have a busy day. When you get home, you can cook some pasta to go with the meatballs and sauce and dinner is ready! Even if you don’t take time to make a salad, this meal is at least as nutritious as a Happy Meal.
Portioned pieces of fish, pre-formed burgers, and hot dogs all help us to stay at home for dinner because they can be grilled from frozen. To these, you could add sweet potato fries and some steam-in-the bag vegetables and have dinner on the table in less than thirty minutes.
Lots of people I know like to keep a frozen pizza or two in the freezer for emergency meals. Find some convenience foods that work with your particular dietary preferences, your budget, and your family’s tastes and use them when you are tempted to eat out instead of eating in.
I have one friend who hates to cook, and she found that it was actually cheaper and probably as healthy for her to eat exclusively from the convenience food aisles at the grocery store rather than go out to eat most nights of the week. Convenience foods can be a great way for less experienced cooks or more reluctant cooks to break the eating out habit.
What kinds of convenience foods could you keep on hand to avoid unplanned eating out?