Some convenience foods can save time without costing your health.

Processed foods get a bad rap, which many of them deserve. They can be unnecessarily high in sodium and sugar, and laden with unrecognisable ingredients. Reducing your reliance on prepared and packaged foods is a positive step for your health.

However, if you are selective, you can find processed foods that are nutritionally sound, and the convenience makes it easier to eat well. Canned fruit retains many of the nutrients found in fresh fruit and it’s a low-cost alternative, especially varieties canned in fruit juice. And frozen berries are an easy – and healthy – dessert. Canned lentils and beans are quicker to use than dried beans, while frozen vegetables are a no-chop alternative to fresh vegies. As they’re snap-frozen soon after harvest, they can retain more nutrients than “fresh” vegetables that have been left for a week in the bottom of the fridge.

You can also find breakfast cereals that don’t contain too much sodium and sugar. There are also a number of good, prepared soups available from the fridge section at local supermarkets. Eat fresh foods and cook from scratch as often as you can, but don’t worry about having a few of these time-saving processed foods in the pantry and freezer.

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