Unhealthy convenience foods are taking a toll on your life

foodMost Americans today are time-starved and challenged with the increasing cost of real whole foods – items that are unprocessed and unrefined (or processed or refined as little as possible).

Buying convenience-food products is at a record high, and so is the amount of convenience foods to choose from on grocery shelves.

But what most people don’t realize is that convenience foods are costing them their health. These folks are spending more time at the doctor’s office and taking not only one prescription medicine but several – and they are still sick.

Cooking at home is one of the easiest and healthiest things you can do to control the nutrient content of your food. However, I know it can be one of the hardest tasks at home to accomplish.

But with a little planning and keeping healthy ingredients well stocked in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, you won’t want to resort to frozen TV dinners or takeout menus anymore – and your pocketbook will be getting fatter, not you.

Strategies for a healthy pantry

Begin with using real whole foods – nothing processed or refined, no artificial ingredients, nothing sweetened or with white flours.

Stock your refrigerator with more plant-based foods that are nutrient-dense, rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as colorful vegetables, greens and fresh fruits. Stock the cupboard with beans, canned or dried, and whole grains, such as quinoa and barley.

Stock your freezer with nuts; they will stay fresher longer. Walnuts and almonds are great for baking or topping salads or making salad dressings. Nut butters such as almond and cashew are really healthy fats and great to have on hand to add to smoothies or to make salad dressings.

Dried fruits including apricots, dates and raisins are great to add to cereals and can be used as natural sweeteners in baking.

Why you should care

The importance of having a well-stocked, healthy pantry can help with losing weight, provide more energy and fewer chances to develop chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

By stocking a healthier pantry, you will have more variety on hand to cook or bake with, and you’ll help keep your family interested in trying new foods. It will also be helpful for people on a special diet, because they will not be overwhelmed with what to prepare on a daily basis.

To sum up, the result of having a well-stocked pantry of healthy foods: You’ll be full of energy, happiness and have clearer thinking, too. So take the time to keep your pantry healthy, and it will return the favor.

Check out this recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup