Can Convenience Food Be Healthy?



What comes to mind when you pair these two words together?

Chances are, it’s not pretty.

Accordingly, even the definition on Wikipedia[1] is right in line with what you might expect: convenience food, or tertiary processed food, is food that is commercially prepared (often through processing) to optimize ease of consumption. Such food is usually ready to eat without further preparation.

And this focus on convenience food that far too many Americans have these days isn’t without consequence. It turns out that this in and of itself may be one of the main reasons why so many are obese.

The National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control looked at data on American size between 2005 and 2008 and found out that it’s “convenience,” and not cost or a lack of education, that is making Americans fat[2].

The misconception that eating fast food, or convenient food is solely a function of socioeconomic level, therefore, is just that- a misconception.

In fact, according to the data, middle-income people are the most overweight and eat fast food more regularly than anyone else. In contrast,  80 percent of those with low incomes cook at home at least five times a week.

Another recent study[3] at the Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School says as much:

“These findings suggest public education regarding the unhealthiness of fast food may not influence fast food consumption. Interventions targeting the issue of convenience and quick or efficient preparation of nutritious alternatives to fast food could be more promising.”

What’s the answer?

First, prioritize. Does it take time to go to the farmer’s market or health food store? Yes. And more time on top of that to plan and cook? Of course.

But how are either of those two tasks anything but crucial to our very existence?

How has what we eat and from where it comes become a hassle, a chore, something so time consuming that we feel it’s low enough on the totem pole to be forgotten in some cases?

Next, create a strategy for how you can manage time without compromising what you’re putting into your body or the mouths of your family. What can be moved lower down on the list of must-do activities during the course of the week in favor of spending time on all things aimed toward nourishing yourself and your kids?

Then, as a family, whatever that may mean for you, from parents and kids, to roommates to any sort of shared environs, decide who is going to do what and when and agree to a schedule that works for everyone.

Perhaps one person does a shop twice per week while another cooks and a third does the clean up. Or maybe it rotates. Or maybe someone opts to start an herb and veggie garden.

You get the idea.

Healthy, tasty, fresh food does not have to equal hours slaving away in a hot kitchen on a daily basis.

In fact, this very food can become convenient if appropriate measures are put into place to make it short, sweet and simple.

If, on the other hand, you’re simply someone who lives alone and hates cooking, or travels more than you’re home, or any other variety of reasons to not gather and cook, there are still other viable options to avoid the traditional convenience foods and keep healthy.

One such means is the new Trifecta Meal Delivery Service.   Fresh, organic, tasty and thoroughly enjoyable, it’s one more example of why getting on track with proper eating doesn’t have to fall by the wayside when life gets busy.

Ideally, everyone would procure and produce all the time, but in today’s day and age, even a partial balance of a combination of all the above ideas can prove to be a solution to a range of busy lifestyles, demographics and logistics.

So long as we’re all on the same page with the common goal of eating for optimal health, we’ll make great progress together!

[1] Anderson, Jean, and Barbara Deskins. “Wikipedia.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Oct. 1995. Web. 17 Aug. 2015

[2] Hoffman, Beth. “It’s Convenience, Not Cost, That’s Making Us Far.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 17 July 2012. Web. 17 Aug. 2015

[3] “Relationship of Attitudes toward Fast Food and Frequency of Fast-food Intake in Adults.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2015