Ideally, there would always be time to cook a fresh, balanced supper every night, but life doesn't always work that way. Steer clear of dialing for overpriced, overindulgent takeout on busy evenings, and keep a handful of frozen dinners tucked away in your freezer for the nights you really need them. Check out this video to see the three light and tasty options I always have on hand.
Taken on a gluten-free lifestyle? You can still easily enjoy treats that aren't homemade! Now more than ever, retailers are taking note of the high demand for quick gluten-free snacks. Satisfy your sweet tooth with one of these tasty options you can find online or at your local health food store.
Navitas Cacao Goji Snacks
These nutrient-dense Navitas Cacao Goji Snacks ($12) taste like tiny healthy brownie bites. Made from ingredients suitable for gluten-free eaters, they're also high in fiber and antioxidants. I like keeping a bag of these at my desk for the times when sweet cravings strike.
The Gluten-Free Protein BarVegan, chock-full of protein power, and (obviously) perfect for someone with a gluten intolerance, The Gluten-Free Protein Bars ($28 for 12 bars) are all natural and delicious. Unlike many power bars on the market, you'll be able to recognize (and pronounce) every ingredient listed.
Lucy's Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesLooking for a gluten-free cookie that actually tastes like a cookie? Dig into a box of Lucy's Chocolate Chip Cookies ($6 per box) that are made without any gluten, milk, eggs, or peanuts. Even better, two of these cookies weigh in at under 90 calories.
Earth Balance PB PoppsIf you never make up your mind between salty and sweet, go for a snack that offers both: Earth Balance PB Popps ($5). Once you take a bite of these gluten-free popcorn bites "cuddled in peanut butter and a bustle of oats," you'll be hooked.
Waking up late or hitting snooze one too many times is no longer an excuse to forget breakfast completely! When you're in a bind for time, but are in need of something hearty and healthy, opt for one these frozen options you can easily find in the frozen section at your local grocery store.
Amy's Tofu Scramble
If you don't feel like draining and chopping tofu first thing in the morning, let Amy's Tofu Scramble ($5-$6 per scramble) do all the work for you. At 320 calories, this meal comes with a large portion of tasty scrambled tofu and is served with vitamin C- and iron-rich organic veggies, plus hash browns on the side.
Ian's Cinnamon French Toast Sticks
Gluten-free and vegan french toast? Your breakfast dreams come true with Ian's French Toast Sticks ($4-$5 per box). Made from hand-cut brown rice bread, this quick and easy breakfast takes just eight minutes to bake in the oven, and voilà! You have tasty french toast just waiting to be drizzled with maple syrup.
Jimmy Dean Delights Sandwiches
Some mornings, an egg sandwich is the only thing that will satisfy you for breakfast. Instead of heading to a fast-food chain, heat up Jimmy Dean's 250-calorie turkey sausage and egg white muffin ($2-$3 for four sandwiches), which offers 17 grams of protein per sandwich.
Keep reading for two more breakfast options.
Ideally, you'd have ample time to create a fresh, healthy supper every night, but sometimes life doesn't work out that way. A tried-and-true tip to stay away from fast food on a busy evening? Keep a bunch of frozen dinners tucked away in your freezer for nights when you need them. Now more than ever, there are light and healthy options on the market made with quality ingredients. Here are five I've tasted and enjoyed.
Lyfe Kitchen Orange Mango Chicken
Lyfe Kitchen caused a healthy stir in the California restaurant scene, and Lyfe Kitchen Frozen Foods have done the same in supermarkets across the country. Instead of forcing you to nuke your food in plastic, these meals come in their own parchment pouch, ready to steam in the microwave or oven. My favorite is the orange mango chicken ($6-$8 per meal) entrée that comes with green-tea-infused whole grains and steamed kale and broccoli on the side. At 420 calories, this nut-free frozen meal offers 21 grams of protein and 90 percent of your daily recommended vitamin A.
Amy's Kitchen Black Bean Enchiladas
A low-sodium frozen option for vegans and gluten-free eaters? It's true. Amy's Black Bean Enchiladas ($5 per meal) comes with two corn tortillas filled with organic corn, black beans, tofu, and vegetables all smothered in a traditional sauce. This satisfying supper is low in calories, sugar, and sodium and contains 90 percent organic ingredients — difficult to find in a frozen food option!
Healthy Choice Ravioli Florentine Marinara
When you're craving a bowl of hearty pasta, dig into ricotta- and spinach-filled Healthy Choice Ravioli Florentine Marinara ($3-$4 per meal) topped with light mozzarella. This iron-rich frozen food dinner is less than 250 calories per container and high in protein, fiber, potassium, and manganese.
Keep reading for more healthy frozen dinners.
Some nights, an after-dinner treat is the only way to satisfy taste buds. Homemade recipes are almost always best, but there's not always time to slave away in the kitchen! Whether you're craving a chocolatey, frozen, or fruity dessert, each of these store-bought treats are 100 calories or less, so feel free to indulge without any guilt.
If you're a longtime vegan, then you've probably read most labels and know which products to stay away from. Cakes and cookies usually contain butter or eggs, many soups contain cream, and some sauces can have hidden beef broth. A few companies are tricky, though, by putting animal ingredients in items you wouldn't expect. Here are some products to avoid if you're trying to follow a plant-based diet.
Cooking your own meals is healthy and economical, but making that trip to the supermarket without a plan can lead to high-calorie habits. Make sure you don't make these mistakes on your next grocery store run.
Starting in the middle: You should focus on shopping the perimeter of your grocery store, since you can fill your cart with fresh produce, whole grain staples, and protein-rich dairy without being distracted by frozen treats and processed foods. if you're looking to grab a treat or two, make your way to the middle after you've stocked up on your healthy items.
Going hungry: A recent study confirmed what everyone who's ever shopped hungry already knows — you grab more unhealthy and higher calorie foods (think junk food) when you're ravenous. If it's been awhile since you've eaten and it's time to go to the store, grab a healthy snack before you go like yogurt, a piece of fruit, or a protein bar to sate your hunger until your shopping trip is done.
Going without a list: Winging it can work for impromptu farmers market trips, but going for your weekly supermarket trip without a list can lead to an unbalanced nutrition plan throughout the week. Take time to plan your ingredient list so you know what to buy so you don't stray from your healthy recipes and move to prepackaged dinners.
Skipping all prepared foods: You may think that healthy supermarket buys are only found in produce bags, but some days you just don't want to spend the time on washing, dicing, and slicing your way to a healthy snack. Healthy prepared foods save you time, and if you're unlikely to eat something, like carrots or salad, unless it's washed and ready for you, opting for a few prepared foods can help you stay on track. Read more about the healthy prepared foods worth paying for here.
You're headed to the grocery store with a list in hand and a stack of reusable bags. You grab a cart and are ready to go to town, but if you buy the wrong things week after week, a little weight gain is sure to happen. Keep these calorie-saving tips in mind the next time you go grocery shopping.
- Never go hungry: You probably already know this, but never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Eat before you leave to satiate any temptation of buying unhealthy snacks. Not only will it prevent you from snacking while shopping — a surefire way to ingest the trillions of germs lurking on every item you reach for — but foods you don't normally buy are also less likely to make their way into your cart.
- Start with a meal plan: Before heading to the store, map out in detail your meals and snacks for the entire week complete with a list of ingredients needed for all the recipes. It helps you remember everything in one trip so you can avoid having to hit the store later for that one thing, which inevitably means grabbing a few extra foods you don't really need. Here's an example of a weekly dinner menu complete with grocery list. You can do the same thing for breakfasts and the lunches you pack for work.
- The health food store isn't necessarily healthier: While it's pretty awesome that you can find healthier versions of your favorite junk foods like organic cookies and Fair Trade chocolate peanut butter cups, don't be tricked into buying these health-food versions — they contain just as many calories as the conventional alternatives. Also remember that truly healthy foods can also be high in calories, so don't overdo it on the nuts and nut butters, avocados, energy bars, and dried fruit. Here are proper portion sizes of high-calorie healthy foods.
- Avoid the center aisles: Most of the healthy, all-natural foods are found along the outer walls of a grocery store, and this is exactly what you should be filling your cart with. You should have more bagged produce, bulk foods like whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products in your cart rather than prepackaged foods. Check out even more tips for shopping the perimeter.
- Make your life easier: Some healthy foods come with the prep work already done. If you can buy healthy foods that are easier to eat like cubed tofu, baby carrots, and prewashed and cut kale, then you're more likely to eat them.
Keep reading to hear more ways to save calories while grocery shopping.
Why pay more for the exact same product that you can find elsewhere for less? No one likes to feel cheated, so our partners at Wise Bread have broken down items that are prone to a price switcheroo.
Not dishing out more than you should isn't always easy — it takes a little research and sometimes means getting over the store brand stigma and embracing generics.
A recent question posted to "AskMeFi" — the popular crowd sourced question and answer subsite of Metafilter.com — asked users to suggest products that were priced differently, depending on market and intended use. The example offered was food-grade mineral oil, which is costly when marketed and sold as butcher block oil, but inexpensive when marketed and sold as a laxative (as much as $1.74 per ounce versus as little as $.29 per ounce).
RELATED: 21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse
Same product, different market, different intended use, different price. The next time I buy a bottle of butcher block oil, I'll visit RiteAid instead of Williams-Sonoma. How many other bargains like this are out there? Keep reading.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Health here on POPSUGAR Fitness.By Tina Haupert When I'm hungry, I'm more likely to reach for quick, easy foods in my kitchen, which are not always the healthiest. I've learned, though, that with a little strategic organization and stocking of my refrigerator, I'm more likely to reach for nutritious choices. Here are my go-to tips for giving your fridge a healthy makeover!
Put the healthy stuff front and center
Instead of keeping fresh fruits and veggies in the crisper drawers at the bottom of the refrigerator where I can't see them, I put my produce in a big, clear container on one of the shelves. Whenever I open the door, it's the first thing I see, so I'm more likely to grab an apple or handful of baby carrots over something not as nutritious. Similarly, instead of wrapping leftovers in tinfoil, I store them in clear containers so I don't forget about them when my hunger strikes.
Keep the more indulgent foods out of sight
I love to splurge every now and then, so I keep my favorite unhealthy foods out of sight (and out of mind). Seeing a delicious food makes me more enticed to eat it, so I store these more indulgent foods in opaque containers or various drawers in my refrigerator. For example, I keep a bag of chocolate chips in the butter compartment on the door, so they're not the first thing I see when I open the fridge. Sometimes, I actually forget they're there!
Do some prep work
On Sunday afternoons, I take some time to prepare healthy snacks for the upcoming week. My favorites: sweet potato wedges, hard-boiled eggs, and chopped veggies for dipping into hummus or guacamole. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips when I need something to tide me over until dinner, these healthy snacks are quick and convenient.
Keep reading for more fridge tips.