Not-so-Unhealthy Convenience Foods

Ashley B | November 28, 2012 | 47 Comments

We all want to serve our families healthy, home-cooked food. I would love to be able to cook my family three hot, nutritious meals a day, plus serve healthy, homemade snacks. Wouldn’t you? While I do manage to cook a lot of the time, everybody is busy with school, work, activities, and life in general, and sometimes cooking from scratch is too much to manage. Sometimes, quick, packaged foods are the right answer. But the question then becomes, What are some easy and quick convenience foods that I can give my kids, without worrying that I’m feeding them a bunch of fat, empty calories and junk? It’s a difficult question, but it turns out that there are quick and easy packaged foods that you can give your kids for a quick meal or snack that are not terribly unhealthy. Here’s a short list.

  • Spaghettios. I bet you weren’t expecting that!  I wasn’t either, but it turns out that this circular pasta has no trans fats, no MSG, contains around 6-8 grams of protein, and even contains some vitamins, fiber, calcium, and iron. They are high in sodium, so don’t go crazy with them, but once in awhile, they’re not a bad choice.
  • String cheese. You really can’t go wrong with string cheese for a snack. A stick of string cheese provides about the same amount of calcium that you would find in a 4 ounce glass of milk. String cheese is easy, it’s fun to eat, and it’s most definitely not junk.
  • Cheez-its. These little square crackers contain no artificial flavors or colors, and they come with four grams of protein. They contain fat, true, but they don’t contain any trans-fats. That’s not bad at all for a snack that’s both crunchy and cheesy.
  • Cheerios. We all know that it’s good to avoid those overly sugary breakfast     cereals. But Honey Nut Cheerios and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios both manage to be sweet enough to appeal to kids without being unhealthy. Each of these cereals only contains 9 grams of sugar (as a comparison, consider that Raisin Bran contains 20 grams of sugar.) On top of that, they contain protein as well.
  • Broccoli-Chicken Lean Pockets. We know these are lower in fat than the regular variety of Hot Pockets. But these Lean Pockets also have a vegetable serving, protein, and vitamin A.

You can find a lot of information on foods that are meant to appear healthy but really aren’t. And it seems that some of the foods that we may think of as unhealthy really aren’t so bad after all. The best thing that you can do is keep a close eye on the nutrition labels when you shop. You may be surprised at what you’re really eating!

Comments (47)

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  1. ANN*H says:

    Wow , this is a list of a bunch of things that my grandson eats & hes a real picky eater. Its good to know that they are really good for him. These all can be eaten or made easily. I guess we need to read our labels a little more so we can see if the foods are good for our children.
    If they start with healthy foods they will continue to eat and want them later on in life. Thanks for the info.

  2. Trish F says:

    If any of these choices come organic I would highly recommend those because you should avoid anything that has corn or soy fillers that aren’t organic or you run into GMOs that are down right bad for your bodly. Thanks for the list.

  3. Kelvin Justine says:

    Making kids eat healthy food is a little bit tricky when they grow up. So I always make sure to introduce it to them in early stages.

  4. Mary Ellen says:

    New Fan, Sending Love

  5. San says:

    Sometimes it’s difficult to know for sure which foods are good or bad for us, I guess the best thing is to eat everything in moderation.

  6. Anita Leibert says:

    Thank you for sharing! I think we’re all guilty of not always eating properly, but these are some great items that most people should enjoy. I know I personally love the Chicken and Broccoli lean pockets and they’re so simple to make!

  7. Karen Glatt says:

    I am glad to know that Spagettios are not that unhealthy to eat. I remember eating these all the time when I was growing up! Also Cheesits> Who would have know that these crackers are not that bad. I love those crackers, they have such a cheesy taste. I will try these out again, once in awhile!

  8. Bonnie says:

    Tried to keep the kid on a neatly path. It is not easy with all the choices,

  9. Liza says:

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips. NEver expected that Spaghettios is not bad for our kids’ health.

  10. Rebecca Sinclair says:

    Oh man, good to know Cheez-its aren’t too bad for you, because I can eat my weight in those things! SO Yummy! 🙂

  11. Chrystal D says:

    I LOVE snacking on string cheese. And it makes for great stuffed meatballs too!

  12. Toni Cosgrove says:

    I had no idea about the spaghetti-os..I wonder if that is true about their raviolies? Our whole family loves the string cheese if you dont like it, try a different brand,there really is a difference.

  13. Lea says:

    I was really surprised by all of them, and appreciate the tip on the two Cheerios were OK (I try to feed he kids organic, but our baby likes Cheerios). Lately, he has refused the regular Cheerios so we tried peanut butter Cheerios which he is not crazy about. I will try the two you suggest because he does have a sweet tooth. Thanks. I have posted your link on my Facebook page, too.

  14. angela says:

    Interesting… Thanks for sharing

  15. Michelle G says:

    I would have never thought in a million years that spaghettio’s would be okay to eat. Thanks for sharing this great list!

  16. denise smith says:

    thanks so much love your post

  17. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    I’m always trying to find quick snacks that aren’t terrible for them. They love string cheese and cheerios but I would not have thought spaghettios or cheese nips would be a good choice. Thanks for the great ideas!

  18. pisa l. says:

    These are foods that my kids love to eat. Good to know that they’re not bad for them. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Dorothy Boucher says:

    my daughter eats all of those, i think her favorite would be the string cheese, she always ask when she comes to visit,,LOLL thanks for all the info

  20. Sarah p. says:

    I found this really helpful! We all could use a little convenience in our life occasionally 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  21. Elena says:

    My son loves string cheese. I like that it provides him with calcium

  22. misty farmer says:

    Wow Loved the Info! Thanks!!!

  23. Naomi says:

    Great timing! I’d forgotton about how easy Cheerios are. 🙂

  24. Adita says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Becky Kuntz says:

    It can be hard to find healthy foods for your kids to eat especially when they want a snack “yesterday!” Thanks for letting us all know that some of the foods our kids LOVE are OK and that we are fine to every once in a while allow our children to enjoy their spaghettios!

  26. Karina Lee says:

    thank goodness1 my daughter loves string cheese

  27. Bonnie says:

    Interesting but I stopped feeding my kids junk convenience food a few years ago. Thank you

  28. Stephanie Larison says:

    Loved this post. My daughter is a Cheez-its lover. 🙂

  29. misty farmer says:

    Wow thats pretty krazy! My daughter loves most of them!

  30. Brianne Armstrong says:

    I *LOVE* being honest about the fact that sometimes you don’t have time to be uber-ultra-mega-epic healthy. While it’s important, it is also not so affordable for many, so it’s nice to see a list of things that can be helpful with the REALITY of snacking and eating differently. Thanks! 🙂 Love this list.

  31. Bella T. says:

    Oh my gosh. That’s so funny. We went grocery shopping today and I picked up both Spaghettios and Cheerios. I felt so awful because I knew they were unhealthy but I also knew they were quick “go to” meals. This post is interesting! I don’t feel so horrible now! 😀

  32. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    I’d love to see more lists like this. I am surprised by the Broccoli-Chicken Lean Pockets. I know chicken and broccoli are good for you but I wasn’t sure about preservatives and other things that go in them. Good to know they are a safe bet.

  33. Juliette Mariano-Carlson says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m always reading the food labels to make sure we are not eating artificial flavors or colorings. Cheez-Its, Cheerios, and Cheese Sticks are on our good to eat food list.

  34. Julie Wood says:

    I never considered Cheerios or String Cheese to be a not so healthy food. But I did not know that Spagettios were good for you. I ate those when I was growing up. I also love Cheese-its and am glad to know that they are not that bad for you!

  35. Chrystal D says:

    I never thought about Spaghettios! But no MSG is something I require!

  36. Holly Trudeau says:

    Thanks for the info, I too would love to prepare nutritiously gourmet meals the the kiddos everyday too but we all know that’s not possible! At least there’s some easy-to-make-on-the-fly meals out there there aren’t terrible for them or won’t keep them up all night with mounds of sugar!

  37. Joy says:

    I love cheezits. I just have to remember to watch how many I eat 😉

  38. Heidi LeMay says:

    Great tips. I am glad to see some of my favorite snacks on there.

  39. Huguette English says:

    It’s great to have something handy and not have to cook all the time. Some of these did surprise me. Thanks for sharing!

  40. I have a tough time with my 3 year old he is very particular about what he eats.

  41. juli guthrie says:

    We started reading labels and realized a lot of stuff is better to just make from scratch. My boys LOVE treats but we try so hard to stick to organic yogurts, fruits and veggies. Thanks for sharing this!

  42. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    I did not know about Spaghettios. I did know about Cheerios and Lean Pockets

  43. Tammy S says:

    String cheese is a staple in our house. I didn’t think about Cheerios. You could make a trail mix with Cheerios by adding some raisins, almonds and other items to it. Yum.

  44. Rama says:

    Great post! Honey Nut Cheerios!!!

  45. Sharon Siqueiros says:

    My husband loves Cheez-its! I knew they were a decent healthy snack, it’s the spinach dip he globs on them that I worry about hehehe
    Thanks!

  46. Kate F. says:

    Thanks for the information! I love string cheese and Cheerios.

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