Should you buy pre-packaged food?

Have you seen the peeled bananas wrapped in plastic in the supermarket? It’s hard to believe anyone would think that was a good idea–or think that peeling a banana is too labor-intensive. Well your food processor might not be able to peel a banana, but there are so many things that it can do that save money, and ultimately put fresher and more healthy food on your table. There are lots of other pre-packaged foods that seem to make you life easier, but cost more, and there are plenty of ways to economize and still save time.

For a quick snack, celery sticks and carrots are a healthy alternative to chips. Vitamin A  fiber,and no fat–that’s a perfect snack, especially for kids. You might be tempted to buy the pre-packaged cut and peeled kind, but  with a food processor or “salad shooter”  it’s easy to trim them into convenient snack size pieces–and they’ll be much fresher.

 

You might be tempted to buy chopped onion or bell pepper. Often they have preservatives mixed with them to keep them looking fresh. But how easy is it to chop them in your food processor? The same goes for pico de gallo. it costs more than twice as much if you buy it already made than if you whip up a batch yourself.

What about kebabs? You’ve seen the pre-seasoned and kind in the meat section, with chunks of meat, onion and bell pepper already threaded on the skewers. It’s much more economical to do it yourself. And the amount of work it takes is pretty minimal!

You can buy pre-cut fruit in the produce section–pineapple, apple, cantaloupe or watermelon chunks or slices in plastic containers. Often, the also have preservatives mixed in to keep them looking fresh, and you’ll really stretch your food shopping dollars if you cut off the rind and chop them yourself.

Apple juice and other juice boxes are a convenient way to drink your juice on the go, or give to your kids without any work of spilling, Ounce for ounce they can be 10 times the price of bottled juice, There are spill-proof cup and bottles, and they can be refilled over and over–cheaper and more eco-friendly!

In some cases you really might be better off opting for convenience over price. Skinless chicken breasts cost more per pound that cutting up a chicken, but if chicken breasts are what you’re cooking, it’s a lot easier, and less waste to buy the pre-cut packaged kind.

So, time versus money…sometimes buying food that’s already diced, chopped or packaged  just doesn’t make sense. Some convenience foods don’t make sense in terms of money and freshness. A food processor, salad chopper or old-fashioned knife and cutting board are the way to go!

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