I have noticed that recently several new convenience food products have come onto the market that have a very healthy profile so I thought that this month I would introduce you to these. (Maybe some of you are already familiar with them). You may feel it is odd, me blogging about convenience foods. Yes, I said convenience foods! As you know I am an advocate of cooking fresh ingredients for maximum nutritional benefit. But I am also a realist and do know that however good our intentions are, sometimes life gets in the way and we have to resort to ready-made convenience foods.
This is where these new products may interest you.
- Savoury products by Gosh foods.
They are vegetarian so ideal to use for those non meat days. There are 4 varieties.
• Chickpea, courgette and Moroccan spiced bakes.
• Sweetcorn Quinoa bites.
• Mushroom, Puy lentil and butter bean burger.
• Mixed seed, quinoa, carrot and coriander bake with a minted pea centre.
The company prides itself on using completely natural foods with no additives, preservatives or colours i.e. foods as nature intended. Their products would be ideal served with either a salad or some steamed or roasted vegetables to make a healthy meal.
2. Indian spiced bhaji burgers which I found in Waitrose.
Looking at the ingredients, they are all completely natural and again with no additives, preservatives or colours. They only take 15 mins to cook and again would be ideal with a salad or cooked vegetables on a non meat day. Like the Gosh foods they would go into the freezer which makes them ideal as a standby for days when cooking is just not going to happen for whatever reason..
The next 2 foods are more snack foods which are naturally sweet and again just made from natural whole ingredients.
3 The primal Pantry bars. These are small bars that come in a box of 4 or 6. They advertise that all the bars are made from 4-5 ‘real food ingredients’, including dates and a hint of almond oil. They are handmade and cold pressed. They are gluten free, dairy free and raw.
• Coconut and macadamia
• Mixed berries
• Hazelnut and cocoa
• Almond and cashew
4. Raw Bites by Bioglan.
These come in small packets sufficient as a snack or tubs that would store. The individual packets are ideal to carry with you.
They come in a variety of flavours.
• Cacao, coffee and coconut
• Ginger and Spirulina
• Chia Maca and peanut
5. Frozen smoothies
I also want to mention the frozen smoothie mixes that you can buy. I do not think that these are particularly new, although I notice they are bringing out different mixes regularly. These make excellent smoothies, cheaper than using fresh fruit all of the time, and of course store in the freezer which makes life very easy.
• Berry, avocado, Kale, kiwi and mango
• Banana and strawberry
6. Merchant Gourmet range of ready to eat red and white quinoa mix and the Quinoa snack pots. These are available from most large supermarkets.
Below I have added a recipe that uses the ready prepared Quinoa. Perhaps some of you have other similar products that you buy that you could share with us.
Warm Beetroot and Quinoa salad
- 1 packet of Merchant Gourmet quinoa
- 2 red onions finely sliced
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 raw beetroot (about 70z) grated
- Handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
1. Put 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and cook the onion gently until soft. Add the balsamic vinegar and let it bubble then remove from the heat.
2. Add the quinoa and stir and allow it to warm through by the heat of the onion and the pan.
3. Add the grated beetroot, lemon juice, parsley and seasoning and serve.
Response to question asking about eating ready meals and if Caroline could recommend some:
Yes, I understand where you are coming from and the need for ready meals when energy and motivation is low. I would buy any of the cook chill meals from the fresh chill counters rather than anything ready frozen. Because these have a short shelf life (although you can freeze them yourself) they are less likely to have lots of additives in them. I cannot think of any specifically but it is always worth reading the labels to make sure that there are not too many additives in them. You could always add a few freshly cooked veggies, if that is manageable, to the meal. I always encourage people to buy the soups from the chill counter because soup is nourishing and easy to eat.
I hope that this answers your question. It would also be good to know if a friend or neighbour could help out with some food prep and cooking.
Blog originally written by Caroline - September 2016 - checked April 2020