Mason County News
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Family Times
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 • Posted April 22, 2009

Tips To Make Convenience Foods Healthier

“Convenience”, prepackaged foods, like mixes, are becoming the busy family’s version of a home cooked meal. Although this a more costly way to cook, it is also quicker, and it beats going through the drive thru, both costwise and healthwise. So here are some tips from Iowa State University Extension to help you make those convenience foods healthier!

For boxed mixes of rice, pasta, or stuffing mix, use only 1/2 (or leave out) the margarine called for on the box.

For seasoned rice mixes, use only half of the seasoning packet to keep the sodium down. Use the other half when fixing plain rice or use it as a seasoning for slow cooked meats or veggies.

For frozen stir fry meals, do the same thing, use only 1/2 of the sauce provided.

Add chopped veggies to a frozen pizza before cooking.

Use cottage cheese or plain yogurt instead of sour cream on your baked potato.

Add frozen mixed veggies to any cream soup for a healthier meal.

Add grated frozen spinach to tomato based pasta sauce (start with a little and build up to 1/2 a package per jar of sauce). Sneaky nutrition!

Make sure to drain the fat from cooked hamburger (you can also put it in a colander and rinse it with water) to reduce the fat in your boxed hamburger casserole mix.

For a boxed brownie mix, substitute an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce for the vegetable oil called for.

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