The Cost of Convenience


It is so easy to peruse the aisles at the grocery store and grab the most convenient products that will make food prep a cinch.  But have you ever stopped to wonder as you grab that can of green beans or pre-minced garlic about the true cost of convenience?

I’ve come to believe that the cost can hurt a little more than just our bank accounts.

1) Convenience food is more expensive.

I am a very frugal shopper.  I stand in the aisles and I compare prices until I am sure that the product I am buying is the best bang for my buck. 

Yesterday, while comparing prices, I realized that many of the items I buy are more expensive merely because they are somewhat processed.  For example, I usually buy the pre-cut romaine lettuce that come in a plastic container.  I was somewhat shocked to find that the pre-cut romaine was over a dollar more expensive than whole heads of romaine!  I bought two and decided to pay closer attention to what I put in my cart!

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On the next aisle, I was on a mission to find rice.  I love the instant brown rice that you can cook in 1o minutes.  It’s super easy.  However, I found that I can get a much larger amount of non-instant brown rice for half the price!  It was the same with canned red beans VS dried red beans.

2) Taste and Texture

Canned produce can never compare to the real deal taste wise.  A few months back, before I began Happy Heart, Happy Mind, Larry and I had Sheppard’s Pie for dinner.  I made him a small batch with canned peas, and I made a batch for myself with fresh spinach.  His green peas were mushy, salty, grey, and sickly looking.  My spinach was flavorful and bright green.  Seeing the fresh produce and the canned produce side by side really had an impact on us.  Since then we’ve sworn off the canned stuff. 

3) BPA

Bisphenol A is a chemical that is used when making plastic containers and the resin that lines the insides of food and beverage cans.  Although there is some debate regarding the effects of BPA on humans, there have been studies that have shown that it can be harmful.  One study concluded that individuals with higher levels of BPA in their urine were more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, and  liver abnormalities.  Another study found that it can cause hormonal problems such as cancer.  [Source]

I don’t know about you, but BPA does not sound like it is something I want to  ingest.  Eating fresh and frozen produce, dry beans, and non-instant brown rice is one way to ensure that I avoid BPA exposure.

4) Processed foods have added sugars, sodium, preservatives, and pesticides.

In order to give food a long shelf life, it is loaded with sodium and preservatives.  But, is it really a good thing that some foods can last for over a year without going bad???

Food manufacturers also know that the more sugar or salt that is in a product, the more our bodies will crave and the more we will buy.  So guess what they do.  They add more salt and sugar.  Canned vegetables and canned beans are loaded with sodium. I want to be in control of the amount of sodium in my food.  

Tonight for dinner I made a quick and easy salad that was not made with convenience food. 

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Romaine lettuce topped with Roma tomatoes, red beans, feta cheese, avocado, and boiled eggs.

With a side of homemade dressing.

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Yes, it took me a few extra minutes to chop the romaine and mix the dressing, but it was well worth it.  Not only was this dinner exquisitely satisfying and tasty, it was good for me, too!

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Cost of Convenience

  1. Alicia

    I am completely on board with this. I too am an extremely frugal shopper. I did want to add that in my busy life, I’ve had to make choices about which convenience foods I cut out and which are necessary for my sanity! For example, I buy brown rice in a bag and make it the old fashioned way but I buy canned (organic) beans and drain and rinse them well. It’s not as if it’s takes an incredible amount of time to soak dried beans, it’s remembering to put them in the water before I leave for work so they are ready in the evening that gets me every time.

    I think that this is a great thing to put out there to have people think about. There is, however, a healthy way to balance convenience vs. quality!

  2. Great post! We definitely sacrifice a lot – in terms of health, cost, and taste – when we opt for convenience foods. You’re totally right that just a touch of extra effort can make a world of difference!

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