Convenience Foods That Are Actually a Waste

Time and money are to things no one ever wants to waste. To help save a little of both, many people stock their kitchens with convenience foods like frozen veggies or appetizers from the freezer section. And while some of these foods can be a wise investment, sadly, some of them are a complete waste of money.

Meal prepping and planning is a great way to eat a healthy diet while on a tight schedule and strict budget. But since that’s not always possible every week, resorting to convenience foods in sometimes your best options. Just don’t waste your time or cash on the following.

Loaded burritos

Vegetarian sweet potato burrito with black beans, avocado, salsa verde and a whole wheat tortilla

Buy the individual ingredients for less, and make your own. |

Whether you indulge in a giant burrito at a fast food taco shop or you stock your freezer with the frozen variety, you’re loading your body with calories and probably wasting your cash. Instead, take the $8 to $10 you spend on the burritos and invest it in the ingredients to make your own. That way, you’ll use healthier ingredients, and your money will go farther.

Next: Just take the time to prep the lettuce.

Packaged salads

Packaged Salad

You’re paying someone else to wash and prep the greens. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Bagged greens seem especially convenient to those who don’t want to waste time washing and prepping. But not only will your lettuce lose flavor and antioxidants sitting in a bag, but the packaging is often bad for the environment. Plus, sometimes the greens are washed in an industrial-grade chlorine-filled wash. Yikes.

Next: Skip the smoothie.


Glass of blueberry smoothie

You can make your own healthier version. | baibaz/iStock/Getty Images

 Smoothies are delicious, convenient, and seemingly healthy… but when you order one, you might be sipping on lies. Not only are they loaded with sugar, very expensive, and sometimes full of additives, you’ll often find yourself hungry again shortly after you finish one. If you’re a smoothie addict, make your own at home with greens, fresh fruits, and healthy protein powder so you’ll know exactly what’s in it.

Next: Bad news for Lean Cuisine lovers.

Frozen entrees

Frozen meal

They’re both bad for your waistline and your wallet. | hillwoman2/iStock/Getty Images

While not all frozen dinners are created equal, the vast majority are bad for both your waistline and your wallet. Often loaded with sodium and preservatives, many frozen entrees will leave you feeling unsatisfied … and more often than not, they just don’t taste that great. Take a couple of hours every week to prep and freeze your own food — you’ll notice a big difference in your health and your wallet.

Next: Put down the Lunchable.

Processed snack packs

Whole Grain Wheat Round Crackers

A small pack of crackers isn’t worth the price. |

Many of us grew up eating Lunchables, convenient collections of cheese, crackers, and meats. Unfortunately, they’re filled with sodium and saturated fat, and they’re not worth the price. But some reusable containers and make your own snack packs.

Next: Stay off the juice.

Store bought juice

A freshly squeezed orange juice in a glass

Consider investing in a juicer — or eat fresh produce instead. | canovass/iStock/Getty Images

More often than not, fruit juice is a waste of calories and cash — yes, even the 100% “fresh-squeezed” stuff. Nutritionally speaking, you’re much better off eating fresh produce and skipping it entirely — but if you simply love your juice, you may want to consider investing in a juicer.

Next: Please make your own PB&J.


cut Uncrustable

They’re overpriced and unhealthy. | Austin Kirk/Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a parent or a super-picky eater, the idea of picking up a pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the crusts probably sounds like a dream come true. But not only are Uncrustables overpriced, they’re unhealthy and inconvenient — no one wants to waste time heating up a PB&J. It’s well worth it to make your own.

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