The Pre-Packaged Problem

“Eat real food.”

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How many times have you heard this slogan passed from person to person, blogger to blogger? Put real, whole foods in your body and reap the rewards. Heck, I say it all the time! It’s there because it’s true. I feel better, both physically and emotionally, when I’m fueling my body with honest-to-goodness, grown from the earth food. The thing is, even after you take out the fact that sometimes the fake, pre-packaged stuff can be kinda awesome (in the moment, at least), real life is not always conducive to eating real food.

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There isn’t always time to make your own crackers or bake your own bread from scratch. My experience making my own chicken stock taught me this well! So how do you balance out the cost and convenience of pre-packaged items with the knowledge that pumping your body full of preservatives and chemically-altered foodstuffs probably ain’t the best thing?

Because of my tendency to have an all-or-nothing mentality, I generally am either completely on or off the wagon when it comes to eating cleanly. I could be munching on nothing but tupperware containers filled with grapes, strawberries, and celery with natural peanut butter (like I may or may not be doing right now) on any given day, but the following week I might be heating up a Lean Cuisine, eating it with a side of Triscuits, and having a spoonfull of Nutella for dessert.

I think it’s all about balance (could I BE more cliche?), as with all things when it comes to diet and a well-rounded lifestyle. I’m still working on trying to find my own middle-ground. I think it’s safe to say that some brands of pre-packaged what-have-yous are better than others too (though again, cost issues may come into play here). I’m a big fan of Kashi, Cascadian Farms, and the Whole Foods 365 brand products, and try to pour those into my cart more often than Nabisco and Kraft (though obviously, I often fail, haha).

How do you balance eating clean with cost and convenience?