Finding Balance Between Convenience & Home Cooking

Monday October 01, 2018

Anp bananapackage wsetting

I will be completely honest, I wasn’t a complete fan of these convenience products when they started flooding the grocery aisles. As a 30-something year old in a two person household, I prefer (and enjoy) to chop my vegetables myself, grind my coffee beans from whole, and make my own salad dressings. But as I was meal planning for the week, and I realized that it would be quicker for me to buy Community Naturals cauliflower rice than to chop it myself. It is organic, plus I saved time from having to clean out all the itty bits from my food processor. So while I’m still not a complete believer in convenience products, I now know there can be a good balance in utilizing both. Below I’ve broken down my view points on both options and how you too can find a balance with both.

Home Cooking
1. Practise makes perfect. My knife skills have significantly improved after chopping veggies several times a week.
2. Family bonding (and learning). Children of all ages can help measure flours, and cut soft vegetables which can teach them more about cooking, and have a healthy connection with food. For me personally, some of my fondest moments in the kitchen are when my partner joins me in preparing a meal (of course some singing and dancing add to the fun).
3. It can inspire you! After chopping and peeling numerous vegetables, I was inspired to do something with all the scraps instead of throwing them in the compost which is when I discovered veggie scrap stock.
4. It helps kick start the digestive system. Your digestion starts with salvation. And what makes us salivate any more than seeing and smelling the delicious ingredients you are cooking up.
5. You pick and choose your ingredients. If you have any sort of dietary restriction, you know that a prepared meal likely has or doesn’t have certain ingredients. By making everything from scratch, you get to choose what goes in, or stays out of your meal.

Convenience Food
This really doesn’t require a list. These foods are called convenient for a reason – they save you a good chunk of time in the kitchen, and often times, saves you some money too. For example, Community Naturals Mirepoix (pre-chopped carrot, celery, and onion) is only $4.29 for all organic ingredients that are pre-cut for you. That is certainly cheaper than buying all of those organic ingredients on their own.

Unless you are a baker by heart, you may not have all the essential ingredients on hand and buying them all at once can get expensive. Which is where baking mixes come in! Alberta Natural Products just launched their new baking mixes with 7 varieties including banana bread, cake and muffins using non-GMO ingredients that are free from preservatives, artificial colours and flavours. For $6.99 (and members save 20% off until October 10) you get all your ingredients to create a scrumptious and quick dessert.

So where does the balance come in? Try to limit yourself to one or two convenience products and balance your convenience product with a homemade component. If you’re using a baking mix, maybe you make banana nice cream to go with it. If you purchase pre-chopped vegetables, the kids can sauté them instead of chopping them and still be involved in the process.

by Kelsey Williams, C.H.N.C & Community Natural Foods Marketing Team Member