Item that has been commercially processed to make it more convenient to store or useIncludes items that have been processed for a longer shelf lifeReduce meal preparation time.
Convenience foods, also called Processed foods, are those that have either completely or in-part commercially prepareConvenience foods are canned, frozen, cured, dried, or freeze-dried.Processing helps to keep perishable foods from spoiling by destroying or slowing down the growth of harmful microorganisms.Convenience foods can be stored at room temperature and for longer periods of time than “fresh” foods.
Facts continued …..
Most convenience foods do not require special skills or equipment to prepare.Directions and ingredients on convenience food labels give clues as to how the food can fit into a balanced, healthful diet or meal plan.
Examples of Convenience FoodsSnacksMain DishesSide DishesComplete MealsAll already prepared
Advantages of Convenience Foods
Less preparation time, so more time enjoying other thingsReduced planning, buying and storing of ingredients.Fewer leftoversMore variety, especially for inexperienced cooksFaster and easier to cleanupStorability- usually keep well for extended periodsFoods sold year round
Disadvantages of Convenience Foods
Cooking time is sometimes increased for thawing or longer baking timeProducts may contain higher amounts of fat, sugar, sodium, and caloriesSome nutrients are lost during processingHigher costs than homemadeProducts may contain additives- preservatives, coloring,ect.Products may lack appeal of foods prepared at homePackaging may negatively impact the environment
Three Levels of Convenience
BASIC – canned, frozen, or dried foods with one or very few ingredients; instant potatoes, frozen juice concentrates, and canned vegetables.COMPLEX – several ingredients with more time-saving processing; these often cost more than homemade- ready-to-use frosting, frozen waffles, and frozen entreesMANUFACTURED- cannot be made at home, relatively expensive because of production technology—carbonated beverages, instant breakfast, and ready to-eat cereals
Following Label Directions helps:
Ensure successful food preparationAvoid frustrationAvoid wasting ingredients and moneyAllows one to combine convenience with basic “fresh” ingredients for easier and quicker meal preparation
Classification of label info:
YieldIngredients plus amountsStep-by-step directionsTemperature and time