By Deborah Goldstein
For some, a quick, cheap dinner means whipping up a pot of pasta. For others, it means fast food to go. But according to the food researcher Technomic, more and more consumers are eschewing fast-food restaurants for convenience stores to grab a quick meal. In fact, 55 percent of Americans eat snack foods for dinner. If holiday obligations leave you no time or energy to cook, there’s usually at least one healthy option. Here’s what to buy in the prepared foods section, and what to skip.
Convenience Store Dinners
Made-to-Order Sandwiches: Some convenience stores, like Wawa, offer a full deli. Choose lean turkey breast or chicken, go easy on the cheese, heavy on the vegetables, and opt for a whole-wheat bread.
Prepared Sandwiches: 7-Eleven hosts a 7-Smart line of prepared sandwiches, like its Southwest Turkey Sandwich, each under 400 calories.
Salads: QuikTrip offers a range of packaged salads. While most include meat and cheese, you’ll at least get in a serving of vegetables.
Pair one of the above options with a piece of fruit and bottled water instead of Doritos and soda, and you’ve got a satisfying but sane meal.
What to skip: We probably don’t have to tell you this, but don’t buy hot dogs, jerky, anything promoted with the word “Big” (as in Big Gulp), or fried and cheese-smothered options (taquitos, corn dogs) that have been sitting on heat rollers for hours.
Kashi: According to WebMD.com, the Mayan Harvest Bake, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Black Bean Mango are all low in calories and fat, with the right proportions of protein and fiber.
Amy’s Kitchen: The company’s frozen Teriyaki Wrap, Light and Lean Spinach Lasagna, and Light and Lean Black Bean Cheese Enchilada all scored praise from health experts.
Healthy Choice: Consumer Reports and WebMD suggest their Portabella Spinach Parmesan, Golden Roasted Turkey Breast, Roasted Beef Merlot, Sweet Asian Pot stickers, Pumpkin Squash Ravioli, and Cajun Style Chicken and Shrimp.
Craving pizza? Skip the greasy takeout and try Palermo’s Primo Thin Margherita Pizza or Pacific Natural Foods Fire-Baked Thin Crust Uncured Pepperoni Pizza, both which won over Fitness magazine.