Convenience Junk Foods
Processed foods might be the crème de la crème of junk foods—real villains. Judith Groch of MedPage Today explains convenience foods save little time and—as we know—lack nutrients:
Commercial foods, as the term is used in this study, are either purchased as ready-to-eat (hot dogs) or prepared by the home cook according to package directions (macaroni and cheese). These foods are more or less synonymous with so-called "convenience foods."
Of the 64 weeknight dinners, 70% were home-cooked, although not necessarily from the beginning. Most of these evening meals included moderate amounts of packaged commercial or convenience foods.
These included stir-fry mixes, potstickers, chicken dishes and barbecued ribs, as well as canned or frozen vegetables, specialty breads (ready-to-eat, parbaked, or from a mix), canned soup, commercial pasta sauce, bagged salads, and hot dogs.
Fewer than 15% of the families ate dinners consisting mainly of takeout or fast foods, and only 5% combined takeout food with food prepared at home, the researchers noted. Only about 10% were completely home-cooked.
Home-cooked meals with a moderate assist from commercial foods required an average of 34 minutes "hands-on time" and 52 minutes "total time" to prepare.
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