Convenience Foods Item that has been commercially processed to make it more convenient to store or use Includes items that have been processed for a longer shelf life Reduce meal preparation time.
Facts Convenience foods, also called Processed foods, are those that have either completely or in-part commercially prepare Convenience 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 Foods Snacks Main Dishes Side Dishes Complete Meals All already prepared
Advantages of Convenience Foods Less preparation time, so more time enjoying other things Reduced planning, buying and storing of ingredients. Fewer leftovers More variety, especially for inexperienced cooks Faster and easier to cleanup Storability- usually keep well for extended periods Foods sold year round
Disadvantages of Convenience Foods Cooking time is sometimes increased for thawing or longer baking time Products may contain higher amounts of fat, sugar, sodium, and calories Some nutrients are lost during processing Higher costs than homemade Products may contain additives- preservatives, coloring, ect. Products may lack appeal of foods prepared at home Packaging 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 entrees MANUFACTURED- 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 preparation Avoid frustration Avoid wasting ingredients and money Allows one to combine convenience with basic “fresh” ingredients for easier and quicker meal preparation
Classification of label info: Yield Ingredients plus amounts Step-by-step directions Temperature and time
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