All posts by lifes abundance

A Realistic Proposal to Fight Climate Change

planting-trees-for-the-future

As far as problems go, they don't come much larger than the threats posed by global climate change. And yet, instead of engaging in a meaningful debate about the best solution to the problem, we seem to be stuck in a cycle where many remain resistant to the mere idea of tackling the issues we face. Why is it that? Sociologists have an answer to this conundrum that makes perfect sense. Because the problem is so monumental, and the potential devastation too frightening, it almost seems inevitable, as something impossible to fix. But, what if the solution is much simpler than we're expecting? Not only simple but completely doable? And, icing on the cake, what if the fix was something that pretty much everyone views as positive?

In mid-February, a Swiss researcher named Thomas Crowther presented his research findings at the Science Transcending Boundaries Conference, this year's Annual Meeting of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). Until very recently, the prevailing wisdom was that a widescale adoption of wind turbines and a mass conversion of diets from meat-eating to vegetarian would have the greatest impacts on the planet's environment. But after Dr. Crowther presented the results of his amazing research project, we now know that a worldwide tree-planting "spree" would have the greatest impact on our planet's environment. That's right, simply by increasing the number of trees worldwide from three trillion to four trillion, we could cancel out more than a decade of greenhouse emissions right away! According to Crowther, trees should now be viewed as “our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change."

Could restoring the health of our planet be as simple as planting one trillion trees? The longer answer is that a combination of ending destructive farming practices and replenishing our planet's biodiversity through forestation really could be the turning point in our ecological crisis. In a very real sense, planting seedling trees is the first step in a proactive solution to most of our climate problems. On the micro-level, we can help lift people out of poverty, while on the macro-level, we could make great strides towards reversing the proliferation of carbon in the atmosphere.

As part of our Evergreen commitment (Life’s Abundance has been certified as an Evergreen company by the Tugboat Institute), we make decisions based not just on profit, but on long-term sustainability and on being a good steward of the environment. When we launched our line of premium skin-care products, we wanted to do something above and beyond our typical commitment to creating a better world. A reflection of our natural philosophy, we entered into a partnership with Trees for the Future. Every time a customer purchases one of our skin-care products, we make a corresponding commitment to further fund this green initiative by planting a tree.

Trees-for-the-Future

Trees for the Future (TREES) is an international development non-profit that meets a triple bottom line through their tree-planting mission: poverty alleviation, hunger eradication and healing the environment. In addition to planting trees, they train farmers to manage "forest gardens" in order to sustainably feed their families and raise their incomes by as much as four times! And because they utilize sophisticated algorithms and tracking software, our trees are planted are used in areas where they can have the greatest impact. At present, they have trained at-risk peoples in six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Since they were founded in 1989, TREES has planted over 150 million trees!

According to John Leary, executive director of TREES, "Our planet loses 50 soccer fields worth of trees every minute, and much of this deforestation is occurring in the developing tropics where hundreds of millions of families depend on trees for their survival. Once the trees are cleared, most subsistence farmers in the developing world use destructive farming techniques – including both slash-and-burn and modern agriculture – that inhibit the growth of anything but one or a few temporary crops." Leary's belief is that restoring agricultural lands with a diverse combination of trees and crops is the answer to a whole host of pressing global problems, including: desertification; diminishing access to potable water; hunger and poverty; forced migrations; and, of course, climate change itself.

As a corporate sponsor, you can visit our very own TREES web page to view our current count of tree seedlings planted to date. So far, we've planted an amazing 46,000 trees! To put our participation in perspective, if every registered business in the US were to plant the same number of trees, the trillion number goal would be met with an extra 288 billion on top of it!

The thing that stands out for most people is the idea of planting trees is appealing. Pretty much everyone who has ever planted a tree thinks of it as a positive experience. Anyone can do it. They improve urban environments. They absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen. As far as ecosystems go, planting more trees is always a good thing.

Best of all, it would appear people are enthusiastic about Crowther's bold proposal. The UN has already changed the name of their tree-planting initiative to the Trillion Tree Campaign!

So, if you've ever felt like you can't make a difference, now you know you can! We encourage all our readers to visit trees.org and trilliontreecampaign.org and find out more about these initiatives. And, if you're looking for something a little more local, make planting tree seedlings into a regular fun family outing.


For more on the science and the solution, check out these informative links!

https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2019/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/23744

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/forests-climate-change-co2-greenhouse-gases-trillion-trees-global-warming-a8782071.html

https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-02/ez-pcc021119.php

https://www.wearesalt.org/stopping-the-sixth-extinction-habitat-creation/

https://futurism.com/planting-trillions-trees-cancel-co2-emissions/

http://trees.org/app/uploads/2018/03/One-Shot-Meltwater-Email-PR.pdf

Cherry Porter Recipe

Cherry-Porter-Beer-Recipe

March is here and that means millions of us are looking forward to St. Patrick's Day. This year, we've created a simple yet delicious beverage to toast friends and family with when you get your green on. So without any further ado, let us introduce you to our Cherry Porter Recipe!

Perhaps no other beer speaks to Irish tradition more than a deep, rich, frothy porter. And now, you can add a scrumptious, nutritious kick in mere moments. You'll be enjoying the boldness of a stout beer but giving your body the nourishment it truly craves, thanks to our incredibly nourishing Minerals & Antioxidants Mix. Each serving packs 74 plant derived trace minerals, antioxidants from 11 super fruits, over 17,775 ORAC units, all blended to perfection with coconut water & aloe vera.

Be sure to share this inspired recipe with friends and family!

Ingredients

Directions

In a glass or mug, combine Minerals & Antioxidants with water and stir. Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle and slowly pour the beer at the midpoint of the glass, tilting toward an upright position as the glass fills. After that, there's nothing left to do but raise a toast to your good health and enjoy the creamy, yummy goodness of our Cherry Porter!

If you think you can improve upon our recipe, or if you've created something special with one of our signature line of nutrition supplements, let us know how you did it in the comments in the section below!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Solve 10 Common Skin Care Mistakes

avoid-skincare-mistakes-lifes-abundance

We all want gorgeous, glowing complexions, and our shopping habits prove it: Americans spend between roughly $1,000 and $2,000 per year on skin-care products — most of which often end up in the junk drawer — and the dermatology-drugs market is expected to reach a whopping $34.5 billion by 2023. But despite our best efforts and intentions, many of us don’t love what we see in the mirror, and sometimes figuring out the reason requires a little sleuthing. Here are 10 mistakes you might be making in your skin-care routine and how to fix them.

1. Skipping sunscreen. Safety first, kids. If you think you only need to wear sunscreen on sunny summer days, think again. “The sun emits harmful UV rays year-round,” says the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). “Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.”

Do this instead: Slather on SPF 30 or above any time you’re going to be outside (rain, snow or shine) 15 minutes before you plan to leave the house, choosing a waterproof formula if you expect to swim or perspire. Re-apply regularly to ensure consistent protection. And don’t skimp: Experts say most adults need a full ounce of sunscreen, or enough to fill a shot glass, to cover their exposed skin.

2. Not eating a balanced diet. Our bodies need a full complement of vitamins to produce healthy skin cells and collagen. So if you want a dewy complexion, subsisting on ramen noodles for lunch and mac and cheese isn’t going to cut it. Refined carbohydrates are linked to acne. Alcohol makes us puffy and red and can age us prematurely. Skimp on vegetables and protein today, say hello to crow’s feet tomorrow.

Do this instead: Give your skin a daily feast of skin-boosting vitamins and antioxidants by filling your plate with a rainbow of produce. “Make sure they are a bunch of colors — red cabbage, green lettuce etc.,” says New York-based dermatologist Dennis Gross. “Eat veggies that have a lot of color. Nature color codes them for us. The more colors you eat, the better.” Round out your meals with lean proteins, omega-3-rich fish, whole grains, legumes and healthy fats. These foods “are good for your whole body, and that includes your skin,” says Dr. Rajani Katta of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. You can also talk to your doctor about addressing gaps in your nutrition via multivitamins and supplements.

3. Washing your face too frequently. It may seem counterintuitive, but over-cleansing your skin can actually cause it to become more oily. That’s because when you strip the naturally occurring sebum, your sebaceous glands ramp up production to compensate. The result: More shine, and a more conducive environment for breakouts.

Do this instead: Gently wash your face using a mild cleanser. Those with oilier complexions can wash up to two times a day, according to the AAD, while drier types can often get away with once-daily cleansing.

4. Exfoliating the wrong way. Done right, exfoliation creates a smooth, supple canvas for absorbing facial treatments or wearing makeup. Done wrong, and you’re setting yourself up for irritation, dryness or breakouts.

Do this instead: Those with dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin may prefer cleansing the skin with a washcloth. For those with darker skin tones, avoid aggressive exfoliation which may result in dark spots on the skin.

5. Using too-hot water. Beyond the obvious threat of burns, overly hot water dries your skin, leaving it more susceptible to wrinkles, flakes and painful cracking. It also can trigger an immune response in some people, resulting in rashes and hives.

What you should do instead: Use the coolest temperature you can tolerate, and keep your showers short. Not only will this save your skin, but it also can cut down on water-heater costs.

clean-healthy-skin-lifes-abundance

6. Not removing your eye makeup. This is a big one. Leave your eyeliner and mascara on, and you’re practically begging for an infection. “In some patients, makeup on the eyelid can cause problems such as irritation and infection of the surface of the eye and also damage to eyelashes,” says Scottish ophthalmologist Shahriar Nabili. “Some patients can also develop problems with the tear duct and watery eye.” And if the situation gets bad enough, it could even threaten your vision.

Do this instead: Soak a cotton ball or pad with a mild eye-makeup remover and press it to your closed eyelid. Gently stroke from the inside corner of your upper lid outward until all makeup is gone.

7. Picking at your face. Did you know that human fingernails can harbor staphylococcus bacteria, fungi and other horrors? And yet there you are, using them to extract blackheads like it’s no big deal. News flash: IT IS A BIG DEAL. Picking and mashing can lead to infections, scarring and bruising (and leave you looking like a mess, to boot).

Do this instead: Spot-treat pimples with a benzoyl peroxide-, salicylic acid- or sulfur-based product, and see a dermatologist if your acne persists. Otherwise, hands off.

8. Sleeping too little. It’s called beauty rest for a reason, friends. Not getting enough shut-eye wreaks havoc on our skin in myriad ways. Beyond causing dark under-eye circles, sleep deprivation raises our stress levels, which can lead to oiliness, breakouts and premature wrinkles.

Do this instead: Strive for seven to eight hours of sleep. It’s worth it.

9. Wearing the wrong kind of foundation. Sad to say, but there is no one-size-fits-all foundation. Oil-based foundations may be great for dry or aging skin, but they’re terrible for shinier faces. On the other hand, powders can cake or settle into fine lines.

Do this instead: Pick a foundation that’s made for your skin type. If you’re acne-prone, opt for an oil-free, noncomedogenic formula. If wrinkles are a concern, look for liquid or cream bases containing emollients. And don’t forget to switch to a lighter or powder-based version in the summer, when heat and humidity can melt your makeup right off.

10. Not seeing a dermatologist. Ultimately there is no substitution for regular visits to your doctor. Self-diagnosing conditions such as acne or psoriasis could lead you to treatments that either don’t work or exacerbate your problem. And catching skin cancer early greatly increases a patient’s chances of survival.

Do this instead: Schedule a mole check with your dermatologist annually. In between visits, regularly inspect your skin for any changes — and if something worries you, book an appointment right away.

Chocolate & Berry Protein Smoothie Bowl

Yummy-Chocolate-Berry-Smoothie-Bowl

Are you tired of the same old oatmeal? Does reaching for your go-to cereal box feel like a joyless act? Maybe it's time for a breakfast that will not only kickstart your morning with amazing nutrients but also make your taste buds sing!

If you're on Instagram or Pinterest, you know that smoothie bowls are the hip choice for breakfast ... and with good reason! Our culinary team focused all of their combined creative powers to come up with a seriously delicious smoothie bowl recipe. It's easy, it's fast and boy-oh-boy, is it satisfying! It may just be the perfect health snack. Make it for yourself or even, since Valentine's Day is only a week away, surprise your partner with this delectable bowl of velvety yumminess.

It's perfect for vegans and vegetarians who need extra protein in their diet. That's because our Chocolate Plant Protein is 100% plant-based, offering up a clean, nutrient-rich serving of proteins from our unique blend of pea, chia, pumpkin, hemp and quinoa. This premium supplement is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and grain-free, too! Just remember to use your favorite non-dairy milk!

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas, frozen
  • 2 scoops Life’s Abundance Chocolate Plant Protein
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup frozen berries of choice
  • 1 Tbsp. nut butter of choice
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Toppings: Shredded coconut, nuts or seeds, cacao nibs, granola, banana slices and fresh berries

Directions

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add your favorite toppings. Serve chilled.

Protein-Smoothie-Bowl

Be sure to share this fun and simple recipe with friends and family! And if you create your own twist using different toppings, be sure to share your ideas and results in the comments section below!

Customer Bulletin: Excess Vitamin D Recall Expanded

sick-husky-vitamin-d-recall

NOTE: NO LIFE’S ABUNDANCE PET FOODS ARE INVOLVED IN THIS OR ANY RECALL.

Update as of January 31, 2019:

Hill’s Pet Nutrition voluntarily recalled select canned dog food products due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D. Specifically, 14 different Hill's Prescription Diet and 11 Science Diet canned foods are involved. These recalled products were distributed to retail stores and veterinary clinics nationwide. This recall is the first to involve canned pet food. Click here for the current FDA information and recall list.

Original Article Posted on December 5, 2018:

The FDA has expanded its investigation of the presence of elevated levels of Vitamin D in dry dog foods, which can be toxic and cause serious health problems. Currently, there are eight brands and twelve different diets that have been recalled. After evaluating samples of several of these foods, the FDA found an alarming 70 times the intended amount of vitamin D. Although an essential nutrient for dogs, very high amounts of Vitamin D can cause serious health problems like kidney failure or death.

The FDA says signs of elevated vitamin D levels can include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling and weight loss. Pet parents with dogs that have been eating the recalled brands and showing these symptoms should discontinue use, contact their veterinarian and can also report a suspected case to the FDA. Click here for the current FDA information and recall list.

Suspected Problem

In the pet food industry, it is common for manufacturers to make dog food diets for other companies. For example, Sunshine Mills makes Evolve, Triumph and Nature Farms, to name a few. It is also very common for these manufacturers to purchase generic vitamin and mineral mixes and use them in other brands. This could be the reason why we saw the Vitamin D recall start with just two brands and expand to eight brands ... and maybe even more.

Safer Solution

At Life's Abundance, we have a much better and safer way of making pet foods. For example, as it relates to this situation with Vitamin D, we do not use a generic vitamin and mineral mix in our pet diets. In other words, the mix we use is a proprietary formula that is made only for Life's Abundance and no other company. This exclusive vitamin and mineral mix goes beyond what AAFCO requires and is just one of the steps we take to make sure your pets are getting safe and nutritious foods.

We hope the information we shared with you will do two things. Alert unsuspecting dog food consumers of this situation so their dogs don’t get sick and also help you feel even more confident about Life's Abundance and our commitment to helping families, including our pets, live long, healthy lives!

Say Goodbye to Doggie Breath

goodbye-doggie-breath

February is National Pet Dental Month so it's a great time to reassess your dental care plan for your companion animals. If you're a new pet parent, or if the idea of cleaning your dog's teeth seems at all daunting, it's a great time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for an assessment of your pet’s oral health and, if needed, schedule a dental cleaning.

If you’re wondering why the awareness campaign lasts for a whole month, it’s because periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed disease in dogs. Crazy, right? According to the latest stats, four out of every five dogs over the age of two have some degree of periodontal disease!

“But his teeth look fine!” you might protest. The problem is that plaque (the gummy film that forms on a pet’s teeth within hours of eating) isn’t obvious to the naked eye. Over the course of several days it combines with minerals to harden into tartar. Over weeks and months, this tartar builds into a thick brown stain.

Many put off professional dental cleanings due to costs or feared risks. But there is a steep price to pay for neglecting your companion animal’s dental health. Avoiding a consistent care regimen can lead to excessive tartar, tooth decay, periodontal disease, even painful abscesses. These conditions can be the gateway to other major medical conditions involving the heart, liver and kidneys ... even joint problems. As with humans, such advanced dental disease can diminish your doggo’s quality of life and may even shorten his or her lifespan. Some older pets have mouths that are so painful that eating becomes an ordeal. By addressing periodontal concerns early on, your dog will also live longer, healthier and enjoy a better quality life.

happy-woman-smiling-dog

There are many benefits to having your pet’s teeth cleaned. No matter how much we joke about dog breath, the odors caused by dental infections are no laughing matter. After a dental cleaning, your pet’s breath will be fresh again. Best of all, it can actually remain fresh with regular home care. Keep in mind that the regular use of health-promoting dental care products and treats can help reduce plaque buildup and freshen breath, too.

Thanks to National Pet Dental Month, now is the ideal time to take advantage of dental cleaning specials offered by veterinary clinics. Be sure to check with your clinic soon to inquire about any current promotions. Think of your veterinarian as an informative partner who can help you to ensure that your pupper has the kind of regular oral healthcare that will help to support a long and healthy life.

We're incredibly pleased to announce that starting February 1st, Life’s Abundance will be celebrating National Pet Dental Health Month with exclusive savings on select products. Throughout the entire month of February, Gourmet Dental Treats for Adult Dogs and Porky Puffs are available to everyone at their discounted Autoship prices ... up to 18% savings off retail! 

There's never been a better time to provide your dog with yummy, nutritious treats that can actually help to maintain a healthy mouth. So place an order today and say "goodbye" to doggie breath!

Four Pet Trends to Look for in 2019

Does your dog have her own dedicated Twitter following? Is your cat a fabulous Instagram star? Do you find yourself skimming the trades to make sure your puppy or kitten will have the freshest, from everyday chic wear to the slickest tech toys? If so, trends are def your thing.

Now that 2019 is well and truly underway, we're taking a closer look at pet trends for the coming year. Specifically, we'll check out four distinct areas: smart tech, alternative health, special diets and emotional health.

So, without any further ado, let's check out what's hot and what's not for doggos and kittehs for the immediate future. To view the full-size PDF, simply click on the image below. And be sure to share this handy infographic with other like-minded pet parents, too!

Four-Pet-Trends-for-2019Four-Pet-Trends-for-2019

Don’t Be D-Railed by Short Winter Days

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Even though the days are growing longer, we’re all coming off months of reduced time in the sun. While snuggling in the warmth of cozy dens holds appeal, there are some drawbacks to limited solar exposure. When it's colder and darker, outdoor activity is typically limited, too. Medically speaking, it also means we might start experiencing a dip in our vitamin D levels. The reason? According to the National Institutes of Health, most people need at least some of their vitamin D minimum requirements to be self-sourced through exposure to sunlight.

It's by no means a small problem. Approximately one billion people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency. This fat-soluble vitamin helps us absorb calcium, grow strong bones and maintain our immune system. Those who are deficient in vitamin D might find themselves at greater risk for such troubling diseases as rickets (especially in children), osteoporosis (especially among the elderly) and even autoimmune disorders. Vitamin D deficiency is even increasingly linked to seasonal affective disorder, that feeling of sadness or anxiety that expresses itself during the winter months.

So how do you keep your vitamin D levels ramped up even during winter? Here are three suggestions to help keep your body nourished.

1. Boost Your Diet: Vitamin D naturally occurs in very few foods. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are likely your best source, although you can also find it in smaller amounts in egg yolks, cheese and beef liver. If the thought of beef liver or mackerel doesn’t quite do it for you, and you’ve had your quota of salmon for the week, look for fortified foods on your grocery shelves. A lot of cereals are loaded with vitamin D, and dairy products started adding vitamin D in the 1930's to fight rickets. If you’re trying to figure out how to create a menu containing the 600 IU of vitamin D an average adults needs, the USDA has compiled a comprehensive list of food sources (visit https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/vitamin-d).

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2. Go Outside: People who live farthest from the equator are at the highest risk of experiencing a vitamin D deficiency. That’s why it's so important that you make sure you expose yourself to sunshine every day, if at all possible. Even though we all know we're supposed to use sunscreen, doctors recommend that we all try to spend a few minutes outside without sunscreen so that those ultraviolet rays can soak into your skin, mix with your cholesterol and transform into vitamin D. You can keep your face covered, and just have your arms uncovered for 10-30 minutes a days. Healthline reports that midday is the best time to get some sunshine: “[A] study found that 30 minutes of midday summer sun exposure in Oslo, Norway, was equivalent to consuming 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D.” Be forewarned that melanin in darkly pigmented skin can act as a barrier that prevents vitamin D production. So, if you have darker skin, you might need to spend a little extra time outside. Try to schedule lunch breaks that coincide with the brightest time of day, especially during the winter months, to ensure that you're soaking up prime rays.

3. Pop a Multivitamin: Because so many people do live far away from the equator and struggle to meet their requirements with food, dietary vitamin D supplements are the best and easiest way to boost your health in this regard. Just one serving of our plant-based Life’s Abundance Multivitamin will provide you with the full recommended 600 IU of vitamin D.

Here’s to a bright and D-lightful New Year for all of us!

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4143492/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286496.php
https://ods.od.nih.gov/pubs/usdandb/VitaminD-Content.pdf
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-from-sun#sunscreen

Yummy Protein Zucchini Muffins

muffin-fresh-from-the-oven

Nothing's better than a warm, golden muffin fresh from the oven on a cold winter morning. The next time you get a powerful craving for muffins, don't use a cheap grocery store mix. Use your imagination! Our culinary experts tried several combinations of fruits and veggies before discovering a taste sensation that's a guaranteed palate pleaser. We don't mind telling you that this recipe was a serious hit with our co-workers at our home office.

Our bakery-worthy muffins are made from scratch, so you'll rack up some bragging rights for your incredible kitchen skills when you serve these to your friends and family. As it's written below, this recipe yields approximately 6-8 muffins. But you might even consider whipping up a double batch of these irresistible delights.

Be sure to share this inspired recipe with friends and family! And if you do your own twist on this recipe, using different fruits or vegetables, be sure to share your ideas and results in the comments section below!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 scoop Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 2 Tbsp. apple sauce, unsweetened
  • 2 Tbsp. light agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 6 regular-sized muffin tins. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add remaining ingredients to the bananas and stir.

Add the wet mixture to the dry, stirring until just combined. Pour into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating pan half way through. 

Protein-Zucchini-Muffin-is-served

Convenient Health Foods For Time-Strapped Eaters

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Most nutritionists encourage people to choose lean protein over fatty meats, and vegetables over french fries. But when it’s 6:45 p.m. and you’re staring down at a solid block of frozen chicken breast that you forgot to thaw overnight, the temptation to order pizza is strong. So strong.

Drive-through and fast-casual restaurants are in heavy rotation in many American homes. The truth is, we cook less than pretty much any other developed nation. But it’s to our own detriment, as a strong correlation exists between cooking at home and better nutrition. Among the main reasons we don’t cook? We just don’t have enough time. Fortunately, there is such a thing as a healthy convenience food! From the humble rotisserie chicken to a bag of mixed vegetables, these time-saving items are also super nutritious.

Rotisserie Chicken

Available at most supermarkets for well under the cost of a large hand-tossed Meat Lover's, these ready-to-serve birds make dinner a snap. Just add a side of vegetables and heart-healthy grains, and you’re good to go. One caveat: Some brands are heavy on salt, so either factor that into your choices for the rest of the day, or find a plain-cooked variety like those sold at higher-end grocery stores.

Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

Yeah, we feel pretty self-satisfied toting a basketful of fresh produce up to the checkout counter, too. But that quickly turns to guilt when we have to toss three-quarters of it in the trash a week later because "life happened." Chopping fruit and vegetables takes time we’d rather spend elsewhere, and the pre-prepped servings you’ll find at the store are often come with a significant markup. We’ve found our salvation a few aisles over, in the freezer section. Washed, cut and ready for action, frozen vegetables are the ultimate time-saver for stir-fry dishes, soups and sides. Or pop half a cup of frozen berries into the fridge overnight for a quick-and-delicious yogurt topper. Lest you worry that this convenience comes with diminished nutrition, know that frozen produce is processed at peak ripeness, and nowadays you can even find organic options in most supermarkets.

Prepackaged Oatmeal

We love a mason jar filled with elaborate overnight-oat concoctions as much as anyone, but when it comes to saving time and energy, there’s nothing like a single-serving packet of the instant stuff. The main advantage of traditional oats is their comparatively low glycemic index score (55 versus 70 for instant, which means they’re less likely to raise blood sugar). Whether you prepare your oatmeal the old-fashioned way with boiling water, or heat it in the microwave, within minutes you’ll have an fiber-, iron- and protein-rich bowl that’s delicious plain or with accoutrements. Just make sure to choose a brand without added sugar and sodium.

Canned Beans

Beans are near the top of many experts’ health-food lists, but by the end of a long day, the only thing we feel like soaking is our own bodies, in a hot bathtub, preferably within grasping distance of some dark chocolate. Good thing canned beans are nutritionally equivalent to dry beans, provided you choose products without added salt or sugar (or at least rinse them thoroughly to remove said salt or sugar). Canned beans make Meatless Mondays a snap. Simply mash them with a fork and spread them on a corn tortilla with melted cheese for a quick and tasty dinner. Simmer a can or two of black beans for 20-30 minutes in some pre-packaged broth along with a bag of frozen vegetables for an easy protein-filled soup. Or combine them with corn, olive oil and cilantro for a yummy side dish!

Canned Fish

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends we eat at least two servings of seafood a week. That might be easily achievable if you live on one of the coasts, but affordable fresh fish is harder to come by in many communities — and potentially labor-intensive to prepare regardless of where you live. Widely available canned tuna and salmon is already cooked and ready to eat or cook straight out of the tin. It’s also often cheaper than fresh while boasting the same high protein content and omega-fatty acid profiles. Mix it with salsa for a zesty sandwich topper or stir in plain Greek yogurt for a nutritious take on tuna or salmon salad. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, whip up a quick batch of five-ingredient salmon croquettes. #Drool.

How do you save time while eating well? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Sources

https://www.livescience.com/13930-americans-cook-obese.html
https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/get-cooking-at-home
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379714004000
https://www.kcet.org/food/grocery-store-economics-why-are-rotisserie-chickens-so-cheap
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/05/17/611693137/frozen-food-fan-as-sales-rise-studies-show-frozen-produce-is-as-healthy-as-fresh
https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/glycemic-index-good-versus-bad-carbs#1
https://www.forksoverknives.com/why-should-we-eat-beans/#gs.oZn3KuU
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/salmon-croquettes-recipe-1952311