Can a “boxed” meal be healthy, nutritious, and delicious? Yes! There are so many boxed meals available and many are now available in natural and organic varieties as well as gluten-free and vegetarian. I love that we have so many choices and we’re no longer relegated to the old “blue box” of macaroni and cheese. Now there are varieties that have fewer processed ingredients so you can have something that’s nutritionally superior and feed your body and not just fill up your stomach.
I shopped today at Whole Foods to check out their boxed food selection. I’d stopped even shopping that aisle of the store after the boys grew up and moved out because I’d always made the boxed mac & cheese for them. It’s not really standard adult fare, but today I got the assignment of shopping, purchasing, and making one.
Whole Food 365 Organic Macaroni & Cheese - surprisingly close to homemade but done in 10 minutes.
There aren’t a lot of options at Whole Foods for brands in the boxed food aisle – you won’t find Kraft, Hamburger Helper, Betty Crocker, or Banquet there. What you will find are several brands of natural and/or organic in flavors like hamburger noodles and stroganoff. I opted for a plain mac & cheese version. I ended up purchasing the 365 Whole Foods brand of Organic Macaroni and Cheese. Why? No additives, no preservatives, no artificial colors, and vegetarian. Perfect.
Since it was just the hubby and I for dinner I made one box of the mac & cheese and about 3/4 pd of green beans. Total cost – $2.69 mac & cheese and $1.99 green beans, 20 cents worth of organic almonds, about $4 in cut fruit, two veggie hotdogs from the fridge, and 20 cents in bread. Hubby had seconds and there’s enough for lunch tomorrow as well. We could have made it stretch further by adding a green salad but that’s one of the things I forgot to buy and we’re out at the house.
Boxed meals have a place at our table but I’d definitely look for organic. The nutritional benefits outweigh the slight cost difference for me. My motto is if in doubt, leave it out and there’s no room for artificial colors and flavors when real food is available.
Dinner was done in 20 minutes and it was delicious. Here’s the quick and easy fresh green bean recipe I made – it’s faster than frozen and better than canned for sure! I love eating dinner together even if it is just the two of us now. The hubby told me all about a show he’d watched on PBS about why the states are shaped like they are…granted, stuff I didn’t really need to know, but it’s little tidbits of time like this that keep us happily married. We’ll be celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary in just a few days.
Please note: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias – all opinions are my own.