9 Store-Bought Dinner Shortcuts These Nutritionists Love
Let’s face it: We are all experiencing at least some level of pandemic cooking fatigue right now. Whatever the circumstances may be, feeding ourselves and our families can be downright exhausting. I’m a registered dietitian who plans meals for a living and I’m feeling it, too! That’s where store-bought shortcuts from the grocery store come into play.
For some help in this department, I reached out to my colleagues to learn about some of their favorite dinner shortcuts from the grocery store. As nutritionists, our number-one goal is to make healthy eating both easy and convenient, so store-bought dinner shortcuts are an oft-recommended resource.
Here are a few suggestions if you’re looking to shave time and effort off of your nightly cooking routine.
1. Frozen Pizza Crust
2. Canned Beans
Canned beans are among Kim Rose‘s top-five essential pantry ingredients. “Not only are canned beans a great source of plant-based protein, but they’re also an easy addition to most any dinner. Plus there are many kinds of beans to choose from to mix things up.” She particularly loves to use them in chilis, bean burgers, and falafel patties.
3. Jarred Sauces
“I love to take shortcuts with pre-made sauces including tomato sauces, simmer sauces, and more. They add instant flavor to any meal for a fraction of the effort. Whenever possible, I recommend opting for brands with less added sugar and sodium,” says Molly Cleary.
4. Spiralized Vegetables
Many grocery stores carry “spiralized” zucchini, squash, carrots, beets, and other veggies. “These save both time and mess when you’re in a pinch. Quickly heat the veggie spirals and use them as a base for sauce or meatballs. You can even bulk them up with traditional noodles,” says Paige Mandel.
5. Pre-Minced Garlic and Ginger
“Chopping and measuring is often one of the most tedious (and time-consuming) parts of cooking,” says Molly Cleary. “Opt for pre-minced garlic or ginger pastes” to speed up the prep process.
Buy: Dorot Crushed Garlic, Frozen, $2.93 for 2.8 ounces
6. Boxed Mac and Cheese
7. Rotisserie Chicken
“A rotisserie chicken makes quick meals a breeze. Use some on top of salads; stuff inside quesadillas, enchiladas, or nachos; stir some along with your favorite sauce to make a quick chicken salad; or pair with your veggies and a starch for a balanced plate. When it’s all gone, simmer the leftover carcass with veggies, spices, and water to make a delicious chicken stock,” says Amanda Blechman.
8. Frozen Grains
“When cooked from scratch, some grains can take half an hour to cook (sometimes more). Most grocery stores sell pouches of pre-cooked options,” says Molly Cleary.
9. Frozen Vegetables
“Frozen veggies save me on days when I have limited items in my fridge,” says Amanda Blechman. “They are harvested and frozen at their peak ripeness, so the nutrition quality matches that of fresh. I let them defrost a bit before seasoning and popping into the oven, but you can also just roast them frozen.”
What are some of your favorite dinner shortcuts?