Part of the medium food life is some convenience foods. Although my goal is to reduce as many of the "boxes" as possible, I do need to have some in the cabinet. My approach is to buy items with an acceptable ingredient list, good nutritional value, responsible packaging and reasonable price. I also research the companies. I feel better knowing more than just their name. As with most healthier options, they're typically more expensive so I make a point to buy when they're on sale.
Items like cereal bars, brown rice treats and crackers I buy at Trader Joe's. The ingredients are decent and the price is almost always less than anywhere else. If you're familiar with Trader Joe's they don't have sales as most grocery stores do but they do take coupons on the few products they sell that aren't private label such as Kashi or Earth's Path. I've also recently started to buy tortillas, another item I want to make from scratch eventually, at TJ's. Can't beat $1.69 for 10 tortillas.
I'm also known to have a few frozen meals on hand as well as a back up jar of pasta sauce. Although I enjoy my husband's homemade marinara so much more than what comes in a jar, some nights it comes down to lack of time, energy and planning. Just part of the medium food life, I suppose! Here are some convenience items you may spot in my freezer or cabinet:
Amy's Frozen Whole Meals
Whole grain cheese pizza or flatbread
Frozen Organic Brown Rice
Boxed Mac and Cheese
Quick cooking rice
Snack items like Annie's crackers, grahams and bunny fruit snacks
It's super nice to have these kind of items on hand but the more I put in my shopping cart, the higher my bill is. I plan to do cost comparisons on convenience versions vs. from scratch versions and post my findings. Should be fun and educational.