Off The Shelf Shortcuts

Life is busy but that can’t be an excuse to let health goals go out the window. I thought you might like to see a few of the shortcuts I have been putting into action this summer.

Lyfe Kitchen frozen entrees

I had the opportunity to try these a few months ago in the All Recipes test kitchen (total name drop). After years of dining on the usual suspects of “light” frozen meals these were a revelation. Each meal steams in a brown paper pouch rather than a plastic tray. The company motto of “Eat Good. Feel Good. Do Good.” shines through in the ingredients and presentation. Lyfe Kitchen entrees are made with whole grains, antibiotic-free meat, and more than one vegetable per entree. You can actually taste all the ingredients because they let them speak for themselves rather than smothering everything under an over-salted or over-sweetened sauce.

Mr. Second Helpings enjoys the Whole Grain Penne Pasta (with manly portioned turkey meatballs) and I start to drool thinking about the Chicken Chili Verde (both 8 WW Points Plus). These entrees are nutritionally dense with a ton of body fueling protein. They are so far above and beyond the meals on plastic trays you may never go back. Oh and did I mention they also do breakfast? The company is expanding quickly and so are their offerings. Check out Lyfe Kitchen’s site to find a retailer in your area.

Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices

You may know these as “herbs in squeezy tubes”. I have been enjoying the convenience of grabbing several of these and jazzing up our meals. On a tip from a company rep, I have these tucked in the freezer. They are still squeezable but will keep much longer than in the refrigerator. I have to admit, as simple as it is to smash up a couple cloves of garlic or chop some herbs, I appreciate just squeezing an inch or two of concentrated flavor into my pan. My favorite has been the chili paste. I have been using it to spice up everything from marinades to leftover fried rice. Look for Gourmet Gardens herbs and spices in the refrigerated area of your grocery store’s produce section.

From Gourmet Gardens:

“The Gourmet Garden range features 16 herbs and spices in tubes. The range includes BasilMild ChilliHot ChilliChivesOregano,RosemaryGarlic , Chunky GarlicLemon GrassDillItalian HerbsMintParsleyCorianderGinger and Thyme.”

Bursting with fresh picked flavour are Gourmet Garden’s range of handy herbs and spices in tubes.

Made with fresh Australian Grown herbs
Good value
Keep their fresh taste in the fridge for 3 months
Contain no artificial flavours or colours
Deliver fresh flavour without the chopping, mess or waste
Are a source of antioxidants

They really are fresh herbs made easy for weekday cooking!

Chobani Bites and Flips

Each low-fat 3.5 oz bite has 100 calories and 8 grams of protein! They have the rich Greek yogurt texture I have come to love from Chobani. The flavors are indulgent and perfect for satisfying a sweet treat craving. Could you get excited about Caramel with Pineapple Chunks, Honey Ginger, or Mint with Dark Chocolate Chips? I know I can! I like the Coffee with Dark Chocolate Chips, Fig with Orange Zest while The Little Helpings is quick to grab a Raspberry with Dark Chocolate Chips and a spoon.


If your snack needs require more than just a Bite try the Chobani Flip! These two compartment containers have 5.3 oz of thick and creamy Chobani yogurt and a serving of something sweet and crunchy to dress it up even more. Having both the yogurt and mix-ins pre-portioned make this a quick healthy treat. The range of flavors give me choices for a quick breakfast (Honey Bee Nana), satisfying snack (Tropical Escape), or indulgent dessert (Almond Coco Loco).

I am always on the lookout for companies large and small who put the health and longevity of their customers into their plans for product development. The common thread between all of these off-the-shelf products is a real commitment to us, the consumers. I have been lucky to speak with people who work for each of these companies and they are truly excited about the products they represent. The decision makers are passionate about providing food to customers that will fit into a busy but health focused lifestyle.

Sure I enjoy making some of the food we eat, but Mr. Second Helpings and I would not be looking back on 5 years of weight loss if it wasn’t for all the healthier convenience foods we have woven into our busy life. My journey to find healthy balance hasn’t been about crossing everything out and beginning from scratch. My path is paved with small steps and simple tools to keep me excited about making healthy choices. The number one thing that keeps me looking ahead is making sure my diet is comprised of foods as fun to eat as they are good for my body. If healthy food leaves you feel bored and unsatisfied I hope you’ll give some of these shortcuts a try.

What are your favorite healthy shortcuts to maintain balance and keep your health goals in sight?

Note: I have been given samples of all the products mentioned in this piece and have gone on to purchase them myself on multiple occasions. I am under no obligation to promote any of the products featured here. I simply like them and thought, from one health minded friend to another, you might like to try them too!


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