Food at the speed of life: Instant isn’t always bad for you

Eating out of cans and boxes isn’t gourmet dining, but sometimes time demands precedence.

Processed food isn’t high on the nutritionist’s list of best things to eat, but my inexpert opinion is that with a little label-reading, it’s not a bad occasional option.

I keep cans of soup on hand for unexpected time deficits, since they’re fast, not too expensive and don’t require refrigeration.

Most soup companies have lines with reduced fat, sodium or calories. Some unhealthified soups have a reasonable amount of calories and fat, most likely those with bases of broth instead of cream.

Read the labels.

Microwave dinners cost a little more, so I try to get them on sale. I go for brands that specialize in healthier meals and, again, read labels.

If the soup or little frozen dinner isn’t enough for you, grab a piece of fruit or a container of yogurt as a side dish.

If there’s a little more time, some just-add-meat dinner mixes or just-add-water soup mixes don’t pack in too much fat and calories. Read the labels. (Are you getting that?)

I’ve found Jambalaya and dirty rice from Zatarain’s, Good Earth Tuscan chicken with penne pasta and Laurie’s Bistro potato soup mix are nice options.