Issue Date: 
September 2021

Sodium: Many convenience foods have high salt content in them. Salt is often used as a preservative to keep foods from spoiling, which is why these foods often have a long shelf life. There are also a lot of brands of canned goods that offer low sodium or no salt added options, and those are the best place to start. If you buy canned vegetables or beans with salt in them, you can drain and rinse them to reduce the amount.

Serving sizes: Did you know that a package of food is not always equal to one serving? It’s true! There are a lot of canned, frozen, and other pre-packaged items that may be two or even three servings. It helps to read the nutrition label to see how many servings are in a container and if the nutrition lines up with your eating habits. Look at the below labels for examples.

A can of Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Noodle A Jack’s Sausage Pizza comes in at 3 Soup is just over 2 servings per can. servings per pizza.

Add your own healthy touches: Get creative with ways to make these foods healthier. Love frozen pizza? Add some peppers, onions, or mushrooms before you bake it for some extra flavor and nutrients. Is canned beef stew more your style? Have a slice of whole grain toast or a prepackaged salad on the side! If you have more ideas, let the SAPAS office know and it may be included in a future article.

It’s easy to get lost in the fact that convenience foods might not be as healthy as other foods. Remember, if you’re struggling to eat, it’s always better to eat something than nothing at all. If you’re on a sodium-restricted or other nutrient-restricted diet, it’s best to talk with your doctor or a dietitian before making any changes.

Nutrient label sources: and