Independent living tips

Making cooking easier - convenient and healthy supermarket items

Article by Charity Spalding

Charity Spalding is an accredited practicing dietitian and owner of Accessible Nutrition, a provider of nutrition and dietetic services for people with disability, children and their families. We asked Charity for some nutrition advice and tips to help people with disability living independently or thinking of moving out of home.

When it comes to food, often the words ‘convenient’ and ‘healthy’ are thought of as mutually exclusive, yet in fact that's not really the case. In this article, I’ll show you convenient and healthy options that can make cooking at home easier and quicker and, in some cases, even save you money!

Vegetables Frozen vegetables are a great healthy food choice. In many cases, they actually provide better nutrition than the limp veggies that have been sitting in your fridge crisper for the past week. Because the produce is frozen soon after it is picked, the vitamins and minerals are locked in. Plus, often they’re cheaper than fresh produce once you take into consideration the wastage from peeling, trimming and items going off. All in all, frozen vegetables are a great option for everyone, especially those with limited mobility who struggle to cut up ingredients. You can even buy pre-chopped frozen onion! (Yay! No more onion tears!)

If you prefer the texture of fresh veggies you can often purchase pre-cut fresh veggies in supermarkets. Look in the cooler of the fresh produce section and you’ll be amazed at what you can find there. From pre-cut carrot sticks to trays of pre-cut veggies ready for roasting, plus all the salad options – there’s so much to choose from! Unlike the frozen veggies, these tend to be more expensive than your standard fresh veg so you’ll need to decide if the convenience is worth the extra money.

Fruit Many fresh fruits are already very convenient. Often there is no preparation required, you simply wash the fruit and then eat it, or peel and eat. Some examples include: apples, bananas, mandarins, pears, summer stone fruit, berries, grapes and cherries. Too easy!

Frozen berries are also great to have on-hand. You can use them in smoothies or as a topping for yoghurt. You can even use them instead of ice to keep drinks cool in summer.

Canned fruit is another healthy convenient choice. Just keep an eye out for and choose fruit in juice rather than syrup. These may be a good option for people who need softer foods but watch out for canned pear because it’s often still quite hard!

Herbs Herbs are a great way to add flavour to your favourite meals. The best and cheapest way to have fresh herbs ready when you need them is to grow them yourself and it can be easier than you might think! You can usually buy common herbs in pots from Aldi or sometimes at Coles or Woolies. Place one of these on a saucer on your kitchen window sill, keep it watered and you’ll have herbs whenever you need them for a few months. You can just pull/cut off what you need when you need it!

Another easy option is the ready chopped herbs in a tube. You’ll find these in the cooler section of the supermarket and they can be incredibly handy. You can even find ready mixed herb/spices so if you’re looking to make a Thai style dish, you only need to buy one tube.

There are many, many other healthy and convenient food options in your local supermarket but this blog post is already long enough! If you’d like to hear more, please leave a comment or head over and post to my Facebook page and I’ll see what I can do!


•‘Healthy’ and ‘Convenient’ can go together and your local supermarket will have heaps of options to help making cooking easier.

• Frozen veggies are a great option, they’re often more nutritious and sometimes cheaper than fresh.

• The variety of convenient fresh food options has grown A LOT in the last few years. Go check out what’s available at your local supermarket or grocer.

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