There are many reasons to learn how to cook healthy, whole foods meals at home- family time, delicious flavors, quality nourishment, and affordability. So nothing angers me more than when processed food companies co-opt the idea of homemade foods by inserting their crappy overly salted, overly sugared foods into ‘recipes’ and calling it a homemade meal that’s good for your family.
Case in point: Chef Boyardee’s Taco-roni. This is made with 2 cans of Beefaroni, beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese and tortilla chips for, “a taco-inspired dish.” Yes, the beans, corn, and tomatoes are all healthy ingredients, but when used in combination with Beefaroni they become a dish loaded with sodium, processed carbs, and poor-quality animal-based saturated fats. Sure, this dish has a good amount of protein, fiber, and some vitamins, but this comes primarily from the beans, corn and tomatoes. As you can see in the nutritional information, all the good stuff (protein, fiber, vitamins) is increased with the addition of the beans, corn and tomatoes, but the sodium and fat numbers are still quite high. Additionally, this product is made with highly processed and enriched flour, poor quality beef, and excessive amounts of sodium (ingredients are not available online- see note in second nutrition panel). But all you really need to know is that there is nothing wholesome about this meal.
So why not create your own burritos with those black beans, corn, tomatoes and cumin? Simply drain and rinse the beans, stew with tomatoes and spices for a few minutes, add corn (and other veggies!), stir in some cheese (if you eat dairy) and serve in a tortilla or with rice. This simple preparation will give you all the goodness of fiber-rich beans and vitamin-rich tomatoes- without all the sodium and processed foods. Small changes like this to your family’s eating habits will save money, decrease the amount of processed foods in the diet, decrease the amount of waste you toss out, and send a message to corporate food companies that we are not interested in their processed crap anymore! Cheers to whole foods cooking and less processed foods in our diet!