Even athletes who are careful about a healthy diet are not always able to eat fresh food. Advantages and disadvantages of convenience foods.
The first ready meal probably came from the United States. The “TV dinner” consisted of turkey meat with a sauce, peas, and mashed potatoes, it could be heated in the oven directly in the aluminum bowl and then served. When it was launched in late 1952, it quickly became a hit.
Today there are countless types of ready-to-eat foods: canned ravioli, frozen pizza, instant soups or ready-made salads that can be found practically everywhere. The essential advantages of such products are obvious: time is saved and no cooking skills are required. In our modern world, where we have less and less time available, the idea of a meal that is immediately ready to eat is therefore very convenient.
WHAT EXACTLY IS READY FOOD?
There is no definition of “ready-to-eat food” in the science of food and nutrition and even the legislation regulates only some of the foods used as ready-to-eat foods. The most important category is baby food. There are also foods for medical purposes (in the case of specific diseases) or foods for diets aimed at weight reduction. By law, these foods must be able to replace entire meals or even the entire diet for a certain period of time. If they replace the entire diet, they must contain all the necessary nutrients. If these foods were low in vitamins or minerals, as is often stated in internet forums, they could not be sold at all.
ARE READY FOODS HARMFUL?
There are also various pseudo-scientific sources on the Internet that consider ready-to-eat foods to be carcinogenic or generally harmful to health. Such a generalized thesis should not be taken seriously. The range of ready-to-eat foods is so varied and the ingredients and production methods used are so diverse that it is not possible to give a general assessment of them.
Many also believe that all industrially produced foods are of lower quality than fresh ones, but even this statement cannot be applied to every product. The quality of an industrially derived food depends not only on the quality of the ingredients (raw materials) used but also on the type of processing. Good quality raw materials processed with care certainly allow the production of high-quality industrial foods. On the other hand, it is not possible to produce high-quality food with improper or too refined processing of raw materials and the choice of low-quality raw materials.
High-quality ready-to-eat foods can occasionally be a valuable aid for those with a stressful daily schedule. However, they should be used as an alternative to the usual meals and not as too frequent substitutes. If you want to use ready-made foods, you need to pay attention to the following tips:
- The list of ingredients gives an indication of the quality of the product. The more “natural” the list of ingredients appears and the fewer additives there are, the more genuine the product will also be.
- Not all ready-to-eat foods are also “ready to eat”, ie they can be eaten without any preparation. Foods suitable to be consumed even outside the home must be able to be eaten even without preparation.
- Although ready-to-eat foods have a longer shelf life, they should not be left open for too long and should be eaten as soon as possible. They certainly do not improve over time.