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How to Improve Pre-Packaged Food

Learn how to make canned and other pre-packaged foods taste homemade!

By: Kaylin Johnson, Editor, Recipe Lion
Updated June 03, 2020
How to Improve Pre-Packaged Food

Pre-packaged foods are also known as convenience foods and for good reason. These foods are easy and quick to make. Whether they are canned vegetables, boxed noodles, or frozen pizzas, they are often go-to meals especially on busy weeknights. 

These foods, though, are often much more unhealthy than fresh alternatives. Often high in calories, fat, sodium, and sugars, they can play a large part in an unhealthy lifestyle. These foods often don’t taste as good as fresh foods, either. They tend to be bland, basic foods without much nutritional value. 

But still, the convenience of these items can’t be beat. So is there way to improve both the health benefits and the flavor of pre-packaged foods?

The answer is an overwhelming, yes. You can improve on these foods with nutrient rich additions and bold flavors. Here is a list of some of the best ways to improve on your favorite packaged foods. 

How to Make Packaged Foods Healthier

Grocery Aisle

It isn’t as difficult as you may think to make packaged foods healthier. It really all revolves around what you add and what you take away. One way to make foods healthier is to reduce unnecessary calories and keep sodium and fat levels down. You can do this by skipping salt and/or butter in a recipe. You can also reduce the sodium levels of canned foods by rinsing them before cooking. 

Foods to add are high in nutrients. You should look for foods with high protein, fiber, vitamin, and mineral contents. 

Here are some examples of foods to add:

  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Lean Meats
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Berries

How to Make Packaged Foods Tastier

Pre-Packaged Food

If the packaged foods you picked up are a little bland, there are many ways to improve the flavor. Focus on finding bold flavors to give your meal a needed boost. Flavors to look for are citrus, smoke, umami, and spice. Do some tests of your own to discover your favorite flavors.

Some options are to:

  • Add hot sauce 
  • Add fresh herbs or garlic
  • Make a sauce or dressing
  • Add good quality condiments
  • Integrate a citrus flavor
  • Add grilled vegetables

You may also be looking for some ways to improve specific dishes, while this has a lot to do with your own flavor preference, there are many typical improvements made to convenience foods.
  • Caramelize onions
  • Prepare rice with chicken stock instead of water
  • Add kale to packaged soups
  • Sprinkle extra cheese on a frozen pizza
  • Grate fresh Parmesan into boxed Mac & Cheese
  • Add an egg to your ramen 

Recipes to Improve Packaged Foods

Improvements on pre-packaged foods can be as simple as adding a new ingredient, or they can be more in depth. Many of these recipes use packaged and canned foods as the base of their dish. If you’re interested in more way to improve your favorite pre-packaged meals, check out these recipes.

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