Easy Going

By Shani Petroff

I like ice cream and candy.

I also like fruits and vegetables.

But I’m finding often what I really like is easy.

Minimal prep. Minimal cleanup. Minimal effort.

In the past, that’s usually been junk food. I can tear open a wrapper or open a carton and those foods with high SmartPoints® value are ready to eat. Usually the fruit and vegetables involve washing, preparing, even cooking—and when I’m in a rush, I don’t feel like doing the work.

So I’m stocking my apartment with some easy go-to foods.

  • Corn on the cob—normally, this involves shucking, boiling water, then cleaning a pot (yes, it’s not that much work—but when I’m feeling lazy, it’s still more involved that I’m hoping for). So I’ve bought some pre-shucked corn. And instead of dealing with a pot that will need washing, I wrap an ear of corn in a paper towel, toss it in the microwave for a few minutes, and then I have a zero Points® snack. Easy peasy.
  • Bananas. No washing. No cutting. It’s just as easy as unwrapping a candy bar. Sometimes I even freeze some pieces, so that I can have a cold treat.
  • Frozen grilled vegetables. In the freezer section of my grocery store, I found grilled asparagus and grilled cauliflower. There are no additional ingredients. They’ve just been pre-grilled. I throw them on a baking sheet (that has a piece of tinfoil on it to avoid having a big cleanup), and warm them up in the oven. They don’t take very long, but they have a lot of flavor—and I’m a huge fan of cooked vegetables.
  • Prewashed, precut fruits and vegetables. I’m preparing them ahead of time, so when I go to grab some, they are ready to eat. (I realize washing and cutting fruits and veggies doesn’t take that long, but if I’m tired, and my willpower is down—and it’s the difference between grabbing something chocolaty that involves no effort and something that has an extra step—I go with the chocolate item.) I don’t want to give myself any extra excuses. I already have more than enough of them! So I’m making sure my fruits and veggies are ready to go.
  • Fun random items. I look around for low SmartPoints value snacks. One I recently found is Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar salsa. It’s corn, black beans, jalapeños, chipotle adobo sauce, etc. The whole jar is 5 SmartPoints value. I eat it with a spoon. But here’s the thing, I can’t even get half way through it, so I only use about 1 or 2 SmartPoints. It tastes great, but it also puts my mouth on fire. I eat some, and then I’m satiated. It’s an easy snack to have in the fridge that won’t break my Budget.
  • Salad dressing and salad in the bag. Salad in the bag is ready to eat (although, sometimes out of extra precaution, I do wash it again). I also am a fan of dressing. Another one of my Trader Joe’s finds (and FYI, no one asked me to talk about any Trader Joe’s products—the store recently opened a few avenues from where I live, so these are just some new discoveries for me) is the store’s Green Goddess salad dressing. (It’s made with water, avocado, apple cider, vinegar, green onions, lemon juice, chives, parsley, an olive oil blend, yellow onion, basil, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper.) I was surprised by how much I liked it. So much so, that I walked back just to get more, and when it was already sold out, I checked back in the next day. It’s one of those things I can probably (and would like to) make myself, but when I’m in a hurry, it’s nice to having something ready to go. And 6 tablespoons are 2 SmartPoints value. (I also think it may make a nice pesto sauce.)
  • Yogurt. Another self-contained item. Grab a spoon and it’s ready to eat. When I feel myself getting “hangry” or just wanting a quick, simple snack, this is always a nice option!

What do you grab when you’re in a hurry? You can find me on Connect @shani!

Read more Shani Weighs In.