Healthy Ready-Made Meal Swaps That Taste as Good as the OG
By Melissa Fine, GoodnessMe Nutritionist & Product Advisor
We’re here to show you how easy it can be to find better-for-you alternatives to your go-to foods, ready-made meals included.
From breakfast to lunch and dinner options, we’ve found a GoodnessMe-approved ready-made meal for every time of day. Because sometimes, there just isn’t time to cook.
Save these swaps for the next time you want something healthier than takeaway.
Swap Continental’s Mexican Rice for Tilda’s Firecracker Basmati Rice
When you want a yummy rice dish, and you want it NOW, make this simple swap. Unlike that quick rice on your left, Tilda’s gets our big tick of approval because it's full of flavour and:
- Free from unnecessary ingredients that offer zero nutritional value, like sugar and maltodextrin.
- Made with Basmati rice, which provides blood sugar support due to having a lower glycaemic index than other white rice varieties.
For an easy, balanced dinner, divide your microwaved Tilda rice between two bowls. Toss with spinach and top with a fried egg. Dinner done.
Swap Rice Pudding for Macro Mike’s Plant Protein Pudding
One for the vanilla lovers, Macro Mike’s velvety Vanilla Protein Pudding could even be a wholefood brekkie thanks to being:
- High in protein
- Refined sugar free (sweetened with coconut nectar and monk fruit)
- Low in sugar (with less than one teaspoon of sugar per serve, compared to close to five teaspoons' worth of sugar in that rice pudding pictured)
- A good source of gut-loving fibre from almond and fava bean protein (Fact: listing the fibre content on the nutritional info panel isn't mandatory, so if the fibre content isn’t listed, that often means the product has very little of it)
For a super satisfying, low-sugar dessert, top your Macro Mike Pudding with a handful of berries and a square or two of 70% dark chocolate.
Swap Woolies Dahl for Hart & Soul’s Coconut Bengali Dahl
Looking for a grab-and-go dahl that's tasty and GoodnessMe-approved? Here you go. Unlike that one on your left, Hart & Soul's Split Chickpea Dahl Curry is free from refined sugar and weird numbered ingredients. Made entirely with real, familiar and nourishing ingredients, this is a heat-and-eat meal that ticks all the boxes.
Serve your Hart & Soul Dahl with a side of steamed greens, and cauliflower or Basmati rice.
Swap Supermarket Miso Soup for Ceres Organics Miso in a Mug
We say a big NO to ready-made soups with:
- MSG (often listed as ‘Flavour Enhancer’)
- Added sugar; just not necessary in a soup
You won’t find either of the above in Ceres Organics’ nourishing miso, loaded with wholefood ingredients like an iodine-rich seaweed medley, and pre and probiotic-packed miso to promote a healthy balance of good gut flora. This product comparison is an exception to the general rule that the product with the shorter ingredients list is the one that's less processed.
Top with tofu and a side of brown rice to turn this Ceres miso into a quick, balanced meal.
Swap Coles’ Chicken Pho for Hart and Soul’s Chicken Pho
Three things we pay extra attention to when comparing ingredients lists:
- The first few ingredients. Ingredients are always listed in descending order (so the first few ingredients make up the majority of the product).
- The length of the ingredients list; the product with fewer ingredients will usually be the least processed option.
- Foreign-sounding ingredients and lots of numbers; red flags for synthetic additives.
Next time we want a quick, warming soup without the meal prep, you know which pho we’ll be choosing.
Swap a Nature’s Way SlimRight Shake for a Nuut Daily Balance Shake
Proof that not all shake powders are created equal. That one on your left has way too many ingredients we say NO to. To name a few:
- Maltodextrin: although it's made from plants, this white powder is a highly processed additive that serves as a bulking agent, and one we'd rather not see on the ingredients list, especially when it's listed FIRST (ingredients are always listed in descending order of quantity).
- Fructose: our least favourite sugar because 1) It's addictive (fructose lights up the brain’s reward centre), and 2) There's a link between a high fructose intake and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Soy protein: especially if it's not listed as 'GMO-free' (genetically modified organism free).
- Sucralose: an artificial sweetener that won't do you beneficial gut bugs any favours.
- The first (main) ingredient listed is a quality protein blend (made from organic peas and pumpkin seed), instead of a highly refined bulking agent.
- It's boosted with all kinds of health-promoting superfoods, like alkalising greens and vitamin C-rich kakadu plum.
- Unlike that shake on your left, it'll help rather than hinder your good gut flora, thanks to being loaded with gut-loving probiotics, and free from concentrated fructose and artificial sweeteners.
Find other delicious meals and more on the GoodnessMe Shop!