How to Buy Ready-to-Eat Meals

by Kim Durant

When life gets busy with work, after-school activities, errands or community involvement -- or when you just don't feel like cooking -- ready-to-eat meals offer an easy way to feed your family or satisfy your own hunger and nutritional needs. Ready-to-eat meal offerings vary widely, from Japanese-style bento boxes to weight-loss service meals to lunch packs intended for kids.

Take your taste buds to a far-off land with a ready-to-eat international meal, such as a bento lunch with Japanese food, a Chinese beef-and-broccoli dinner, or a Mexican chipotle turkey burrito lunch. Buying a ready-made international meal allows you to explore world cuisine without the expense of a restaurant or the time-consuming process of learning a new cuisine style.

Enjoy a convenient ready-made meal that caters to your special dietary requirements. Specialty ready-made meals are available that cater to low-carb diets, gluten-free diets, vegan diets, and weight-loss diets, among others. Select a ready-made meal specifically labeled as meeting your dietary requirement, or examine packages carefully to see if prohibited ingredients are present or if the nutrition facts align with your intended diet. If considering a long-term meal subscription service or weight-loss program, sample the meals before you commit to make sure you like them.

Pick up a high-energy ready-to-eat meal to fuel your body for a busy day or a grueling fitness class. Look for a meal with carbs from whole grains or vegetables and plenty of protein. For example, you could pick up a tuna and pasta meal, a breakfast sandwich with egg whites, turkey sausage and cheddar cheese, or a deli tray meal with chicken meatloaf, a baked potato and green beans.

Pick ready-to-eat lunches for kids with foods from all the major food groups to ensure your child gets the nutrition and energy she needs. A ready-to-eat lunch or other meal meant for kids should provide calcium, carbohydrates, protein, and at least one serving of a fruit or vegetable. Select a meal with a low or moderate amount of sugar to avoid energy spikes and crashes.


  • Keep convenient, single-serving sized packs of favorite dips and salad dressings on hand to use with ready-made meals.
  • If shopping for ready-made meals for the whole family, allow each child to select their own meal so everyone's preferences are honored.

About the Author

First published at age 17, Kim Durant is an experienced writer with numerous published articles under her belt. A former tutor and community education teacher, she writes primarily about decorating, crafts and other creative pursuits.

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