A ready meals (also known as “ready-to-eat” meals) are known as prepackaged, either fresh or frozen meals that only require minimum heating (which is often done in a microwave) before being served. The heating can most times be done in the packaging of the meal itself. Ready-meals removes the work of having to cook from home, by providing a product that is partly cooked, seasoned prior to packaging, with preparation instructions that are easy to follow on the products’ exterior package. There are various eyebrows raised when it comes to the issue of ready-meals. Some of the most asked questions and answers about ready-meals are explained below.
1. Q – Are ready-meals cheaper than cooking?
A - The general rule of thumb is that it’s always cheaper to cook your own food. However, this greatly depends on the type of food you are planning to cook, your cooking skills. Although, some ready-meals are cheaper to buy than buying all the ingredients separately. It means when you cook your own batch of food, it can last over a number of days, and this will help you save the money you would have used to buy extra packets of ready meals.
2. Q - Can plastic ready-meals go in the oven?
A – Yes, it is absolutely safe to use them in the oven. They are made from plastics that have been tested, and are known to endure high temperature as they are always listed on the box of the meal. Although it is advised that you should put the meal in ceramic container before you place in the oven, especially if it is not instructed on the label of the pack if the plastic can be used in the oven.
3. Q – Can ready-meals be eaten cold?
A – Not in all cases, but it is advised that you read the package as most of them are already cooked – but some which are not cooked will ask you to heat it up a little bit before eating. You can eat cold ready meals as long as it is within the best before date.
4. Q – Can I freeze ready-meals?
A – Absolutely, but when it comes to the ingredients of the meal, and the type of meal you are planning to freeze you have to know the following tips. Note certain foods shouldn’t be frozen like raw potatoes, it will oxidize and turn black. Also leafy greens will be unsuccessful when frozen in the freezer due to their high water content.
5. Q – Are ready-meals already cooked?
A – I will advise you read the package. Most of them are already cooked, but some are not cooked, and they say it specifically especially on the label of the pack that you must cook before you eat it.
6. Q – How are ready-meals made?
A – These are ready-to-eat processed food that requires very little preparation before eating. They are made possible due to the advancements in preservative technology. In fact, the food items starts to spoil from the moment they are cooked or further processed.
7. Q – Which ready-meals are healthy?
A – None. Many consume them because they do not want to go through the stress of cooking at home, or due to time they spend at work. Reasons why ready-meals are not healthy; they contain high level of calories and fat, nutrients that are beneficial to the body are lost during the cooking process, also carcinogenic materials are produced in meat that are smoked or grilled at high temperature.
8. Q – Can you eat ready-meals when pregnant?
A – Once in a while it is alright to consume ready-to-eat meals, but an expecting mother needs to be careful about her diet. Ready-meals are considered safe when storage, cooking and eating instructions are followed, yet ready-meals cannot and must not be consumed regularly.
9. Q – Are ready-meals fattening?
A – Yes, they make you fat due to the presence of unhealthy ingredients and high fat content. As a result of this, they are always smaller in quantity and contain large amount of calories as well.
10. Q – Can you take ready-meals on a plane?
A – Not in all cases. It depends on the instruction written on the label of the meal pack. In the case of ready-meals that can be consumed in the frozen form, you can take them on the plane. If the meal requires heating before consumption, it can’t be consumed on the plane. Note that this all narrows down to the policy of the airline.
Ready-meals are advertised to be good for consumption by the company producing it all because of the gain they want to make. They can’t be totally avoided in our day-to-day activities, but we have to be careful of what we’re choosing to consume. You have to know what is good for you, and choose food that will benefit your body, not food that are high in fat and calories.