DIY Convenience Foods

Convenience food is… convenient. But it is also expensive and is sometimes less healthy than its home made counterparts. I tend to rely on convenience foods during busy seasons in my life when I know the alternative might be the drive-thru lane at Chick-Fil-A. Nothing against Chick-Fil-A, but it adds up quickly.

Here are a few links to some of the foods I would likely buy prepackaged to save time. These DIY recipes are all easy, healthier, and if you spend a little bit of time prepping these in advance they are a convenient alternative to buying the prepacked stuff.

Instant Oatmeal Packets

All Natural Microwave Popcorn

Homemade Bisquick Mix

Homemade Brownie Mix

Homemade Granola Bars

Do you make any convenience foods? What are some of your favorites?

popcorn photo credit: Budget Dietitian


  1. I blogged about the same thing today! How to make your own instant oatmeal “packets”. Love it.

  2. Hm. I’m not sure I’m with you on the “instant oatmeal” thing. How much time does that really save? We use old fashioned oats, add water, and put in the microwave for a minute and a half. It seems like this would take more of my time to “prepackage” (not to mention the expense of the Ziploc baggies) than it would to just make as I go.

    If I’m wrong, please correct me–I’m always wanting ways to save time and money and prepare healthier options!

  3. Awesome post! We’ve been trying to switch over to all “real” foods over the past year, and those snacky items were definitely the hardest to work around!

  4. Oh, yes, we love making the instant oatmeal but just in a big container, without bags, and just scoop and add hot water. Kids love it. We also do hot chocolate mix. I’ll have to try the others!

  5. Great post – so true… I make granola bars and pop them in individual baggies… the best part, they taste WAY better than boughten bars!!

  6. Nicci,

    There will be a post on my blog tomorrow about how we make instant oatmeal. It saves a lot of time, but I do not package it up into little baggies. I generally make enough for a half gallon or gallon jar. Then I just top with boiling water and eat. Using boiling water saves me times. Because if I had to put each bowl into the microwave it would take forever (there are 5 of us). I set the kettle to boiling while I’m getting out the bowls and then put the oatmeal in and by then the water is always done. Super easy.

  7. I love making homemade granola bars. So far I’ve only used raisins and chocolate or butterscotch chips, but that photo with the nuts makes me want to branch out! I also make homemade salsa, although that’s not necessarily in the “convenience food” category. I just use a can of diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, cilantro, and red pepper. Delicious!

  8. By looking at her picture above, I think her instant oatmeal packets are more along the line of the little flavored packets that come in a box…not plain! I love this idea, as my picky youngest won’t eat plain oatmeal. Ever! And, those packets get expensive ~ even from Aldi!

  9. I can’t wait to try the granola bars! They looks so yummy!

  10. There’s something different about the texture of instant oatmeal and quick oats that my kids can discern. I know how to flavor it the same, but they just won’t eat it on days when I have time to make oatmeal the long way.

  11. My family is obsessed with granola! Can’t wait to try out a few variations. Thanks for the recipes!

  12. I like to bake and stock up in the freezer, Banana bread, granola bars, pound cake, muffins, etc.

  13. Stefanie says:

    I like to make a huge batch of chocolate chip pancakes and freeze them for my daughters breakfast. MUCH cheaper and better than frozen store bought ones. I separate them in groups of 2 with wax paper so they are easy to get apart and then when I’m ready to cook them, I wrap them in a paper towel and cook for 30 sec at a time until they are hot.

  14. Katie, I really like your idea of adding the boiling water. I try to not use the microwave as much as I can because I want to keep the nutritional value in my foods so the boiling water is a neat trick. I’ll have to try it one of these days!

  15. Justine says:

    Does anyone (Toni or commenter) have any suggestions on “to-go” convenience foods? My husband and I have to pack lunches every day (with unreliable microwave access) and one of my biggest struggles is what to take for snacks. I was excited about the title of this post, but unfortunately none of these help our situation(with the exception of granola bars, which I’ll have to give another go at, since the first recipe I used was less than appetizing)! I would LOVE to come up with some alternatives to expensive & unhealthy pre-packaged fruit bars, chips, pretzels, fruit snacks, etc. And yes, we already take fresh fruit each day 🙂 Thanks for your ideas!

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      Hmmm, go to convenience foods without a microwave. Here are my initial thoughts, although I’ll need to think on it a little more to get more ideas. I don’t eat snacks so it isn’t my strong area for ideas!
      Trail Mix
      Chex Mix
      Yogurt (topped with granola)
      Pita and homemade hummus

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