The Shopper's Guide to the Healthiest Prepared Meals

Find out how to get the best meals at the grocery store.

The Shopper's Guide to the Healthiest Prepared Meals

By Toni Gasparis

Are supermarket-ready meals your weeknight savior? If so, you're going to want to read this guide to become an expert on pre-prepared meals in your local grocery store. These simple tips and tactics will help ensure you get the healthiest food at the best price.


Stop at the Prepared Section Last

It's important that prepared meals—whether hot or cold—are the last items placed in your cart before you go to check out. This will ensure that hot foods are kept hot and cold foods remain cold in order to prevent any bacteria growth. Additionally, if you're not planning on eating your meal right away, store all pre-packaged foods in the fridge until they are ready to be consumed. Make sure to reheat hot food to 165°F to prevent foodborne illness.

More: 7 Warning Signs You Might Have an E. Coli Infection

Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

Keep Reading Show less