Skip to content
Skip to content

Pre-made Ingredients

Photo of several types of hot sauces in bottles
Photo of cut tofu on a plate
Photo credits (left to right): Photo credits (top to bottom): Flickr: moonrat42; Flickr: Andrea_Nguyen

Foods Included

Sauces, Salad dressings, Breadcrumbs, Noodles, Pasta, Tofu, Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, Nut butters, Baking mixes, Pizza dough, Taco shells, Chips, Crackers, Mayonnaise, Jams or Fruit spreads, etc.


Pre-made ingredients come in bottles, boxes, and bags. They are convenience foods and should be used sparingly. However, some packaged foods are better than others. Check ingredient lists and choose pre-made ingredients with the shortest ingredient list.

Buy It

  • Always look at ingredient lists on the back of packaged goods.
  • Ignore the front labels on foods since they can be misleading.
  • Choose the food with the shortest list of ingredients—try to find one with less than five ingredients.

Store It

  • Most pre-made ingredients are shelf-stable and can be stored in your pantry. Check the expiration date to see how long it's good for.
  • Some pre-made ingredients need to be refrigerated right away or after opening. See directions on label and check expiration date or "best by" date.

Why It's Great

  • Pre-made ingredients can save time, but be careful of high sodium, fat, or sugar amounts. These are used in place of better ingredients to extend shelf life or improve flavor.
  • Read labels and ingredients carefully. Choose the item with the lowest number of ingredients listed.

“Funded by USDA SNAP, an equal opportunity provider and employer. Visit for healthy tips.”