Can pre-prepared produce actually save you money?

In my home, we haven’t spoken about spiralized vegetables since the zucchini noodle blowout of 2021. My partner wanted to invest in a spiralizer—I (the lazier of the two) wanted to buy store-bought spirals. We just ate regular pasta that night. But to this day, I still think I was right—some pre-prepared vegetables are worth the premium. 

What it is: Time is money, honey, and it seems everyone’s short on both these days. Enter pre-prepped fruits and vegetables. Whether canned, pickled, frozen or fresh, they can be a part of a healthy meal without having to wash, cut or peel them. 

What you’ll spend: Walmart sells a bag of frozen spiralized zucchini for $5.98 (or $1.76 per 100 grams), or you can buy fresh zucchini for 43 cents per 100 grams

  • It seems like you’re paying a lot more for the prepped stuff, but consider it’s washed, cleaned, cut and kept frozen—that all factors into the price.

What you’ll save: Besides time, you’ll save space in your kitchen not having another occasionally used gadget lying around—a good, mid-range spiralizer will run you around $50. 

  • Unless you’re really hyped on zoodles, coodles (carrot noodles) and boodles (butternut squash), you probably don’t need your own spiralizer.

So, is it worth it? If you’re short on time and trying to eat healthily, grab pre-prepped veggies—especially if the alternative is fast food or Uber Eats. 

  • However, some produce spoils quickly when pre-cut, like peppers and onions. Skip those.

  • You should also only opt for pre-prepped options that are time-consuming. I, for example, hate cutting pineapples (and honestly feel like I waste so much of it.) But you can skip over pre-sliced apples and celery stalks since you can just wash and eat those.