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Instant food is an umbrella term used for any food which is simple to prepare or absolutely ready-to-eat. Therefore, due to such convenience or ease in consumption, instant food is sometimes also referred as convenience food. Ideally, these foods are processed items that are available in an edible form in their packed containers. Some packed food may however, require a quick heating before serving them for eating.

Students and working professionals with limited free time and constrained budget are the major takers of instant food. This observation holds ground on the basis of the fact that most of the instant dishes require minimal additional ingredients, negligible cooking and minimal serving containers, except for a serving bowl/ plate. The regular or frequent usage of instant foods therefore is ideal to save both money and time. These foods, may also, on the other hand, serve the purpose of a highly nutritional meal, by converting it into a more balanced meal. This can be achieved by adding additional ingredients, particularly, cooked vegetables, chicken stalk or meat stalk, cooked chicken/ fish/ meat pieces, cheese and more.

Popular examples of instant food that are most savored by people are packaged junk food or other form of processed snacks, frozen food, dry mixes and canned food. Among these, the processed dishes, like hamburgers, instant noodles score highest in the list of most favorite instant recipes, however, they majorly count low on the nutritional content. Therefore, one may opt for frozen meals like pizza topped with veggies or meat, which have adequate nutrient percentage. In addition, cookies, crackers, ready-to-eat meals like soups and stew are also some popular picks.

History Of Instant Dishes

The concept of instant food witnessed its origin post World War II in the Unites States of America. Most of the ideas of instant dishes had origins in the military foods designed for easy preparation and long storage. The concept was soon noticed by the-then food companies who later started producing these foods at a commercial scale. These companies came up with new line of instant food, particularly, frozen food, dried food, canned food and more.

Popular Instant Recipes From Different Cuisines

American- crispy turkey cutlets, cheddar cheese puffs, sun gold penne pasta, grilled salmon, Beef Tenderloin Steaks, Tuna steaks, Broiled Trout, oatmeal

European- meatball casserole, crockpot hoagie Sandwhich, hash brown with beef bake, Tyson cubed chicken, chicken salad, Puff pastry, bagged salad, Mexican green salad, scrambled eggs with spinach

Italian- Pizza, pasta, Italian bread salad, Ravioli with corn, ravioli soup, red and white Tortellini, fettucine alfredo

Indian- Poha (rice flakes), Maggie instant noodles, Upama, idli, dosa, oatmeal

Most of the above mentioned instant food dishes are available in frozen, dried mixture or canned form in local supermarkets. These instant foods may require minimal heating or other cooking method to make them ready for eating.

Trivia-Instant Food

Food experts and critics have time and again criticized the increase in the popularity of instant food. Several critics have associated environmental harm with the use of plastics that go into packing the instant recipes.

Some have chided the consumption of instant food for its high percentage of saturated fats, sugar and sodium.