One reason eating healthy can be a challenge is that there are very few perfect foods. Perfect foods should be cheap, inexpensive, and healthy. Some fruits and vegetables can check all 3 of these boxes, like apples and carrots, but the list is short. Most fruits and vegetables still require some sort of prep work, like washing, cutting them up, or even cooking. How about this healthy diet staple, chicken? It's cheap and healthy, but not very convenient. Unfortunately, chicken isn't grab and go, unless you'd also like a side of food poisoning.
There are some patterns we see when looking for these 3 characteristics. Cheap, convenient foods tend to be less healthy, like fast food, chips, and most protein bars. Cheap, healthy foods will often require some prep work like most produce or chicken. Lastly, healthy, convenient food is commonly expensive. Many times these expensive foods are just cheap, healthy foods that someone else prepared for us. Think about buying a healthy meal at Whole Foods, Wegmans, or your favorite healthy restaurant.
2 out of 3 is often the best we'll get, but looking at foods this way is a nice tool to make more informed decisions and increase our awareness about what goes in our bodies. The goal isn't perfection, but awareness. Unless money is no object, most of us should be striving to eat primarily cheap, healthy foods. This leaves convenience up to us and we can pay for it, sacrifice nutritional value, or plan around it. This is the key takeaway: planning. If there is a plan, we can stay out of the drive through and on track with our fitness goals.