As passionately as I promote “real” “whole” “actual” foods (you know– oats, apples, butternut squash, walnuts, etc, etc) and as much as I like Michael Pollan’s advice to not eat anything your great-grandmother would not recognize as food, there are some packaged products that I do enjoy that really can fit into a healthy meal plan.
I want to share with you a few products I am loving lately. Maybe you’ll get some new ideas for things to add to your diet!
First up, Westsoy Unsweetened Vanilla Soy Milk:
This is one of the creamiest and best tasting soy milks I have tried, plus it’s got a clean ingredient list (filtered water, whole organic soybeans, natural vanilla flavor with other natural flavors). 9g of protein per cup makes it a super source of protein. You also get 4g of fiber. I use it in my oats (yes, raw, just soaked like muselix!), in my banana nice cream, and with a bowl of cereal. Which leads me to…
Millet Rice Cereal by Nature’s Path:
This comes by the box as well, but I usually buy it in the big economy bag. Because I don’t eat ready-to-eat processed cereals too often it lasts a long time! When I do crave the crunch and sweetness of cereal flakes, I pour a bowl of this and usually add raisins and soy milk. Only 4g of sugar per serving and the source of the sugar is organic grape and pear juice rather than the white stuff. Aside from added sugar, the other big thing to watch out for in a good cereal is the source of the grain– makes sure it’s whole. This one is oats, brown rice and millet … and provides 3g of fiber.
While I’m on the topic of breakfast, here’s a seasonal coffee favorite! Pumpkin spice:
Beware of the pumpkin spice coffees out there at the major chain coffee shops– they are usually nothing but sugary syrup. (tip- ask for half the amount they usually put in, you’ll still get the great pumpkin spice flavor but half the empty calories from sugar). Better yet, get these beans from Brewed Awakenings, one of my favorite coffee shops. No sugar added, just pumpkin spice flavor in the roasted beans.
Not a coffee lover? Still want some sort of boost in the morning, maybe something a little more alkalizing and less acidic? I love the Green Superfood Drinks by Amazing Grass:
The lemon-lime flavor mixes up with water and gives you a jolt of energy from yerba mate and matcha green tea. It’s made of a blend of all kinds of greens like wheat grass, barely grass, chlorella, and more. I’ve been buying this product for years. Recently I tried the Orange Creamsicle flavor– in my opinion it’s not quite as good, but the nice thing is that it has no caffeine so on days you want to keep calm and carry on it’s perfect. Note: it tastes better if you mix it with almond or soy milk vs plain water.
These are a little gem I discovered one day at Whole Foods. I’m somewhat of a bar junkie and I tend to get really excited when I see new bars (or even new flavors of old bars). I found these last year and was quickly hooked. They are made by a company called Pulsin’ in the UK and they have a whole line of flavors. I tried them all and this one wins by a landslide (with the Berry Burst as runner-up). Whether it’s the maca, the ashwagandha, the cacao, or perhaps simply a placebo effect, these bars really do give me a blissful feeling.
Clif Kid Z Bars:
Ok, not as clean an ingredient list as the Bliss Bar or many others but also really not that awful either. The first ingredient is rolled oats. Plus, these are smaller and lower in calories (130 per bar, compared to classic Clif which are closer to 240). And they are priced more affordably than many of the other bars that I buy individually. Sometimes you just want something sweet for dessert or a snack and these are ideal. Think of all the calories you are saving compared to having a slice of cake or a pint of ice cream. I have been enjoying them with a cup of tea and recently got the giant economy box from BJs with 3 flavors. I love each one and find these little treats surprisingly satisfying.
There you have it. I still prefer to make my own food but there’s something to be said for having a well-stocked pantry with easy to grab and eat foods like these.
On a final note, get out your dates and food processor and melt some chocolate chips to make Homemade Rolo Knock-offs from Oh She Glows. Fair warning, these are ridiculously addictive. I kid you not when I say I made them yesterday and as of an hour ago the last one disappeared from my freezer.