“How do I know what’s truly good for me? What foods will help me achieve my health goals? With all of these products, how do I know which ones are the best?”
Let’s be honest, folks. We’ve all been faced with these questions before and I’ll be the first to admit that they’re not the easiest ones to answer. With the abundance of “health” foods inundating the isles of grocery stores these days, deciphering wholesome choices from false advertising can be a burdensome task. My typical rule of thumb is to restrict my shopping to the outskirts of the grocery store—or as I like to call it, the land of the living foods. But let’s face it…we can’t survive off celery sticks and apple slices. That’s right, sometimes we just have to adventure into the danger zone—the isles. Don’t get too carried away now…I’m most definitely not advising you to freely browse the entirety of the isles, because sometimes even the best of willpowers can’t resist those cute little Teddy Grahams. Rather, I’m telling you to venture into the one or two isles that your local grocery store has devoted solely to natural and organic food products. Believe it or not, however, not all the foods in these isles receive an A+ in my book. Not to fear, though, I’m writing to tell you about those that DO!
Nature’s Path Flax Cereal
This is my breakfast cereal of choice for many reasons. First, its few ingredients are all UDSA certified organic. Second, it has an outstanding 5g of dietary fiber per ¾ c serving—talk about a sure way to get your morning digestive tract up and moving! Third, it is a non-GMO verified product, meaning it contains no genetically modified ingredients. Fourth, it contains 1.5 g of heart-healthy ALA Omega-3 fats. Lastly, unlike the wide majority of breakfast cereals that either turn your milk blue or give your kids that unnecessary morning sugar buzz, it has only 4 g of sugar per serving. This product typically sells for $3.50-4.
Ezekiel English Muffins
Pictured above is the cinnamon raisin, English muffin variety of the Ezekiel line. However, Ezekiel also carries normal loaf bread in many other flavors. Made from certified organic, sprouted whole grains, Ezekiel products are flourless, but not gluten free. They are naturally low in calories, fat free, and rich in vitamins and minerals. They are my personal favorite breakfast item—I love to top them with peanut butter and honey! They are typically found in the frozen section of the organic isle, and range from $4-6 per pack or loaf.
Whenever I search for foods, I look for those with the fewest and easiest to pronounce ingredients. “Larabars” typically have no more than four or five ingredients, all of which are whole foods in their natural, most unprocessed form. All of the bars contain a combination of almonds, walnuts, and dried fruits. Therefore, they provide a snack rich in healthy fats, natural sugars, and dietary fiber. One bar is equivalent to ¼ c of fruit, and they contain absolutely no artificial additives. “Larabars” typically range from $1.50-2/bar, or can be ordered by the box on their website, www.larabar.com.
Ancient Harvest Quinoa
Out of all the quinoa brands I’ve tried, I enjoy this one the most. When cooked correctly I’ve found it to have the overall best flavor, as well as the lightest and fluffiest texture. Quinoa is the grain highest in protein, and it is sure to curb appetite by giving you a gradual increase in blood sugar levels, rather than the sharp spike that results after eating pasta or rice. This product usually costs around $4-6.
Crystal Farms All Natural Egg Whites
Pictured below is a spinach, asparagus,mushroom, and Swiss omelet made with these egg whites…pure deliciousness! I choose to buy egg whites in a carton to avoid feeling wasteful when I separate the eggs myself and have no use for the lone egg yolk. I enjoy this particular product because it is 100% pure egg whites, no artificial preservatives. It can be found in the egg or dairy section of your grocery store,and typically sells for $4-6.
Wakefield Peanut Company: Virginia Peanuts
As a peanut lover, I have tried a vast variety of peanuts from many different brands. From encased in the shell to boiled or dry roasted, I have never found any other peanut that I enjoy more than the Wakefield, Virginia peanut. They pack a distinguishable crunch, peak flavor, and perfect saltiness that no other peanut brand seems to offer. I have yet to find them sitting on the shelf of my local grocery store, though, so I order them online. One 10oz can is priced at $5.50, plus shipping costs. www.wakefieldpeanutco.com