Let’s be real. Sometimes we just need the convenient route. My definition of clean eating might be in stark contrast to another’s…and that’s okay, but for me, I can still eat clean with the right packaged foods. I actually credit convenient packaged options with keeping me on track for so many years. If I always put pressure on myself to make every, single meal with whole foods, I’m sure I would’ve thrown in the towel long ago.
There are so many fabulous companies who are on our side…who want to provide us with quality, fresh, wholesome, packaged products that simplify our busy lives and allow us to thrive on our healthy living journeys.
In general, I always look for recognizable and readable ingredients when purchasing packaged foods. The other day, while scouring through our pantry cabinet, I started thinking about how I tend to buy the same products over and over. Why? Because I trust the companies. I can read the ingredients. The foods taste incredible. They give me quick and easy options when I’m in a pinch.
Without further ado…my favorite packaged foods.
HILARY’S ADZUKI & VEGGIE BURGERS
Let’s talk about a time-saver, shall we? I cannot tell you how many late evenings Hilary’s has come to my dinner rescue. I regularly include them in my weekly dinner plans now because there’s always that one night where I know I need packaged back-up. I’ve been reserving Hilary’s burgers for meatless Monday’s…we usually have them on top of a salad, or on a whole wheat bun with some fun toppings. My husband also loves these, so it’s the perfect, quick meal to satisfy all parties. Earlier in the week, they were on sale 2/$5 at Whole Foods, so I grabbed a bunch. 2 burgers come in each pack and I typically eat both, as does my husband. So for $2.50 a person, you’ve got the base for a tasty, clean, vegetarian dinner! I also heat these up quite often for lunch when I’m home. Highly, highly recommend.
SIMPLE MILLS LINE UP
I have yet to meet a Simple Mills product I don’t love…from their crispy cracker line up, to their delicious, low-sugar muffin mixes, to the fabulous almond flour pizza dough…I’m a fan across the board. With every Simple Mills product, you are guaranteed real, minimal ingredients. My favorite crackers are the Rosemary & Sea Salt, but I also love classic sea salt dipped in a good hummus. If you are not on the Simple Mills bandwagon yet, jump on.
Not technically food per se, but I drizzle this shiz over everything. Truly, not a day goes by that I am not knee-deep in a nut butter container (slight exaggeration). But again, something packaged that provides flavor and richness to a multitude of foods- I always put a bit of peanut butter or almond butter into my smoothies and there’s nothing more comforting than sprouted grain bread smothered in almond butter and topped with fresh berries. Another fun option? Almond butter layered on mashed sweet potatoes (makes an excellent breakfast if you’re doing the Whole 30!) I usually just get the 365 brand from Whole Foods, but if my other fave brands are on a decent sale, I’ll grab those too! I love Justin’s, Barney’s, and Manna Organics for alternate options.
ROOTZ PALEO PROTEIN & ALMOND MILK
Again, arguably not “food,” but a few more packaged go-to’s that are part of my regularly scheduled eating regimen. First, Rootz Paleo Protein Supefood. I’m just a gal who likes a protein blend…artificial crap? No, thanks… but real, ingredients designed to provide you with proper fuel post-workout? Yes, please. I don’t think anyone needs a protein shake in their diet by any means, but for me, again, I come back to convenience, great taste, and what makes my body feel good and energized. I’m a Rootz lover for sure and as a personal trainer, I know that adequate protein is needed for building and maintaining muscle.
In a perfect world, perhaps I’d return from my workout and make myself a gorgeous omelette with a plethora of toppings to refuel my muscles, but I don’t live in that world. I run from studio to studio, from one client to another and sometimes, I just need a quick smoothie. You can use code: activebyannie for a discount off your Rootz order. (Let me know if you try- would love to hear what you think!)
And, in order to have the perfect Rootz smoothie, I always have almond milk on hand. Some day, (some day far, far away), I’ll try making my own almond milk, but for now, I’m good with Whole Foods 365 brand. Delicious, reasonably priced, and clean ingredients. My other favorite brand is Califia Farms, but I will only grab that when it’s on sale (I’m frugal, you see…)
WAY BETTER CHIPS
I kid you not, we go through a Way Better bag in a day, 2 days if we’re lucky. Both Matt and I are obsessed with these crunchy, flavorful, yet clean chips. The Sriracha flavor is unreal, but we also love pairing the sweet potato chips with a good dip. Fortunately for me, these babies were on sale this week, so naturally, I stocked up. If they’re not on sale, I will usually forego purchasing, but I assure you, they are worth every penny.
Another staple in our house, Ezekiel Sesame Sprouted Bread by Food for Life Baking is awesome. More staying power than your average bread, and sprouted means you’re getting a low glycemic option that is easier to digest.
I actually don’t know how to put into words how incredible Purely Elizabeth’s granola is. Crunchy and sweet, with that perfect sprinkle of salt. Makes for an incredible smoothie bowl or yogurt topping, and it’s also brilliant on it’s own as a quick, convenient snack. Purely Elizabeth also has probiotic granola now, which I have yet to see in my Whole Foods, but they do sell it on Amazon for a fab price.
A high-quality yogurt is definitely a packaged must have for us. We love Siggi’s yogurt with a little granola sprinkled on top for our desserts. Siggi’s is definitely my top choice, but recently I’ve been experimenting with non-dairy options and I’m really enjoying the Kite Hill flavors, as well as Good Karma ones.
ANCIENT HARVEST LENTIL PASTA
Honestly, who doesn’t love a good pasta dish? I love incorporating a pasta meal into our menu each week, whether it’s for lunches or a dinner. The reason I enjoy lentil pasta so much is because it is mega filling (25 g of protein/serving), so it’s another fantastic option for a meatless meal. I use this pasta to make my favorite pasta salad (recipe –>here) for lunches throughout the week and we’ll use this for our traditional pasta with marinara dishes as well. I really like the taste, and my husband doesn’t even notice it’s not regular wheat pasta. Win. Win.
RX BARS, HEALTH WARRIOR BARS, BARS IN GENERAL…
I definitely love my bars…the ultimate on-the-go snack. I adore RX Bars and Health Warrior bars, but I’m also a huge fan of Bobo Bars (think delightful, chewy, oatmeal bar). I typically buy my bars on Amazon, but if they’re on a good sale, I’ll grab them at Whole Foods as well. Target sells some Health Warrior bars too!
OTHER PACKAGED FAVORITES
- Rice cakes (I buy these every once in awhile for snack variety)
- Organic brown rice (microwavable) from Trader Joe’s
- Dried fruit
- Better Bean Co bean options (they come ready-to-eat in container, perfect with tortilla chips)
- Soups/broths (I like the Pacific brand found at Whole Foods, but really any organic soup with wholesome ingredients)
- Nature’s Path organic waffles (get your paws on the pumpkin ones, stat!)
I could probably go on, listing a few more options, but what I’ve shared above are truly my favorites…ones that you’re bound to see if you do a sneak attack of my pantry. I’m rarely without those items, and I’m grateful to the companies who work so hard to provide such healthful, tasty foods.
I hope you find this helpful…this definitely piggy backs off my grocery list post which you can find –> here, but I thought it would still be fun to share!
Have a wonderful day!
Question of the day: What is your favorite packaged food item?