America's Healthiest Buys
America’s Healthiest Buys 2010
Welcome to Health’s ultimate healthy-living shopping guide. We’ve cut through the clutter to deliver the absolute best in beauty, food, and home products—from the most effective moisturizer and the tastiest snacks to the hardest-working eco-cleaners. With a team of top experts, we put nearly 1,100 products to the test. The result: 48 buys we know you’ll love.
Best Beauty Buys
It is almost impossible to find a beauty product that works and is a great value. With a little help from top dermatologists, we found 16 fabulous multitaskers that deliver on their promises, giving you the most bang for your buck.
Exfoliator: Neutrogena 5 Minute Facial from Ageless Restoratives
The secret to this speedy skin treatment: “It contains both microexfoliants and cellular enzymes that chemically dissolve dead cells,” judge Lisa M. Donofrio, MD, explains. ($24.99; Drugstore.com)
Body Wash: Aveeno Positively Nourishing Hydrating Body Wash
The fig and other fruit oils in this shower gel do more than add a subtle juicy scent; they “help lock in moisture so skin stays soft even after the shower,” judge Lisa M. Donofrio, MD, says. Plus, glycerin and shea butter make the formula more hydrating than most. ($6.99; mass merchandisers)
Mascara: Korres Natural Products Abyssinia Oil Volumizing Mascara
This no-flake formula lengthens and darkens lashes and features lash-bolstering ingredients. “Abyssinia oil strengthens; provitamin B5 increases moisture, preventing breakage,” judge Lisa M. Donofrio, MD, says. ($20; Sephora)
Foundation: Physicians Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Powder Foundation
No other foundation offers this much sun protection while still looking natural. “It can even double as your daily sun protection,” judge Grace H. Pak, MD, says. ($14.95; drugstores)
Body Moisturizer: St. Ives Intensive Healing Body Cream
With natural moisturizers such as olive-leaf extract and cranberry-seed oil, this formula is “free of parabens, phthalates, and fragrance, so it’s a great choice if you’re prone to allergies or have a skin condition like eczema,” judge Grace H. Pak, MD, notes. ($5.99; drugstores)
Hand/Nail/Foot Product: Burt’s Bees Naturally Ageless Skin Smoothing Hand Cream
With softening lactic acid, plus a high concentration of shea butter (one of the lightest emollients you can put in a beauty product), hands never feel sticky or greasy. ($12.99; Burt's Bees)
Eye Cream: Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
This refreshing cream de-puffs and revitalizes skin thanks to ginseng, an antioxidant-rich herb. Bonus: Tiny particles of mica reflect light, adding brightness and disguising under-eye shadows. ($29.50; Origins)
Styling Product: Sebastian Professional Volupt Spray
Our judges’ top choice for women who use a blow-dryer, curling iron, or straightener on a regular basis? This protective styler that leaves hair soft—not crunchy—with added volume that lasts throughout the day. ($19.95; Sebastian Professional)
Conditioner: Ojon Revitalizing 2-Minute Hair Mask
Frizzy strands are a thing of the past with this intense weekly treatment. It packs jojoba, sesame, and avocado oils, which “contain similar lipids to those that occur naturally in hair so they absorb in less time,” judge Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, says. ($34; Ulta)
Concealer: Dior Diorskin Nude Concealer
Just a dab covers under-eye circles, pimples, and other unsightly flaws and dries to a natural skin-like, satiny finish. Plus, it has the potent combo of vitamins C and E, “which work to protect skin from sun damage and environmental pollutants,” according to judge Lisa M. Donofrio, MD. ($28; Dior Beauty counters)
Sunscreen: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid
This super-sheer, quick-absorbing sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection plus antioxidants to ward off potential damage from free radicals. And the lightweight texture is perfect for daily use—even under makeup. ($27.90; CVS)
Face Cleanser: Olay Professional Pro-X Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser
Uniformly shaped microbeads in this creamy wash roll over the skin’s surface, gently removing the dull stuff. “There are no extra ingredients that can cause sensitivity, just cleansing agents and hydrating glycerin,” judge Grace H. Pak, MD, says. ($18.99; drugstores)
Lip Product: Fresh Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15
A universally flattering sheer cherry-red shade, this balm shields lips and soothes with moisturizing meadowfoam-seed oil, while the “sugar and fruit acids help exfoliate dryness,” judge Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, says. ($22.50; Fresh)
Shampoo: Matrix Biolage Delicate Care Shampoo
Shine-enhancing açaí and ultramoisturizing argan oil leave strands smooth and shiny after just one use. And it foams up as well as formulas that contain higher levels of surfactants, which can be drying, according to judge Grace H. Pak, MD. ($18; Biolage)
Self-Tanner: Nature’s Gate Sunless Tanner
Antiager/Moisturizer: Elizabeth Arden Prevage Face Advanced Anti-Aging Serum
This do-it-all wrinkle annihilator is packed with the powerhouse antioxidant idebenone, which “attaches to free radicals before they cause cell damage and also helps the skin repair itself, reducing existing signs of aging,” judge Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, says. ($155; Elizabeth Arden)
Best Beauty Buys: The Judges
Grace H. Pak, MD
, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in New York City, is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University New York Presbyterian Medical Center.
Lisa M. Donofrio, MD, is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine with private practices in New York City, New Orleans, and New Haven, Conn.
Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, is a New York City-based dermatologist and the medical director of Ingleton Dermatology.
Best Food Buys
What’s healthiest—and tastiest—when it comes to packaged foods? We tested more than 500 of the newest crop to find the standouts. These top picks are not only healthy and delicious but well-priced, too. Here, our 25 award-winners for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Enjoy!
Crackers: Kashi Heart to Heart Roasted Garlic
Most low-fat crackers are wimpy in the flavor department and don’t have much fiber. Kashi hits the mark with these bold crackers, which are sturdy enough to spread goat cheese on. Snack on 7 for a slim 120 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. ($3.19; grocery stores)
Yogurt: Stonyfield Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt, 0% Fat, Strawberry fruit on the bottom
We’ve been touting the benefits of Greek yogurt for a while, and Oikos provides all the stuff we love about it—extra-high protein and a rich texture—plus, it’s made with organic milk. ($1.99; natural-foods stores)
Cookie: Country Choice Organics Sandwich Cremes Ginger Lemon
You won't find any junk in these cookies. Made with mostly certified-organic ingredients, they’re sweetened with sugar (no high fructose corn syrup) and molasses. Two gingery cookies are just 130 calories and 5 grams of fat—and kids will love ’em, too! ($3.99; natural-foods stores)
Snack Bar: Fiber One 90 Calorie Chewy Bars Chocolate Peanut Butter
We're seriously not sure where the heck they put the fiber in these bars, because all we could taste was the fabulous peanut buttery- ness. But they’re packed with 5 grams of fiber in just 90 tasty calories. ($3.59 for a box of 5; grocery stores)
Frozen Vegetarian Entrée: Healthy Choice Café Steamers Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean
This light dish is loaded with vegetables and whole grains. The special tray heats the sauce and steams the vegetables and grains. Dig in for 220 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 7 grams of fiber. ($3.29; grocery stores)
Chips: Kettle Brand Baked Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
From the hit of vinegar when you open the bag to the sea-salty crunch, everything about these chips screams “naughty.” But they’re just 120 calories with 3 grams of fat (170 milligrams sodium) per serving, which is a robust 20 chips. Stick to the portion so you don’t go overboard. ($3.75; grocery stores)
Cereal: Yogi Cherry Almond Crunch cereal
Tasty and heart-healthy oats, barley, spelt, amaranth, and quinoa top the refreshingly short ingredient list and provide 5 grams of fiber (and 65% of your whole-grain quota) for 230 calories and 6 grams of fat. ($4.49; natural-foods stores)
Ice Cream: Blue Bunny All Natural Frozen Yogurt Caramel Praline Crunch
Frozen yogurts often fall flat in taste and texture. But this 120-calorie fro-yo not only delivers a creamy, caramel- y flavor but has the same healthy-tummy benefits as regular yogurt. Sweet! ($0.99; grocery stores)
Hot Cereal: Better Oats Raw Pure & Simple Chai Spiced
Judge Kate Geagan, RD, rated this oatmeal off the charts: “I loved how it filled me up all morning, and I liked the eco-friendly packaging.” Most of the ingredients—including rolled oats and flaxseed—are organic and provide 4 grams each of fiber and protein. ($1.99; grocery stores)
Cheese: Weight Watchers Original Swiss-Flavored Gourmet Cheese Wedges
Spreadably creamy, these individually packaged wedges go great on crackers or apple slices for an afternoon snack and provide almost 8% of your daily calcium for just 30 calories a pop. ($3.99; grocery stores)
Soup: Kettle Cuisine 3 Bean Chili
This gluten-free, on-the-go soup is ready in minutes. It’s zesty (not overly spicy) and full of homemade appeal, judge Jackie Newgent, RD, says. Plus, you get a hefty 13 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein for 220 calories, 3.5 grams fat, and 450 milligrams sodium (less than most chilies). ($3.49; Kettle Cuisine)
Bread: La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas—Chipotle
These 90-calorie tortillas have a truly authentic flavor and just the right amount of heat. Wrap them around grilled chicken and veggies for a supereasy—and protein-rich (each tortilla has 5 grams)—lunch. ($2.49 for 8; grocery stores)
100-Calorie Pack: Special K Blueberry Fruit Crisps
What a nonguilty pleasure: These crispy bars taste just like Pop Tarts—really!—but only cost you 100 calories and 2 grams of fat. ($3.09 for a box of 10; grocery stores)
Nuts: Planters NUTrition Antioxidant Mix
The added nutritional benefits in this mix make it a hit with us: Each tasty 1/4-cup, 160-calorie serving is a good source of antioxidant-rich vitamins C and E, plus the minerals copper, magnesium, and manganese. And, it’s sodium-free! ($6; grocery stores)
Grab-and-Go: Amy’s Teriyaki Wrap
This full-flavored wrap is loaded with brown rice, tofu, and a rainbow of organic veggies, from broccoli to bell peppers. It’s vegan, provides 10% of your daily vitamin C needs, and has just 310 calories. ($2.79; grocery and natural-foods stores)
Granola: Bear Naked Peak Flax Oats and Honey with Blueberries
In a world of overly sweet granola, here’s one that won’t put you in a sugar coma. It’s got plump dried blueberries, crunchy oat pieces, and ground flaxseed for a boost of omega-3 fatty acids. One serving has 130 calories, 4 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, and 4 grams protein. ($4.49; grocery stores)
Healthy Spread: Maison Le Grand Tapenades—Mild Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato
“This turns an ordinary sandwich into something extraordinary,” judge Jackie Newgent, RD, says. For just 120 calories in a 2-tablespoon serving, it makes a great fast appetizer, too—serve with goat cheese and crackers. ($6.99; The Fresh Market)
Quick-and-Easy Side Dish: Uncle Ben’s Ready Whole Grain Medley Roasted Garlic
Ready in 90 seconds, this blend of garlic, brown rice, and red and black quinoa is so tasty you might even be able to get your kids to eat it. One cup has 200 calories and 3 grams of fiber. ($2.29; grocery stores)
Dairy: Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monster
This protein-rich (18 grams) shake tastes like a chocolate milkshake—without the fat and calories. One 220-calorie serving has 100% of two B vitamins, half the calcium you need in a day, and a good dose of zinc and copper. ($3.29; natural-foods stores)
Frozen Entree: Lean Cuisine Thai-Style Noodles with Chicken
Love pad thai, but not all the calories? Dig your chopsticks into roasted chicken, creamy chili-peanut sauce, veggies, and whole-wheat noodles for 310 calories and 7 grams of fat. ($3.49; grocery stores)
Enhanced Water: R.W. Knudsen Family Sparkling Essence, Cucumber
We love the spa vibe we get when we drink this very special water. And for no calories, we can’t get enough of the refreshingly light cucumber taste. ($3.99 for 4; grocery and natural-foods stores)
Bottled Tea: Zero Calorie Steaz Blueberry Pomegranate Sparkling Green Tea
Here’s a healthy alternative to soda: a refreshing organic brew that’s full of antioxidants from green tea. It’s calorie-free (thanks to stevia) and has 100% of vitamins B6 and B12, plus folic acid. ($4.99 for 4; Whole Foods Market)
Frozen Pizza: Palermo’s Primo Thin Garden Pizza
A delicious, healthy frozen pie does exist—with an ultracrispy multigrain crust, part-skim mozzarella cheese, and fire-roasted green and red bell pepper, sliced olives, and broccoli. Serve up one-third of the pizza for only 270 calories and 14 grams of protein. ($6.49; Palermos Pizza)
Frozen Appetizer: Annie Chun’s Mini Wontons, Chicken & Cilantro
Forget the greasy, fried wontons at the local Chinese joint. These are all-natural, and four pieces have only 50 calories, half a gram of fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, and no preservatives. And they’re ready in just seven minutes—faster than takeout. ($3.99; grocery stores)
Juice: V8 Fusion Cranberry-Blackberry
Judge Robin Miller loved the “flavor blast” of this juice and couldn’t believe there were sweet potatoes and purple carrots along with the berries. It’s loaded with vitamins: An 8-ounce serving (110 calories) has 100% of your daily C, plus A and E, too. ($3.99 for 46 ounces; grocery stores)
Best Food Buys: The Judges
Kate Geagan, RD
, is the author of Go Green Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline with the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet.
Robin Miller, MS, is a nutritionist and author of Robin Rescues Dinner. She also hosts Quick Fix Meals on the Food Network.
Jackie Newgent, RD, is a culinary nutritionist and the author of Big Green Cookbook.
Nancy Rodriguez is the owner-president of Food Marketing Support Service Inc., a food-and-beverage design firm outside Chicago.
Best Home Buys
From a little blender with a lot of power to an all-mighty green cleaner, our 7 favorite new products for your home will make your life easier and healthier.
Bathroom Cleaner: Biokleen Lavender-Lime Bac-Out Bathroom Cleaner
Don’t let the mild, soothing lavender-and-lime scent fool you; this no-foam cleaner has the chops to put a shine on all kinds of bathroom surfaces. The mold-and-mildew-fighting formula also deodorizes surfaces, so your bathroom smells fresh long after a cleaning. ($7.99; BiokleenHome)
All-Purpose Cleaner: Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner
Talk about a hard-working cleaner: This nontoxic one is a great overall, everyday cleaner. Plus, it’s strong enough to disinfect germy surfaces—without using chemical disinfectants. The surprising natural germ-killer here is thymol, a component of thyme oil. ($2.99; Seventh Generation)
Laundry Detergent: Method Laundry Detergent in Peony Blossom
This concentrated plant-based detergent gave judge Sara Snow’s whites and darks a perfect wash, plus it made her laundry room smell great. Snow also loved the dispenser, which makes measuring detergent a cinch: just pump four times for a full load. ($8 for 25 washes; Method Laundry)
Water Filtration System: Aquasana Drinking Water Filter, AQ-4000
Judge Colin Ingram was impressed with this faucet-mounted system’s three-stage filter, which removes toxic metals, chlorine and most organic chemicals, and microorganisms. Plus, it cleans for less than 10 cents a gallon, so it’s economical to stay hydrated with healthy water from your tap. ($124.99; Aquasana)
Paint: Benjamin Moore Natura Interior Waterborne Paint
This zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint is free of chemicals linked to cancer that are typically in traditional paints. (And it’s virtually odorless.) Plus, it offers amazing coverage in just one coat, judge Louise Jones says. ($49.99 per gallon; Benjamin Moore)
Glass Cleaner: Terracycle Natural Window Cleaner
Made from purified water, natural minerals, and essential oils, Terracycle’s nontoxic glass cleaner leaves the glass truly streak- and smudge-free. An added green perk: The packaging is made from recycled plastic. ($2.99; Terracycle)
Kitchen Gadget: Waring Pro Professional Immersion Hand Blender
Grab this convenient blender with a supercomfy grip to whip up everything from fruit smoothies to veggie soups—all with restaurant-quality ease. “Some models aren’t heavy-duty enough to handle regular puréeing, but this one can do it all,” judge Anne Burrell raves. ($39.99; Waring)
Best Home Buys: The Judges
is the author of Sara Snow’s Fresh Living: The Essential Room-by-Room Guide to a Greener, Healthier Family, and Home.
Louise Jones, PhD, is an interior design professor at Eastern Michigan University and the editor of Environmentally Responsible Design: Green and Sustainable Design for Interior Designers.
Colin Ingram is the author of The Drinking Water Book: How to Eliminate Harmful Toxins from Your Water.
Anne Burrell is a chef, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and the host of The Food Network’s Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and Worst Cooks in America.