America's Healthiest Food Buys 2009
Chris ShipmanFrom Health magazine
In a world where new food products appear on shelves every week, it can be hard to tell which are the healthiest to toss in your cart. Healths food and nutrition experts are here to help. We tested more than 500 new products (some delicious, some interesting, and some just plain awful) to come up with this years list of the healthiest, tastiest, and most convenient foods for you.
Frozen breakfast: Weight Watchers Smart Ones Morning Express English Muffin Sandwich with Egg Whites and Cheese ($3.19) For those rush-out-the-door mornings, this sandwich is the perfect take-along. Its impressively fresh after nuking and packs 13 grams of protein for only 210 calories and 5 grams of fat—thats 90 calories and 7 grams of fat less than a McDonalds Egg McMuffin.
Cereal: Kashi U ($5) With its tasty seven-whole-grain flakes, omega-3-packed walnuts, antioxidant-rich black currants, and açai-flavored granola bites, Kashi U is a well-rounded cereal. A 1-cup serving has 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 20% of your daily calcium needs, 50% of your daily requirements for vitamins A, C, E, and zinc, and 100% of the folic acid and B vitamins you need every day.
Grab-and-go breakfast: Eggology Certified Organic Hardboiled Eggs ($1.30 for a two-pack) For a lean, no-fuss breakfast, help yourself to an Eggology hard-boiled egg from the fridge—no cooking or peeling required. Each egg has 70 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein, and comes with salt and pepper packets for quick seasoning. They taste really fresh, too.
Salsa: Wholly All Natural Salsa, Medium ($3.25) Fresh-tasting salsa is hard to find at the grocery store, but this one tastes like it was just whipped up. Wholly Salsa is all-natural, made with vine-ripened tomatoes, onions, green bell peppers, lime juice, and garlic, and has a subtle heat. Its also superlight—a 2-tablespoon serving has only 10 calories and no fat. (Also available in mild and hot.)
Popcorn: Orville Redenbachers Gourmet Popping Corn, Natural Lime and Salt ($2.69) Mr. Redenbachers popcorn has been kicked up with a splash of lime flavor—and we‘re digging it. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, plus its whole-grain. One bag has 190 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.
Cracker: Kelloggs Special K Snack Crackers, Multi-Grain ($3.69) These crunchy, crispy, wheaty bites are tough to turn away, so were thankful they come in handy 90-calorie packs for portion control. Each bag, filled with crackers made with whole-wheat flour, honey, and wheat germ, has 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Pair it with a little peanut butter or cheese, and you have an even more filling afternoon snack.
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Snack bar: All Natural Attune With Daily Probiotics bar in Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola ($1.59) Conquer afternoon hunger and tummy trouble with this crisp, crunchy, nutty bar. With 170 calories per bar, Attune has five times the stomach-soothing live cultures as a container of yogurt and is also rich in protein (5 grams per bar) and fiber (3 grams), which will help keep your tank full until dinner.
Chips: Riceworks Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps ($3) When that salty-crunchy craving strikes—were reaching for Riceworks. Judge Nancy Rodriguez loved how the “excellent” Parmesan flavor mingled with the sweet, tart sun-dried tomato. Made from whole-grain brown rice, they are a preservative-, cholesterol-, and trans fat–free alternative to greasy potato chips. One serving has 140 calories and 6 grams of fat.
Nuts: True North 100% Natural Pecan Almond Peanut Clusters ($3.29) These little clusters (170 calories for eight) are so good, its hard to put them down. This trifecta of heart-healthy, protein-packed nuts reminded judge Rodriguez of peanut brittle, thanks to their crispy texture and brown rice syrup for a hint of sweetness. One tip: Pack a single serving so you dont overdo it.
Fruity snack: Nabisco Newtons Fruit Crisps Snacks, Apple Cinnamon ($4 for 8 pouches) Searching for a perfect post-lunch sweet? For only 100 calories and 2 grams of fat, these Newtons really satisfy. With a buttery, crispy cookie outside and sweet, tart apple filling, they are a light way to give in to your sweet tooth without doing in your diet. (Also in mixed berry.)
Ice cream: Ciao Bella Sicilian Blood Orange Sorbet, Single Serving ($1.50) Cool off without a ton of calories and fat, with Ciao Bellas super-yummy new single-serving sorbets. The 3.5-ounce cup even comes with a little spoon under the lid, perfect for then-and-there enjoyment. The main ingredients are orange juice (both blood orange and regular) and sugar—a pure little treat for a hot summers day. One cup has 105 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 80% of your daily need of vitamin C.
Cookie: Kelloggs All-Bran Rolled Fiber Wafers, Chocolate ($5) These wafers arent your average cookie. For one thing, their fun shape is an obvious departure from the ho-hum, typically circular sweet. Theyre packed with fiber—three cookies have 10 grams—and 2 grams of protein, all for just 130 calories. Judge Nancy Rodriguez thought their chocolaty flavor was great—and we do, too.
Yogurt: Siggis Icelandic Style Skyr Nonfat Strained Yogurt, Pomegranate and Passion Fruit ($3) Yogurt is yogurt, right? This companys founder, Siggi Hilmarsson, a native of Iceland who now lives in Manhattan, makes yogurt that will convince you otherwise The secret? The “skyr” straining process. Siggi uses three times the milk of a regular yogurt and strains it down, which results in more protein per bite—16 grams for our winner, versus the average 7. Its sweetened with agave nectar, has 120 calories, and no fat. But trust us, its so delicious, it tastes like a total indulgence.
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Grab-and-go: Helens Pinto Bean and Two-Cheese Burrito ($2.49)
For days when a lunch break is wishful thinking, were grabbing this burrito. Helens frozen wrap is tasty and simple: a whole-wheat tortilla, pinto beans, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses, and a little seasoning. At 326 calories, its no skimpy lunch. And the 14 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber will keep you chugging along until dinnertime.
Bread: Flatout Flatbread Healthy Grain Multi-Grain With Flax ($3) Give your sandwich a healthy makeover: Ditch the boring bread (which can be 200 calories for two slices) for a supersoft 100-calorie Flatout wrap. Each flatbread has a whopping 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein, thanks to the addition of heart-healthy ground flaxseeds. We like it at dinner as the crust for a quick personal pizza, too.
Soup: Campbells V8 Garden Broccoli Soup ($3) Good premade soup is hard to find. Thats why we like Campbells new V8 line; the new packaging allows soup to be cooked for a shorter amount of time before packaging, giving it a fresher flavor. Judge Robin Miller loved the fabulous taste and the creaminess that comes from only 80 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving. No artificial flavors or preservatives to boot.
Cheese: Kraft Natural Cheese: Blend of Reduced Fat White Sharp Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan Cheeses ($2.40) This tasty blend of three fromages sent us over the moon. Judge Miller loves the perfect balance of white sharp Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan. Its also easy to shred and excellent on a grilled sandwich. The best part? Its made with milk from hormone-free cows, and it has 33% less fat than other cheeses (6 grams versus 10), at just 90 calories.
Frozen entree: Healthy Choice All Natural Entrees, Pumpkin Squash Ravioli ($2.49) Ravioli seems like an indulgence, but you can dive into this meal and know youre doing your body a big favor. You get pumpkin, asparagus, butternut squash, and granny smith apples, which together provide half of your daily need of vitamin A. Each meal has 6 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, and only 300 calories and 6 grams of fat.
Quick-and-easy side dish: Seeds of Change Dharamsala Aromatic Indian Rice Blend ($3.39) This blend of basmati rice, mung beans, lentils, garbanzos, potatoes, and carrots tastes like its fresh from the Himalayas. Flavored with smoky cumin, warm cinnamon, and cloves, each 1-cup serving (two per pack) has 210 calories, 4 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein.
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Frozen appetizer: Blue Horizon Organic Spring Rolls With Cilantro and Lemongrass ($4) Companys coming and you have no predinner nibbles prepared? Enter Blue Horizon. Their spring rolls are crispy, nongreasy, and fresh-tasting. With organic ingredients like green beans, cabbage, lemongrass, and cilantro, three spring rolls have only 130 calories, 4 grams of fat, and no trans fat or preservatives.
Frozen pizza: Kashi All-Natural Thin Crust Frozen Pizza, Roasted Vegetable ($6) This pie helps us sneak in our veggies and whole grains. The thin, crispy crust is wood-fired and made with a blend of ground flaxseeds and whole-wheat and long-grain rice flour topped with two cheeses, broccoli, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, onions, and garlic. One serving (one-third of the pie) has 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber.
Frozen vegetarian entree: Amys Light in Sodium Indian Mattar Paneer ($5) When youre craving the taste of India in the comfort of your home, Amys serves up a winner. This dinner has three tasty parts: delicately spiced organic peas and paneer (Indian cheese); organic basmati rice with carrots, onions, and cumin; and curried garbanzo beans and sweet organic tomatoes. All this for 320 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 11 grams of protein.
Bottled tea: Honest Tea, Organic Peach White flavor ($1.69) This tasty tea is made with antioxidant-rich organic white tea (least processed of all teas), organic peach puree and cane sugar. Each bottle has 150 milligrams of the antioxidant ECGC and only 85 calories. Judge Roshini Rajapaska, MD, (Dr. Raj) loved the refreshing, just-sweet-enough flavor.
Juice: Naked Açai Machine ($3.79) Dr. Raj liked this refreshing blend of antioxidant-rich açai berries, heart-healthy concord grapes, and fiber-rich plums, with a little apple and banana thrown in for texture. It is loaded with healthy vitamins, too; half of a bottle (160 calories) supplies 100% of your vitamin A and vitamin C needs and 300% of your vitamin E needs.
Sparkling beverage: Ooba Hibiscus ($2.49) Ooba is an effervescent drink infused with hibiscus extract and sweetened with a touch of cane sugar. Hibiscus was once used for its healing properties, and, according to some research, it reduces high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, and improves cardiovascular health. We like the bubbles and hint of sweetness and that one serving (90 calories) provides 50% of your daily vitamin C need.
Alternative beverage: Revolution 3D Blueberry ($1.59) With a subtle blueberry-and-white-tea flavor, this refreshing drink is a new spin on tea—and a great way to cool off on a hot summers day. Made with real blueberry juice and sweetened with agave syrup and pure cane sugar, it also gives you 100% of your vitamin C and 20% of your vitamin B daily—all for only 90 calories.