When your focus is eating whole foods you end up cooking a lot. There is just no way around it. And despite my commitment to our new diet, I occasionally miss the convenience of ready-made store bought foods. Not only do I have to make sure I cook a healthy dinner every night, but I now also have the added responsibility of making breakfast, lunch and snack foods as well. That’s what happens when you no longer eat store-bought cereals, tortillas, hummus, or granola bars.
Ever since we made this change a few months ago I have been on the prowl for store-bought items with a simple list of ingredients. We all already know about ready-to-eat snacks such as nuts, raisins, popcorn and fresh fruit, but here are some other convenient options that I have recently become a fan of…
We love that these crackers have only 3 ingredients as opposed to their Wheat Thins counterpart that boast a dozen or more ingredients including multiple sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup.
These are a variety of fruit and nut bars some of which have as little as TWO ingredients! Until I came across these I never imagined a ready-made snack could exist with only two ingredients (and they are good too). Definitely choose these over options such as Nature Valley’s Trail Mix Fruit & Nut bars, which contain almost 20 ingredients including 3 different types of sweeteners. Here in Charlotte I have found Lara Bars sold at Trader Joe’s, Earthfare, and Harris Teeter.
We have always been fans of traditional dried fruits such as raisins, but I recently came across some freeze dried fruits that are similar in concept except crunchy in texture. I found the ones pictured at Earthfare, and they come in a variety of flavors such as pear, pineapple, banana, and apple. I have also seen other brands like Funky Monkey which can be purchased at Target.
Fruit Leathers / Strips
These fruit strips remind me a lot of Fruit Roll Ups although they have quite a different (and simpler) list of ingredients. Sold in a wide variety of flavors including cherry, mango, strawberry and grape, I have found them under various brand names at Target, Harris Teeter, Trader Joes and Earthfare. Despite having a very short list of 4 or 5 ingredients they do contain fruit juice concentrate (which is basically a sweetener) so we do view these as “treats” in our house. And my kids love them!
Applesauce On the Go
Even though my kids have become much more accepting of our whole foods diet they are still kids that of course love foods that come in fun packages. That is why I was so thankful to come across these Applesauce On the Go products (which again I have seen sold under different brand names at different stores). Despite these products containing fruit juice concentrate as one of their few ingredients the sugar content is not much different from straight-up applesauce out of a jar.
Sushi with Brown Rice
Sometimes I get tired of cooking all of the time and sushi is the perfect take out lunch or dinner meal for us, which can be found at most grocery stores.
If you have kids consider bringing along these “milk boxes” instead of the more traditional juice boxes the next time you are on a picnic or lunch outing with friends. I do admit that juice boxes are convenient and quick to pack, but since juice is high in natural sugars and low in fiber (as opposed to the whole fruit before it is juiced) I opt for these milk boxes when we are out and about. My kids love milk at home and think these little milk boxes are fun to drink. We save them for special occasions when I know we will be around other juice box-drinking friends.