As a Nutritionist, I probably enjoy grocery shopping more than the average person. I love food and exploring new products and markets! I feel very lucky to be surrounded by so many stores that offer a great selection of minimally processed, whole real and organic foods. I want to share some of my favorite products and finds! I always seek out whole, natural foods as much as possible that are free of additives and chemicals!
I look for plain, organic full-fat grass-fed yogurt. If you can’t find grass-fed or full-fat at your local store, that’s okay. You should still be able to find plain, organic yogurt which would be the best option. Yogurt should be simple with only two ingredients: pasteurized milk and live active cultures.. nothing else! (No gums, sugars, dyes, artificial flavors, etc.) Here are a few of my favorite yogurts. The last one is actually from a local dairy farm!
It’s hard to find a good hummus free from one of the highly refined vegetable oils at your conventional grocery store. My ideal hummus does not contain GMO canola oil. Hummus should contain only natural ingredients which include chickpeas, tahini, real herbs, spices, vegetables and maybe some olive oil. Two brands that use only these ingredients I like to buy are shown below. The Farm At Red Hill, which is based out of Virginia, can be found at Whole Foods. Helen’s Pure Foods hummus is local to Philadelphia. Check your grocery store and Farmer’s Market for locally made hummus brands, which likely are organic and only use natural ingredients 🙂
I love almond milk but being able to always make my own is not realistic for me. Almond milk has grown with popularity but it’s still important to stick to those that contain the least amount of additives! When buying almond milk, first look for unsweetened milk to eliminate unnecessary added sugars. Second, check the ingredient list and try and find one that does not contain carrageenan. Carrageenan is a popular thickener used for nondairy milks. Although derived from seaweed, some studies suggest it may be linked to intestinal inflammation. Both Whole Food’s and Trader Joe’s brand of regular unsweetened almond milk do not contain carrageenan.
If you haven’t heard by now, coconut oil is a great healthy fat! After olive oil, it’s my next favorite oil to use in cooking. I love coconut oil for many reasons, but will just name a few. Coconut oil is a good source of cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid and also contains a type of medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid, which converts into energy more quickly and easily than other types of fat. Because coconut oil is becoming widely popular, it is likely popping up in stores near you. If shopping for coconut oil, choose organic, unrefined also known as “pure” or “virgin” coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil has not been bleached or deodorized and does not contain additives. It also retains the natural taste and smell of coconut! I really like the brands Nutiva and Spectrum.
It’s no secret that most conventional granola bars contain a lot of added sugars among other ingredients we’d be better off without. Once again, it’s important to go right to the ingredient list when making your selections. The shorter the ingredient list, the better! You should be able to recognize all of the ingredients. Crazy right? Here are a few of my selections for real food bars when on-the-go and traveling.
Nut and Seed Butters
Peanut butter has a lot of competition these days. Today there are so many and seed butters available! My latest discovery was pumpkin seed butter. Dastony makes a variety of organic nut and butters that are delicious. My current favorite nut butters are almond and cashew butter. Other nut and seed butters available include walnut, pecan, macadamia and sunflower butter. When looking for any nut or seed butter, the only ingredient should be that nut or seed. Remember, keep it simple. Some stores now even offer grinding your own fresh nut butter!
Other great finds!
Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips. These are probably the only store bought chip I’d recommend. They only use real organic potatoes baked in coconut oil! I dare you to find any other chip that does not use some kind of highly processed and polyunsaturated vegetable oils. These are definitely dietitian approved!
Juisi’s chocolate almond milk. This raw, cold pressed drink is made from raw almonds with raw cacao, dates, vanilla & cinnamon. No cow’s milk or added sugar!