My Favorite Packaged Foods

by Sally on March 10, 2014

In the last few years, I’ve made a conscious decision to make more food from scratch. But I still buy packaged food (read “From-Scratch Cooking Confession: I Can’t Keep Up!“). Several readers asked me for more details on the kinds of packaged products I buy, so I wanted to share some of my favorites.

When choosing packaged foods, I always read labels, looking for a simple ingredient list and a food that’s naturally nutrient-rich (not something heavily processed that’s been pumped with vitamins and minerals). Because I have a food budget, price is also important. So while I know that the natural foods markets are teeming with terrific packaged options, everything on this list can be found at a regular grocery store or Target at a pretty reasonable price (with the exception of the “Splurge Snack”).

smuckers-creamy_300 Peanut Butter: Smucker’s Natural

Just peanuts and salt and a thick, grainy, satisfying texture.

My Favorite Packaged Foods by Real Mom Nutrition Breakfast Sausage: Applegate Chicken & Apple

The ingredients are chicken, dried apples, water, honey, and spices. No antibiotics. And my fourth grader can now make eggs and sausage for himself and his little brother in the morning all by himself. Hallelujah!

My Favorite Packaged Foods by Real Mom Nutrition Frozen French Fries: Cascadian Farm Shoe String French Fries

They’ve got the look of fast food fries but are made with organic potatoes and have hardly any added sodium–so you can sprinkle on however much (or little) salt you want.

My Favorite Packaged Foods by Real Mom Nutrition Crackers: Triscuits

Just three ingredients—wheat, oil, and salt. I like that these crackers, unlike some others, have no added sugar.

Honorable Mention: Wasa crispbreads, which are hearty and satisfying, and delicious with a smear of natural peanut butter or a slice of melted cheese.

My Favorite Packaged Foods by Real Mom Nutrition Cereal: Barbara’s Puffins

Just 5 grams of sugar per serving (that’s a bit more than 1 teaspoon) but sweet enough to feel fun to my kids.

Honorable Mentions: Read “My 5 Favorite Boxed Cereals

My Favorite Packaged Foods by Real Mom Nutrition Splurge Snack: Simply Balanced freeze-dried fruit (at Target)

Contains only fruit and tastes like a special treat. This is what I buy my kids at Target when I’ve been dragging them around on way too many errands.

My Favorite Packaged Foods by Real Mom Nutrition Energy Bar: KIND bars

Short ingredient lists, and big chewy pieces of nuts, dried fruit, and seeds.Honorable Mention: Larabars, because I love the super-simple ingredient lists and (in some cases) no added sugar.

My Favorite Packaged Foods by Real Mom Nutrition Boxed Mac-n-Cheese: Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat

Filling whole wheat pasta and no neon colors.

Honorable Mention: Annie’s Organic Whole Wheat Shells & White Cheddar.

Want more ideas? Prevention Magazine recently released its “100 Cleanest Packaged Food Awards” for 2014. A few of these brands–including  Smucker’s, Cascadian Farms, and Applegate–made that list too.

What are YOUR favorite packaged foods?

Disclosure: I’m happy to be working with Applegate this year as a member of their Advisory Board, because it’s a brand I buy and respect. All opinions expressed are my own. 

{ 1 comment }

{Recipe} Peaches & Vanilla Green Smoothie

by Sally on February 5, 2014

Peaches & Vanilla Green Smoothie from Real Mom Nutrition

The Polar Vortex got me dreaming of warmer temperatures in faraway places–where thermometers have never seen minus 10 degrees at high noon and where you don’t need to wear a ski mask to take out the recycling.

That was the inspiration for this smoothie, a new favorite of mine. Close your eyes and it’s part fruity summer drink, part vanilla milkshake.

Read “Make-Ahead Green Smoothie Packets” for tips on assembling these ahead of time.

Peaches & Vanilla Green Smoothie
Serves: 1

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen peaches (or pineapple)
  • 2 generous handfuls fresh baby spinach

  1. Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender in the order listed, ending with spinach.
  2. Process until completely smooth.
  3. Think about palm trees and flip-flops while drinking.



My 5 Favorite Boxed Cereals

January 27, 2014

As a kid, I ate my fair share of Boo Berry and Smurf-Berry Crunch. I was the type who saved all her Lucky Charms marshmallows until the very end of the bowl and then slurped down the blue- and pink-tinged milk. But when I had my own kids, I struggled with what to do about […]

Read the full article →

{Recipe} Banana Oatmeal Cups

January 2, 2014

When I first made these oatmeal cups by Roni from Green Light Bites a few years ago, I fell in love with them–because I always had the ingredients on hand, because they were the perfect thing to grab as a breakfast or quick snack or pop into lunchboxes, and because my kids gobble them up. I […]

Read the full article →

Make-Ahead Green Smoothie Packets

December 6, 2013

I’ve seen these make-ahead smoothie kits all over Pinterest. But I wasn’t convinced until my friend Kelly recently texted me to report that yes, freezing fresh spinach totally works. Kelly and I, who share a love of green smoothies, often bemoaned the fact that the small box of spinach was never enough–but the jumbo one […]

Read the full article →

One Of The Best Things You Can Do On A Sunday

September 3, 2013

If you read my last post, you may be thinking that by “one of the best thing you can do” I mean “go to yoga class” or “ignore the mountains of laundry and snuggle with your kids” (read “A Back-To-School Pledge To Myself“). And yes, do those. And go to religious services. Or watch football. […]

Read the full article →

The Trouble With School Breakfast

February 22, 2013

Seven words I never thought I’d hear my 8-year-old son say: “Mommy, I’m getting sick of Cocoa Puffs.” I don’t buy Cocoa Puffs. My son has been eating them at school as part of the free breakfast program. I am not happy about this. For months, I have wrestled with what to do about school […]

Read the full article →

Guest Recipe: Creamy Dreamy Banana Date Shake

June 17, 2012

Ever since my two week No Added Sugar Challenge, I’ve kept added sugars out of my breakfast completely. And I’ve been drinking a lot of Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies.  But my obsession has turned to a new morning drink: The Creamy Dreamy Banana Date Shake. It was created by Katie Morford at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook, a […]

Read the full article →

{Recipe} Yogurt & Flaxseed Waffles

April 5, 2012

In my ongoing quest to limit screen time around here, I handed down a pretty harsh ruling this week: No more cartoons in the morning during the school week. I figured the first morning might be rocky. So I made waffles. When I woke up my boys (bonus benefit of no a.m. screen time: they sleep in!), […]

Read the full article →

Friday Five

June 3, 2011

Thanks to Rachel at Hounds in the Kitchen for allowing me to piggyback on her regular Friday Five feature! You can read her Friday Five here. Five things in heavy rotation around here right now: 1. Homemade freezer jam One packet of this stuff + a few bags of frozen blackberries I found in the […]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Read the full article →