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Food Awards 2023: Top Supermarket Picks And Meal Kits of the Year – Health.com

14 minutes, 18 seconds Read

Navigating the food aisles takes work. No matter your taste preferences, there are many options. And while you want to make intentional choices, busy schedules and budget constraints can influence what you pop into your grocery cart. 

With this in mind, we carefully selected items for Health’s 2023 Food Awards. Our focus was on products that can be conveniently found at your local supermarket or through a food subscription, vending machine, or delivery service offering healthier alternatives that are also relatively affordable. 

Numerous products have labels such as ‘organic,’ a choice registered dietitian Lauren Manaker emphasizes isn’t something you have to make. “There may be slight differences in the nutritional offerings of organic versus conventionally grown food, and some feel that organic food tastes better,” she explained. “I would rather see people eat conventionally grown produce and whole grains than no produce or grains at all.” Just make sure to wash all produce thoroughly to remove pesticide residue.

However, Allie Echeverria, RD, likens sugar consumption to a financial budget. She encourages her clients to “Spend their sugar calories on whatever they want while following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for added sugar consumption, which is no more than 10% of total caloric intake.” So, if you’re eating 2400 calories daily, a maximum of 240 calories can come from added sugar. 

In curating this selection, we relied on the insights of Health’s editorial team and sought the expert guidance of nutritionists. Their recommendations are from personal preferences for daily food choices, items regularly found in their refrigerators and pantries. In addition, we conducted thorough research, editor testing, and meticulous fact-checking to ensure that we’re bringing you quality items for your consideration. We reviewed over 100 products, which included food subscription, vending machine, and delivery services, to present you with 39 winners. Our primary objective was to offer a range of readily available options at various price points.

Here are the winners of Health’s 2023 Food Awards.

Seven Sundays Oat Protein Cereal

Image Courtesy of Seven Sundays.

Manaker enjoys the convenience of cereals, which help her consume more whole grains and milk. “[Milk] is something I sometimes struggle with even though I know it’s a food that is important for my bone health,” she said. 

“Lately, I have been enjoying Seven Sundays Oat Protein Cereal even though it contains 7 grams of added sugar, which is a touch high. But it also provides 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber to help me feel fuller longer and potentially help avoid a blood sugar spike.” For extra protein, she has it with 2% milk.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Puffed Kamut Cereal

Image Courtesy of Arrowhead Mills.

Another cereal on Manaker’s list is Arrowhead Mills Puffed Kamut Cereal, made from a single ingredient, organic kamut, a high energy whole grain. It’s also low in fat with no added salt or sugar. “Perfect to get you going in the morning,” she said.

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Flourless Flake Cereal

Image Courtesy of Food for Life.

Whether you pair Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Flourless Flake Cereal with a nut, soy, or dairy-based milk, you will find that its crunch doesn’t quit. Each serving offers 6 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and added vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutrient-dense way to start your day.

Cheerios (original flavor)

Image Courtesy of General Mills.

It’s hard to go down any supermarket aisle and not come across Cheerios in several flavors. However, the original version contains only 1 gram of added sugar per serving while providing 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of belly-filling fiber.

This gluten-free cereal is fortified with vitamins D and B9 (folic acid) and minerals such as potassium, iron, and calcium. “I combine it with a handful of blueberries and a sprinkle of ground flaxseeds in a bowl and splash some milk on top for a quick and easy energy source,” said Manaker.

Cascadian Farm Organic Blueberry Vanilla Granola

Image Courtesy of Cascadian Farm.

“I am a little obsessed with granola. I make my own and love mixing it into yogurt (for a snack after working out) and adding it to my pancakes or oatmeal in the morning. However, I do also buy ready-made versions, and Iparticularly like Cascadian Farm Organic Blueberry Vanilla Granola because of its crunch; it is fruit-sweetened with 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving,”, said,” Cheryl S. Grant, editorial director, special projects.

Struesli Organic Granola Original Blend

Image Courtesy of Struesli.

Adrienne Lufkin, a mom, chef, and someone living with an autoimmune disease, created her own granola when she had difficulty finding one that was grain and sweetener-free yet still tasted good. Struesli Original, blended with a mix of nuts and seeds that are baked with extra virgin coconut oil, is now a favorite of editorial director Jordan Davidson, “It made me love breakfast again,” she said.

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Oatmeal Pineapple Coconut

Image Courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill.

Sometimes, instant oatmeal can get a bad rap for being too sugary and having a higher level of processing. However, it can offer comparable nutritional benefits to traditional or steel-cut oats. According to Manaker, it’s a natural source of a distinctive fiber called beta-glucan, which can help remove LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol from the body. She enjoys Bob’s Red Mill Organic Oatmeal Pineapple Coconut because it makes her feel like she is at a tropical resort. “It gives me a touch of joy in my chaotic world.”

Thrive Market Organic Overnight Oats in Carrot Cake Delight

Image Courtesy of Thrive Market.

Sweetened with dates, rather than sugar, and packed with 9 grams of dietary fiber per serving, Thrive Market Organic Overnight Oats in Carrot Cake Delight is just the warm hug you need on a cold winter morning. Editor Colleen Murphy loved the smell and taste of this gluten-free selection. She commented, “It’s a delightful and filling breakfast.”

Eggland’s Best Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs

Image Courtesy of Eggland’s Best.

Eggs provide high-quality protein, and Manaker pairs them with a carb-heavy breakfast for balance. “I love having hard-boiled eggs that are already peeled at my fingertips, and Eggland’s Best Hard-Cooked Peeled eggs are my go-to because they have 25% less saturated fat, six times more vitamin D, and 10 times more vitamin E [per serving] compared to ordinary eggs,” she said.

Cascadian Farm Organic Southwest Potato Hash

Image Courtesy of Cascadian Farm.

One of the easiest ways to make healthier choices is to meal prep. Cascadian Farm has excellent options for frozen diced veggies like the Mirepoix blend, which features onions, carrots, and celery, and makes a great soup starter, or the Powered By Plants versions that also include farro and chickpeas. 

“My favorite is the Southwest Potato Hash, which contains organic sweet potatoes, black beans, and red and green bell peppers, to which I add herbs and spices. It takes about nine minutes to cook, and I serve it alongside eggs,”

MingsBings Plant-Based Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Bing

Image Courtesy of MingsBings.

Add MingsBings Plant-Based Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Bing to your grocery cart for a tasty, quick grab-and-go morning meal. It’s gluten-, nut- and dairy-free, and contains no cholesterol. Just 20-25 minutes from freezer to plate.

Barilla Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti

Image Courtesy of Barilla.

“I consume a carb-rich diet consisting of lots of minimally processed foods like fruits, veggies, pasta, grains, and beans. While I love regular semolina pasta, I also opt for versions like Barilla Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti, which contains 7 grams of fiber per serving, plus B vitamins, and minerals. I have tried other whole-grain versions and tend to return to this one because of the mouthfeel and taste,” said Grant. 

Banza Penne

Image Courtesy of Banza.

“Banza pasta is made from garbanzo beans and has more protein and fiber than traditional pasta, plus great texture,” said Echeverria. The penne variety has 11 grams of protein per serving and 5 grams of fiber, plus iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Siete Chickpea Flour Tortillas

Image Courtesy of Siete.

Finding grain and gluten-free items can be challenging, but Siete Chickpea Flour Tortillas — found in the frozen section — will make yummy additions alongside your favorite curry dishes and fajitas. Heat them in a pan for two to three minutes, and enjoy!

Safe Catch Wild Elite Pure Tuna

Image Courtesy of Safe Catch.

“Safe Catch tuna is my go-to because the brand maintains a lower mercury limit than the FDA has set. Overexposure to methylmercury can negatively affect our health, so I like having an option that I know isn’t going to overload my body with this metal. It’s also a nice protein option to have on hand that I don’t have to cook,” said Manaker.

Siete Grain-free Tortilla Chips Sea Salt

Image Courtesy of Siete.

If you love salsa, guacamole, or hummus, you’ll love lightly salted Siete Grain-Free Tortilla Chips. They are incredibly crunchy, light, and flavorful. Made with cassava and coconut flour and avocado oil, you will find these hard to put down, said Grant. 

LesserEvil Popcorn in Himalayan Pink Salt

Image Courtesy of LesserEvil.

Enjoy a crunchy handful of LesserEvil Popcorn with only three ingredients:organic popcorn, extra-virgin coconut oil, and Himalayan pink salt. The snack is also packed with 4 grams of fiber per serving.

Hippeas Chickpea Tortilla Chips in Rockin’ Ranch

Image Courtesy of Hippeas.

Manamaker picks this as one of her favorite snacks because it offers “plant-based protein and fiber in addition to a delicious bold ranch flavor.” Hippeas Chickpea Tortilla Chips are also free from the top nine allergens and are vegan and Non-GMO Project-verified. 

Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar

Image Courtesy of Pirate’s Booty.

Looking for a great family movie night snack? Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar is made from puffed rice and corn, and this tasty treat contains no cholesterol and is only 70 calories per serving.

Wonderful Pistachios Sea Salt & Vinegar

Image Courtesy of Wonderful Pistachios.

“Nothing tastes better than salt and vinegar potato chips, but as tasty as they are, they are certainly lacking in the nutrition department,” said Manaker.  “Wonderful Pistachios Sea Salt & Vinegar nail it in the flavor department, and unlike potato chips, they are a natural source of fiber, healthy fats, and all of the essential amino acids, making them a plant-based complete protein choice.”

Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins

Image Courtesy of Blue Diamond.

With 2.5 grams of fat per serving Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins have a hearty yet light flavor. These crunchy and gluten-free crackers are the perfect vehicle for cheese, tuna or nut butter. Yum!

Kind Soft Baked Squares Peanut Butter Almond Flour Blondie

Image Courtesy of Kind.

If you’re looking for a tasty snack that happens to be gluten-free, Kind Soft Baked Squares Peanut Butter Almond Flour Blondie is a great option. Although it contains 7 grams of added sugar per serving, it also provides 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein and has no genetically engineered ingredients. “It is something I give to my hubby as he heads off to play golf to keep his energy up, plus he adores anything with peanut butter,” said Grant-Albano.

Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Snack Bars in Cocoa Brownie Blitz

Image Courtesy of Dave’s Killer Bread.

Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Snack Bars in Cocoa Brownie Blitz is worth popping in your bag as you head out the door. They provide 6 grams of fiber, contain no artificial ingredients, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, are free of high fructose corn syrup and bleached flour, and are on Manaker’s list of go-to items.

California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Image Courtesy of California Olive Ranch.

California Olive Ranch is Echeverria’s favorite olive oil. Its rich flavor enhances marinades and complements roasted veggies. Plus, olive oil is considered a healthy fat with anti-inflammatory properties, and it may reduce your risk for common diseases such as diabetes.

Good & Gather Vegetable Oil

Image Courtesy of Good & Gather.

“I currently use Target’s Good & Gather brand vegetable oil and like it,” said Echeverria. The American Heart Association describes the main ingredient of this product—soybean oil— as having more “better-for-you” fats and less saturated fat.

Primal Kitchen Pure Avocado Oil

Image Courtesy of Primal Kitchen.

A favorite of Manaker’s, Primal Kitchen Pure Avocado Oil contains heart-healthy oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. “This high-heat cooking oil is centrifuge-extracted, resulting in a pure oil option that I love working with,” she exclaimed. “I also prefer the taste of avocado oil in recipes like homemade salad dressings.” 

Primal Kitchen Ketchup Organic and Unsweetened

Image Courtesy of Primal Kitchen.

If you’re looking for unsweetened ketchup, give Primal Kitchen’s a try. It has lots of flavor with only one gram of sugar. If your diet leans towards vegan, paleo, Whole 30, or keto, this ketchup is a good option.

Klimon Cherry Bomb Frozen Dessert

Image Courtesy of Klimon.

While managing the added sugar and saturated fat you consume is important, sometimes you need something sweet. This non-dairy treat has a creamy texture and is an excellent option to enjoy in moderation. 

Siggi’s Rich and Creamy Skyr in Zesty Lemon

Image Courtesy of Siggi’s.

Made with skim milk and cream, and containing 10 grams of protein and five forms of live cultures to support tummy health, “Siggi’s Rich and Creamy Skyr Zesty Lemon is a tart treat that I add to the top of my fruits, pancakes, waffles, granola, or have directly from the tub,” said Grant. 

Oatly Full-Fat Oatmilk Chilled

Image Courtesy of Oatly.

For those who have difficulty digesting lactose or prefer a dairy-free alternative, chilled Oatly Full-Fat Oatmilk enriched with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid ) is an excellent option. DHA can promote blood flow and heart health and combat inflammation. Enjoy it in your tea or coffee for a velvety finish.

Silk Soymilk (original)

Image Courtesy of Silk.

Free from dairy, gluten, artificial colors, and flavors and a good source of vitamin D, B12, and potassium, Silk Soymilk is a healthy alternative to dairy, offering 450 milligrams of calcium per serving.

Fever-Tree Sparkling Sicilian Lemonade

Image Courtesy of Fever-Tree.

“I don’t often drink soda, but Fever-Tree Sparkling Sicilian Lemonade is a light and refreshing treat. This Non-GMO Project-verified drink contains 40 calories per bottle, which is significantly lower than most conventional sodas. It is made without artificial sweeteners or colors and tastes like summer,” shared Grant. 

Smoothie Box

Image Courtesy of Smoothie Box.

One of the hardest parts of making a smoothie is chopping up all the ingredients. Thankfully, Smoothie Box offers a convenient solution with 20 premade flash-frozen organic fruit packs that make two smoothies each. You can opt to add protein and collagen to your order.  All that’s left is to blend the contents, pour, and enjoy. 

Società Bona Furtuna

Image Courtesy of Bona Furtuna.

Società Bona Furtuna is a subscription food delivery service that provides an opportunity to try out items you might not typically consider buying during your regular shopping trips, such as wild fennel pesto, 7-year aged balsamic vinegar, passata sauce, or black olive tapenade. If you love experimenting with new flavors and consider yourself a foodie this subscription service is just for you.

EveryPlate

Image Courtesy of EveryPlate.

EveryPlate offers five meal plan options: Meat & Veggie, Veggie, Family Faves, Quick & Eeasy, and Nutrish & Delish. You select how many people to feed and how many meals you want to be delivered weekly. Recent editor favorites have included Cuban-style black beans and rice, crispy chickpea couscous bowls, and creamy penne al limone and broccoli.

ModifyHealth

Image Courtesy of Modify Health.

ModifyHealth provides chef-created meals for people adhering to specific dietary requirements, including those who seek low-FODMAP, Mediterranean, gluten-free, and carb-conscious meals.   

Hello Fresh

Image Courtesy of Hello Fresh.

Although HelloFresh provides diverse options in its meal kits, its quick meals and pantry essentials stand out. From meats and veggies and fit and wholesome selections to pescatarian picks, you can find something that suits your lifestyle. With this subscription, you can transform the question “What’s for dinner?” to “Look at what’s for dinner.”

Farmer’s Fridge

Image Courtesy of Farmer’s Fridge.

This editor’s favorite may not be readily available everywhere. Still, if you run into one of the thousand Farmer’s Fridges across the country that house these yummy salads in 400 retail outlets, including Target, Costco, and Hudson News, they are worth a try. They take the pain point out of asking what’s for lunch or dinner.

Diestel Turkey Ranch Organic American Heirloom

Image Courtesy of Diestel.

With Thanksgiving approaching, simplifying your meal planning couldn’t be easier than having a Diestel Turkey Ranch Organic American Heirloom delivered. These turkeys are non-GMO and free from gluten, casein, carrageenan, phosphates, MSG, artificial ingredients, and preservatives. They’re fed a 100% vegetarian diet enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT. Manaker follows a Mediterranean-style diet: “I live a very busy lifestyle, and I have a selective 8-year-old daughter.” Like many of us, Manaker doesn’t always have time to cook from scratch, so she leans on pre-packaged foods. “I love a good shortcut,” she exclaimed. 

Allie Echeverria, MS, RD, LD, modern home economics expert and founder of the Eaton Broshar Method, prioritizes protein and green leafy vegetables as part of her omnivore diet. “I do not restrict or omit any food group or macronutrient,” she said. 

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