Can you believe that it’s just 60 days away from being the end of 2018? Where has this year gone?
You’re likely recovering from a massive Reeses-induced sugar hangover today, or maybe you’re just sleep deprived after the kiddos refused to stop bouncing off the walls after they got done collecting all their tricks & treats last night. So here’s a little change of pace on what has been filling your feed!
Over the past year, I really started to be label conscious. I realized that much of the “healthy” foods out there are just marketing words on a package. (I’m in marketing for my full time job, so I salute all the marketers out there for actually just doing a good job)
That being said, I wanted to focus on reducing my sugar intake, find healthy fats and lean proteins in foods. I also wanted to try and just eat cleaner. Reducing the amount of gross, fake ingredients that is in so much food. Now, i’m far from perfect. I love some chips & queso or a good Mambo Taxi (if you’re ever in Dallas, Tx. get one of these at a Mexican restaurant, you’ll thank me later). But for my day-to-day eating, I wanted to try to focus in and find some high-quality products that taste amazing and are just as good for me too.
So what criteria did I use to pick these 26 brands/ products as my favorite?
- Are the ingredients natural, additive-free & made with real food?
- Did I buy them repeatedly throughout the year?
- Convenience – are they located at the stores I shop at most (e.g. Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joes or Central Market)
I listed all the brands featured in the photo above + links to any recipes I created using the product or tips on other flavors or products I like from the brand. I hope you find some new favorite healthy foods you can add to your regular fridge rotation too!
- Annie’s – Love their French Dressing & Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette
- Primal Kitchen – this brand really came in hot & heavy to my household in 2018. From their mayos to their dressings, I recommend every one of their products if you’re following a paleo, gluten free or in some products a Whole30 diet. They recently came out with some bars that I will be trying soon too. A product review will follow on what I think of those!
- A recipe using their Chipotle Lime Mayo: Roasted Chile Lime Chickpea Salad
- Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash or Cauliflower crusts – I am obsessed with these crusts. They are a $2.99 and make having pizza night feel way less guilt-ridden (for me).
- Trader Joes Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto – Yeah, I put this sh*t on everything. I don’t think the buffalo sauce commercial deserves that catchphrase because THIS pesto really goes on everything from sauces to marinades.
- Here is a favorite recipe using this basil pesto: White Chicken Alfredo Cauliflower Crust Pizza
- Tessemae’s | Anything this brand makes is DELICIOUS in my opinion. I love their ketchup (a new product) and is probably my favorite “healthy” ketchup on the market right now. But the real winner is all their dressings. Oh man, they are all so good and are Whole30/Paleo compliant, gluten free and don’t have all those yucky ingredients a lot of dressings tend to have.
- Here are a few recipes to get you in the mood for their products: Healthier Burger Recipe Roundup
- Hope Hummus – There’s hummus, and then there’s Hope Foods’ Buffalo Bleu Hummus. I don’t know that there has ever been a more magical flavor of hummus created. If you like buffalo wings & you love hummus, then this will be some snack heaven for you! I know it has been for me.
- Banza Chickpea Pasta – Forever hunting for carb alternatives, this brand came on my radar earlier this year and has slowly taken over the pantry. I think the only thing I haven’t used their pasta for was lasagna (Hey, Banza, please make some no-bake lasagna noodles then you can officially have a pasta monopoly in my pantry)
- Bonafide Provisions – I have enjoyed Bonafide’s soups so far this fall and plan to use more of their bone broths throughout this winter. I need to continue my research into bone broth, but it has a lot of good restorative benefits.
- RX Bar – The reigning bar champion in my world. RX Bars are my favorite for their no b.s. take on ingredients and their micro quantities. One of the higher protein to lower carb ratios in a bar that i’ve found (and actually liked the taste + texture). Currently loving all their fall flavors: Pumpkin Spice, Peanut Butter & Berries (my favorite) and Apple Cinnamon. Already on the lookout for their holiday flavors!
- HU Chocolate – I’ve enjoyed this chocolate brand for their large variety of products and flavors. They don’t just stop with a dark chocolate bar, but they have flavors like Orange Dream, Cashew Butter with Raspberry Jelly to keep you and your sweet tooth interested.
- EPIC – This isn’t necessarily a new product I found in 2018, but I have long been a fan of the EPIC brand and wanted to include them in the list! From their protein bars to their newest version of performance bars. I enjoy all the products.
- Boulder Riced Cauliflower – I have started to see this brand at more stores, but originally found it at Sprouts Farmer’s Market. They have a cilantro-lime flavored cauliflower rice that I use in my Spanish (Cauliflower) Rice Recipe and it’s also great as a quick side dish for meal prep. It’s already got a great flavor so if you don’t have time to do anything to it but heat it up, you will not be disappointed!
- Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Spice – This seasoning tastes exactly like the name. I love to sprinkle this on avocado toast and eggs for an extra kick of flavor!
- Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Spice – The absolute most-used spice in my cabinet. I add it to taco meat, guacamole, flavoring black beans and my famous Spanish (Cauliflower) Rice recipe. Seriously, do yourself a favor and go get this spice IMMEDIATELY.
- Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice: Found this spice just as soon as October hit the calendar and there was no looking back. I have added this to my Pumpkin Spice Fall Fat Bite recipe for a seasonal version of my Fat Bites and I enjoy sprinkling it on a ton of other things during this pumpkin spice season! Here’s the Fall Fat Bite Recipe if you want to see how to incorporate this spice!
- Primal Palate Spices: Paleo, organic spices that are also Whole30 approved! What’s better than that? I particularly loved the Amore seasoning and have used it in a lot of Italian cooking this year!
- Delighted By Dessert Hummus – Dessert. Hummus. Need I say more? If you need ANOTHER reason to eat hummus, then here it is! I suggest the Brownie Batter flavor most.
- Mountain Town Olive Oil – I discovered this wonderful brand during a recent trip to Park City, Utah! They have an amazing variety of flavored olive oils that I have absolutely LOVED incorporating into recipes. Their Meyer Lemon olive oil has been my favorite! You can purchase their oils online or stop by and see them if you’re in PC!
- Chosen Foods Avocado Oil – 2018 was my year of discovering what fats can do to your body function. In that discovery, I started to research oils and what the best oils were for daily use. Avocado oil shined as a great option and I have loved the Chosen Foods version for it’s quality and price point!
- Trader Joe’s Unrefined Coconut Oil – I just love Trader Joe’s products for their price point and quality. This coconut oil is something that i’ve really incorporated into a lot of the foods eaten in my house as a good source of fat. I add this to a lot of baking, hot coffee and sauces! Unrefined just means it has more of the good coconut nutrients still in there, but can also have a slight coconut taste as opposed to refined.
- Siete Grain-Free Chips – This is a brand that I recommend to people who are looking for quality, grain-free products that still taste, feel & look like what you would be used to in tortillas or tortilla chips. Their lime tortilla chips are delicious, though a bit more costly than other chips. Maybe the price point will prevent me from wanting to eat the whole bag in one sitting? That’s what I justify to myself anyway…
- Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lovers Chocolate Bar – The trick with dark chocolate is to look for at least 80% cacao or more. That means it is healthier by not packing in sugar, rather it has more cacao. If you make sure your dark chocolate has these things, then it’s a good little sweet treat to satisfy your sweet tooth post-dinner: Make sure it has NOT been “processed with alkali” has at least a cacao content of 80% or more, is organic or fair trade certified
- Vital Farms Grass-Fed Butter – As I mentioned above, I was on a mission this year to really understand the labels of foods I brought home. This was one of the brands that I’ve enjoyed following, support their mission. If you’re going to eat a fat, it’s ideal to eat one that is sourced from the best possible places otherwise you’re not doing your body any favors.
- Safe Catch Canned Tuna – I love tuna salad, especially when it’s made with one of the Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayos. Holy cow is it delicious. I was searching for a while to find a canned tuna that didn’t gross me out, and I came across this brand. It has low mercury and is wild caught.
- Unique Pretzels – These pretzels are SO GOOD. They are the pretzel child of a big soft pretzel and a traditional crunchy snack pretzel. Larger than normal size, extra crunchy and with the best flavor. I can’t say enough words about how excited I was to discover this pretzel company!
- Bolthouse Farms Dressing – And coming in at 26 is my beloved Bolthouse Farms ranch dressing. I’m not perfectly healthy all the time, but I try to find the best options for my body, so you’ll likely find me still dunking a piece of pizza in some ranch dressing, but you better believe it will be pizza made on cauliflower crust and ranch dressing made with yogurt.
What products have you discovered in 2018 that you have absolutely loved? Tell me in the comments below! I would love to find more products to try.