These 7 healthy grocery store finds taste as good as homemade…only they’re not.
Not so long ago, the health experts gave the same grocery shopping advice: stick to the perimeters. The perimeter is where we find fresh produce, meat, seafood, dairy and eggs. Anything in between was the land of processed foods, and this was synonymous with unhealthy choices.
I’m here to say this is no longer true. Many companies have created high-quality products using the exact same ingredients I would use if I made the product from scratch. Yes, it might cost less to make these from scratch, but I often ask what’s my time worth? I love to cook and bake, but sometimes my schedule is too hectic to find the joy in home cooking (and washing dishes) all day every day. Here are some of my time-saving healthy grocery store favorites.
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Once upon a time, I used to hate pasta and pizza. The reason? I was blessed with an Italian grandmother who made sauce every Sunday, and any other red sauce tasted blah to me. As an adult, I first heard of Rao’s the restaurant, and then came across the sauce in a NYC grocery store. To this day, Rao’s is the only jarred tomato sauce I like.
Gotham Green’s Vegan Pesto
Pesto sauce isn’t hard to make, but it requires an extra few steps, plus I have to clean out my mini-prep (a small food processor ideal for little jobs). Gotham Greens makes a delicious (and vegan) pesto sauce that you know is fresh because they grow their own basil. I particularly like how they use extra virgin olive oil instead of the cheap, less healthy oils you find in most processed foods (I’m looking at you sunflower/safflower/soybean oil).
LesserEvil Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Popcorn
Anyone who has hosted me at their house IRL knows I usually bring a bottle of wine and a bag of this popcorn. It’s so good! The ingredients are pure, and it tastes like something I’d make on the stove, only better because I didn’t. Where was this in college when I practically subsisted on microwave popcorn with fake butter spray (CRINGE)???
Simple Mills Box Cake and Frosting
If I had to choose between cooking and baking, baking would have the slightest edge. For the longest time, I refused to make anything from a box…and then Simple Mills came along. I like many of their products, but the vanilla cake mix and vanilla frosting have been amazing when I’m expected to bring a dessert somewhere on short notice. I respect how light they go on the (coconut) sugar, and everyone always raves about the final product. Note: the cake mix contains almond flour so be sure to check on allergies. Sometimes I’ll make my own cake and still use the Simple Mills frosting to be on the safe side.
Amy’s Soups and Veggie Burgers
For years, I practically lived on Amy’s soups for lunch. I’d stock up on my favorite flavors (quinoa kale and lentil vegetable) and keep them at my desk to heat up in a microwave safe dish at lunchtime. The veggie burgers – the Sonoma one in particular – are quite delicious and great when it’s burger night, but I’m not feeling meat. My 5 year old actually prefers these to beef on burger night too! They’re also quite delicious in a salad with my go-to dressing.
I’m obsessed with Eden. I love so many of their products, but when it comes to canned beans, I won’t buy from any other brands. This is because Eden knows that in order to improve digestibility of beans, we have to pressure cook them. They also know that to improve the mineral content of anything we pressure cook with, adding some kombu (seaweed) is key. Eden does both.
GrandyOats and Paleonola Granola
Other than overnight oats, granola with coconut yogurt is my favorite weekday breakfast. It’s quick, it’s energizing, and it’s delicious. Yes, I could easily make my own granola, but I love this GrandyOats Coffee Crunch granola so much. I’m including Paleonola in here too because it’s my husband’s favorite, and I remember it being good but can’t say with 100% certainty because he eats it too fast!
I can go on and on, but the above items are in my grocery cart pretty much every single week. Fresh food may be the ideal, but processed foods done right, like our grandparents and great-grandparents would both recognize and appreciate, are definitely better than the alternative of takeout on the days when it’s hard to make the time.
Comment below if you have a favorite healthy food found in the middle of the grocery store!