For convenience: The best store-bought snacks

When your focus is eating whole foods you end up cooking a lot. There is just no way around it. And despite my commitment to our new diet, I occasionally miss the convenience of ready-made store bought foods. Not only do I have to make sure I cook a healthy dinner every night, but I now also have the added responsibility of making breakfast, lunch and snack foods as well. That’s what happens when you no longer eat store-bought cereals, tortillas, hummus, or granola bars.

Ever since we made this change a few months ago I have been on the prowl for store-bought items with a simple list of ingredients. We all already know about ready-to-eat snacks such as nuts, raisins, popcorn and fresh fruit, but here are some other convenient options that I have recently become a fan of…

Triscuits

We love that these crackers have only 3 ingredients as opposed to their Wheat Thins counterpart that boast a dozen or more ingredients including multiple sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup.

Lara Bars

These are a variety of fruit and nut bars some of which have as little as TWO ingredients! Until I came across these I never imagined a ready-made snack could exist with only two ingredients (and they are good too). Definitely choose these over options such as Nature Valley’s Trail Mix Fruit & Nut bars, which contain almost 20 ingredients including 3 different types of sweeteners. Here in Charlotte I have found Lara Bars sold at Trader Joe’s, Earthfare, and Harris Teeter.

Freeze Dried Fruits

We have always been fans of traditional dried fruits such as raisins, but I recently came across some freeze dried fruits that are similar in concept except crunchy in texture. I found the ones pictured at Earthfare, and they come in a variety of flavors such as pear, pineapple, banana, and apple. I have also seen other brands like Funky Monkey which can be purchased at Target.

Fruit Leathers / Strips

These fruit strips remind me a lot of Fruit Roll Ups although they have quite a different (and simpler) list of ingredients. Sold in a wide variety of flavors including cherry, mango, strawberry and grape, I have found them under various brand names at Target, Harris Teeter, Trader Joes and Earthfare. Despite having a very short list of 4 or 5 ingredients they do contain fruit juice concentrate (which is basically a sweetener) so we do view these as “treats” in our house. And my kids love them!

Applesauce On the Go

Even though my kids have become much more accepting of our whole foods diet they are still kids that of course love foods that come in fun packages. That is why I was so thankful to come across these Applesauce On the Go products (which again I have seen sold under different brand names at different stores). Despite these products containing fruit juice concentrate as one of their few ingredients the sugar content is not much different from straight-up applesauce out of a jar.

Milk Boxes

If you have kids consider bringing along these “milk boxes” instead of the more traditional juice boxes the next time you are on a picnic or lunch outing with friends. I do admit that juice boxes are convenient and quick to pack, but since juice is high in natural sugars and low in fiber (as opposed to the whole fruit before it is juiced) I opt for these milk boxes when we are out and about. My kids love milk at home and think these little milk boxes are fun to drink. We save them for special occasions when I know we will be around other juice box-drinking friends.

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Comments

  1. JM |

    Hi! A friend recomended your site and I’m glad she did.

    In this post you talk about Triscuits but i noticed that yes they have 3 ingredients but one of them is Soybean oil and in another post you recomend to avoid this oil. just confused.
    Thaks.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

      Hi JM. Yes, Triscuits were a choice made early on in the initial 100 Days pledge. Lisa liked their very short ingredient list but no longer purchases them. ~Amy

  2. |

    What is the number one rule on your website? The first rule on your page “Real Foods: Defined”?

    “Whole Foods – foods in its most natural state”.

    Fruit leather, squeeze applesauce, Lara Bars, milk that doesn’t spoil, Triscuits? It doesn’t matter that they have less than five ingredients, or organic, or don’t have preservatives. These processed products are not “whole foods” and they are not “foods in its most natural state”.
    – Processed? Check.
    – High in sugars? Check.
    – Found in the middle of the grocery store? Check.
    – Something your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food? Check.

    You should NOT, NOT, NOT recommend these…what are they, anyway? These things aren’t food…maybe food products? This is a terrible post, I think you should take down this post TODAY.

  3. Carol Ann |

    What are your thoughts on the brand “Honest Kids”? I have been using those “juice boxes” for the past 2 years….

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

      Hello Carol Ann. Honestly (pun intended),:) you can make your own very similar tasting drink by adding a bit of 100% juice or juice concentrate to water. Then you avoid the preservatives and “natural flavors” that appear on their ingredient list. ~Amy

  4. Carolyn |

    i buy Zapplesauce in bulk. It comesin Mylar type squeeze containers and has a great flavor. I get mine from Emergency Essentials, LLC online. They also have a lot of freeze dried foods, etc.

  5. Elizabeth |

    I have always bought Triscuits thinking they were healthy. I have recently been doing research concerning GMOs and have found that soybeans are one of the highest percentage of GMO produced food. Triscuits have soybean oil in them and because it’s not organic I think it’s probably a GMO. So, I am disappointed to say that I will no longer be eating triscuits. What is your opinion on the subject of GMOs and do you avoid them?

    Thank you for your blog. It’s really brought the issue of our chemically laced food out to the public. We do have a say and we do have power – purchasing power!

  6. BJC |

    Hi

    Please help I am a newbie from Scotland, I am trying to improve on an already healthy but extremely low fat diet, (previous weight issues leading to hospitalised for a few months. We have Nakd bars in the Uk, what is your take on them??
    Any help is gratefully appreciated.

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hi there. I am not really familiar with those bars. The ingredient list is very short which is great. The only thing that concerns me is that here in the states, “natural flavors” is very undefined and we can never be sure what it means. Maybe call the company and have them define the term for you? ~Amy

    • Jenn |

      Hey BJC! I’m in the UK too and I’ve tried the Nakd bars and had a terrible reaction to them. It was when I had been on the real food diet for quite a while and my digestion and overall health was fantastic. As soon as I had a Nakd bar, I got an immediate headache and became dizzy, later on I started having palpitations and became really bloated. Then at the end of the day I threw up a load of ACID!!!! I have absolutely no idea what is included in their ‘natural flavouring’ but whatever it is it is definitely not healthy! I personally have a lot of sensitivities to different things so Im not saying this will happen to you, but as it is gluten dairy and wheat free and is made of only fruit and nuts, the only thing I can point to is the mysterious natural flavouring. I did think the yummy taste of them was too good to be true; the rhubarb and custard one tasted like custard despite being made of only dates and raisins, something’s fishy!

  7. Jennifer |

    I thought reduced fat milk was a no-no. In the picture above, the boxed Horizon milk says “Reduced Fat”. Should I be confused? Because I am!

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hi Jennifer. This was an exception for “convenience foods”. This was also an early post. Triscuits are also something Lisa no longer buys because of the refined oil.

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