Best Real Food Product Awards

A while ago, before the world started shutting down, I saw a feature in People Magazine where they chose the best (i.e. their favorite) food products for a bunch of different categories. And, no real big surprise, but most of them were highly processed—UGH—no real food products!

So I’ve got the perfect remedy for that issue. We’ll just make our own “awards” for the Best Real Food Products in stores these days. Not at all sponsored, just items we truly like and buy ourselves. A great list to pull from next time you’re restocking your kitchen!

Best Real Food Products collage on 100 days of real food.

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How these items were chosen:

  1. The ingredients are as close to our real food rules as possible.
  2. Best taste/texture/etc.

Best Real Food Product Awards

Best Salsa

Trader Joe’s Green Salsa
This is great to go with tacos and to also cook with (like in this Slow Cooker Green Salsa Chicken recipe).

Trader Joe's salsa verde

Best (Ready) Rice

Simple Truth Organic Brown Rice
Their brown rice mix with quinoa and garlic powder is good for something different as well!

Simple truth organic brown rice

Best Ramen

Lotus Organic Brown Rice Ramen
These are 100% whole grain and tasty! We don’t use the spice packets.

Lotus organic brown rice ramen

Best Pasta

Grand Mere Whole-Wheat Egg Noodles
These taste almost homemade! A much better texture than standard store bought noodles.

Grand Mere whole-wheat egg noodles

Best Yogurt

Stonyfield or Organic Valley Plain Yogurt
Always best to buy plain and flavor it yourself.

stonyfield or organic valley plain yogurt

Best Hummus

Trader Joe’s Organic Plain Hummus
Fairly clean ingredients and organic.

Trader Joe's organic plain hummus

Best Crackers

Thin Triscuits
The texture of these is far superior to the normal Triscuits, in my opinion!

Thin Triscuits

Best Pitas

Trader Joe’s Whole-Wheat
These are 100% whole-grain and freeze beautifully so I stock up whenever I can.

Trader Joe's whole-wheat pita bread

Best Peanut Butter

Whole Foods Organic Creamy Peanut Butter (unsweetened & no salt)
I usually like the 1-ingredient grind-your-own, but it’s currently no longer available!

Whole foods organic creamy peanut butter

Best Flour

King Arthur White Whole-Wheat (for baking) or Bob’s Red Mill Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
Both are a little hard to find at the moment (sadly).

King Arthur White Whole-Wheat and  Bob's Red Mill Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour

Best Popcorn

LesserEvil Organic Popcorn with Himalayan Pink Salt
Available at Whole Foods and Amazon. We also buy and like Boom Chica Pop and Skinnypop brand as well.

LesserEvil Organic Popcorn with Himalayan Pink Salt

Best Snack Bar

My current favorite is the peanut butter cookie flavor.


Best Pretzels

Unique Sprouted “Splits” Pretzel Original
Available at Fresh Market and Amazon.

Unique Sprouted "Splits" Pretzel Original

Best Whole Grain Bread

Ezekiel (by Food for Life) or check your local bakery
This is a good choice for plain whole-grain bread, but we also really like their cinnamon raisin version as well.

Ezekiel (by Food for Life)

BONUS: Not 100% Real But Still The Best Options

Best Macaroni and Cheese

Annie's Shells & White Cheddar with Whole Grains

Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar with Whole Grains
They used to have one that is 100% whole-grain, but it was replaced by this version. It’s mostly whole-grain, but not 100%. Available at Target and Whole Foods.

Best Graham Crackers

Annie's Homegrown Organic Honey Graham Crackers

Annie’s Homegrown Organic Honey Graham Crackers
Note these are not 100% whole-grain!

Best Mainstream Cereal

Definitely not perfect, but whole grain and my children (and their friends) will actually eat it.


I hope this helps you find some new things to try. What categories did I leave off this list that you’d like to see next?

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16 thoughts on “Best Real Food Product Awards”

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  1. Could you give some clarity as to why you find Cheerios and Graham crackers real food? When you first began these were a big no no. Not trying to be mean, just wondering what’s changed.

    1. Hi, while we still recommend making your own cereals and crackers (along with other foods), these were chosen because they were as close to the real food rules, taste and texture were good, and most people have access to these products. – Nicole

  2. Have to say I agree with some of the other commenters.This blog has seemed to drift away from its original real food philosophy.I thought the Cheerios on this list was a joke. Tell me how that is not a highly processed food?

  3. Some of these items are not even close to real food let alone award worthy. Cheerios?,Graham crackers? Trader Joe’s pitas? Cheerios is loaded with glysophate.Graham crackers, even organic, are empty junk calories. The last time I checked ingredients in Trader Joe’s pitas they were full of enriched flour and sugar.Some of the other items on this list have ingredients that do not meet real food criteria that you have talked about in the past. I know you said some items on this list are not perfect, but , really.

  4. Read this post a few days ago and it has been bothering me ever since. This is the blog post where you officially lost me, as you have strayed so far from Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food. The graham crackers are the kicker–in their own category of “graham crackers”! How are these not highly processed? Whatever happened to eating all the junk food you want, as long as you make it yourself? It reminds me of the way the American Heart Association was widely ridiculed for giving Lucky Charms their stamp of approval. You have taken the “5 ingredient rule” and run with it in the wrong direction. Thanks for the few recipes I use and information about grinding your own wheat. You can keep the rest.

  5. Disappointed that Stonyfield organic yogurt made the list of real food ingredients. The added D3 is synthetic. Foods, even organic foods fortified with vitamins are not good choices because the vitamins added are synthetic. These are not good for our bodies. Other than Stoneyfield, all other items look pretty good in qualifying for foods that have real food ingredients. So important to read those ingredient lists,even on organic foods like you have been teaching us for years.

  6. I agree with all of your selections except for the 365 peanut butter. I don’t like the way good peanut butter separates. We use Jif in my family for peanut butter but we buy a lot of organic produce. Thanks for the suggestions.

  7. Do take note that stonyfield does have pectin and vitamin D3 added to their yogurt. These are not good additives to have in food, especially the vitamin D3 , which is synthetic. I do like the organic valley grass milk yogurt though, it has no additives. My only complaint with organic valley is it’s not 100% whole milk. It’s a mixture of whole and low fat milk.

    1. Agree. Not sure how stonyfield made the list. It doesn’t meet the real food criteria. Obviously being fortified with D3 means it has a lab made synthetic additive.Pectin is a whole other story. It adds a lot of unnecessary sugar. Do research on pectin and added vitamins and you may change your mind on consuming some of these products, even if they are organic, it doesn’t necessarily mean the ingredients are good for you.

  8. Great list! I bought a big pack of the Rice Ramen at Costco and now I’m a bit stuck with what to do with it! Can you share how you use it? I don’t need a recipe, per se.