Prevention’s 2021 Wholesome Meals Awards
Prevention’s 2021 Healthy Food Awards – Top Packaged Foods
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Jun 8, 2021
Each year, truckloads of new food products find their way to shelves near you, but which healthy eats are the keepers? Enter: The Prevention Test Kitchen staff, who gallantly read hundreds of nutrition labels and selflessly tore into over 300 packages with this set of nutritional criteria:
- Made with real, recognizable ingredients
- No trans fats or hydrogenated oils
- Made with minimal amounts of sodium and added sugar
At the end of all that eating, they came up with 50+ winners that deserve a place in their discerning pantries, refrigerators, and freezers—and yours.
Organic Gluten Free Smoothie Bowl Superfood Granola
While many granolas are loaded with added refined sugars, this gets its light sweetness from freeze-dried fruit and minimally processed coconut sugar.
Best Milk Alternative
Organic Almond Coconut Milk (6-Pack)
Calling all latte lovers: This dairy-free milk frothed well for morning coffees and serves up 20% of your daily calcium per serving.
Best Gluten-Free Bread
Cinnamon Raisin Bread
While gluten-free breads can lack in texture, this loaf was a real winner, especially when toasted. Serve slices with a drizzle of nut butter for a breakfast packed with fiber.
Blackberry Dairy-Free Drinkable Yogurt
This cashew-based beverage, full of flavor and live active cultures, is dairy-free—so even those with sensitivities can get a delicious digestive boost.
Best Flavored Waffle
Mixed Berry & Almond Frozen Mini Waffles
Kid and adult tasters alike devoured these waffles, with little pockets of real-fruit jam that add a nice sweetness. When toasted, their nutty flavor really shines.
Best Frozen Fruit
Passion Fruit Bite-Sized Pieces
Stock your freezer with these one-ingredient chunks of passion fruit puree to add brightness, and 23% of your daily vitamin C, to morning smoothies. Fresh tip: You can also use as ice cubes to brighten sparkling water.
Best Egg Alternative
Inspired By India Sous Vide Egg Bites
Made from mung beans and flavored with curry, coconut milk, and lemongrass, the texture of these bites rivals real eggs. Heat them in a toaster oven for a light, fluffy, and hearty vegan breakfast.
Best Breakfast Bar
Banana Nut Breakfast Bars
These gluten-free bars taste just like banana bread and are a super-filling bite for on-the-go breakfasts.
Pasture-Raised Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Cheese Egg Bites
Tasters loved the classic combo of tomato, basil, and mozzarella in these on-the-go breakfast bites. Heat in the microwave in only 45 seconds for a protein- and calcium-rich meal.
Best Protein Bar
Lupini Bean Cashew Ginger Pumpkin Seed Protein Bars
These 5-ingredient bars are made with lupini beans, which are a complete protein and a great source of fiber. The addition of ground ginger and pumpkin seeds gives them vibrant fall flavor.
Stash these boxes of ethically sourced coffee in your fridge for a quick morning pick-me-up.
Rad Raspberry Power Bites
Without a Trace
We loved the soft texture of these allergen-friendly bites paired with a hint of crunch from chia seeds, a good vegetarian source of omega-3s.
Sprouted Coconut Sugar & Spice Instant Oatmeal
One Degree Organic Foods
Fragrant cardamom and cinnamon add extra warmth to a cozy bowl of these spouted oats (great for nutrient absorption!), which get a caramel-like sweetness from coconut sugar.
Best Plain Waffle
GO Frozen Vanilla Buttermilk Protein Waffles
With 13 grams of protein per serving, these whole-grain waffles are an excellent vehicle for any topping, sweet or savory, and have enough flavor to snack on plain.
Organic Sprouted Power Oat So Lovely Bread
Silver Hills Bakery
With 21 grams of whole grains per slice, this loaf also serves up plenty of nutrients, including selenium, an antioxidant important for immunity support.
Organic Asian Style Pork & Veggie Meatballs
These meatballs, made with humanely raised pork, organic brown rice, and carrots, deliver 1/4 cup of veggies per serving.
New Zealand King Wood Roasted New Zealand Beech Smoked Salmon
Keep these smoked fillets of sustainably raised salmon on hand to easily add a boost of protein to salads, pastas, grain bowls, and more.
Best Vegan Fish
Plant-Based Thai Style Fish Cakes
Tasters enjoyed these vegan cakes for their flaky fish-like texture and delicate spice that also serve up a big dose of iron, a mineral important to maintain energy levels.
Best Vegan Chicken
Lemon & Herb Pieces
With 13 g of protein and no cholesterol, these soy-based pieces are perfect to add to stir-fries, sautes, and more.
Best Tinned Fish
Mackerel in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
These very versatile wild-caught fillets are packed with protein and omega-3s. Flake over salads or pasta, or top toast with these fish for a hearty, easy meal.
Best Prepared Meal
Plant-Based Sausage & Peppers Bing
A bing is a crispy, stuffed crepe-like flatbread; it’s a popular Chinese street food. Find these in the freezer section, filled with a vegan take on the ballpark favorite.
Best Meal Makers and Side Dishes
Best Pasta Alternative
Hearts of Palm Linguine
Hearts of palm, the core of a palm tree, make for an excellent sub to wheat noodles. Simply rinse and toss with sauce for a simple supper that also serves up calcium, fiber, and potassium.
Best Pizza Crust
Plain Chickpea Pizza Crust
This crust, made of chickpeas, offers a dose of protein that other bases don’t have. Bake with your favorite toppings for a crunchy, fiber-packed, gluten-free pie.
Best Frozen Grain
Southwest Mango Quinoa Blend
Path of Life
Big pieces of mango give this easy-to-prep grain blend a tropical sweetness, and black beans, corn, and poblano peppers add heartiness.
Best Prepared Vegetable
If you don’t have time to prepare fresh veggies, reach for a bag of these convenient charred slices that serve up all the flavor without any added sodium.
Best Boxed Pasta
Parmesan & Herb Vegan Sauce & Pasta
In a pinch this vegan pasta, serving up 25% of your daily iron, will satisfy the whole family.
Best Flavored Vegetable
Curried Riced Cauliflower Cups (6-Pack)
Cauliflower and seasonings come together in a vitamin C-packed side or dinner starter. Top with a fried egg or sautéed chickpeas for a meal in minutes.
Best Sauces, Condiments, and Toppers
Best Vegan Mayonnaise
Avocado Oil Mayo
Spread a thin layer of this 6-ingredient condiment onto sandwiches or use as the base of a dressing to add tangy, rich (and vegan!) flavor.
Marinate proteins in this slightly spicy sauce, made with basil, parsley, and fresh jalapeños, for a super fast and flavorful dinner.
Best Spicy Condiment
Even the tiniest of drizzles packs a huge punch of flavor, thanks to three types of chiles, crunchy shallots, and bold garlic. Try on eggs for a low-sodium, high spice boost.
Best Simmer Sauce
Thai Coconut Sauce
Kevin’s Natural Foods
Sauté veggies and a protein (like chicken, beef, or tofu) with this lemongrass, coconut, and lime-scented simmer sauce for a hearty (and speedy!) dinner.
Spicy Kimchi Relish
Add this fermented relish to your dinner routine, on sandwiches, folded into omelets, or on the side of proteins, for a gut-boosting serving of probiotics, which aid digestion.
Best Drizzling Sauce
Went To Hong Kong Everything Sauce
This Little Goat
A balanced combination of soy sauce, ginger, and mustard makes this sauce a savory addition to any dish, from rice to roasted vegetables.
Best Salad Topper
Falafel Mighty Lil’ Lentils
These legumes, seasoned with dried spices and a hint of heat, offer 5 grams each of plant-based protein and fiber per serving. Tasters used them like croutons to top salads and soups for a big hit of crunch.
Best Pasta Sauce
Organic Vodka Sauce
A mix of ten organic vegetables, like sweet potato, squash, and mushrooms, ensures that this fresh-flavored tomato sauce is packed with nutrients, including 20% of your daily vitamin A.
Best Sandwich Condiment
Grillo’s Pickle De Gallo, Medium, Thick & Chunky
Freshly chopped pickles mixed with habaneros and jalapeños make a lightly spiced relish-meets-salsa great for topping sandwiches or scooping up with tortilla chips.
Best Lentil Snack
Red Lentil Sour Cream Onion Crunchions (Pack of 3)
Introducing the good-for-you alternative to onion snacks: These baked legume and veggie bites are a source of both iron and calcium.
Buffalo Ranch Hummus
Smooth, rich, and a touch spicy, this spread reminded tasters of their favorite game-day dip. Serve with sliced veggies and pita chips for a winning snack.
Plant Based Chesapeake Bay Crisps (Pack of 12)
These crunchy, airy crisps, made from yuca, mushrooms, and onions, pack a savory, satisfying flavor. And with 25 pieces per serving, you can go back for more (and more).
Best Corn Snack
Heirloom Jalapeno Cheddar Crunchies (Pack of 3)
Pipcorn prides itself on utilizing heirloom corn to make delicious and environmentally-friendly snacks. These baked crisps, with a hint of spice, are the newest to their lineup and serve up 20% of your daily iron.
Pineapple Sparkling Water (Pack of 24)
Made with real fruit juice, this two-ingredient can is the ideal thirst quencher.
Golden Goodness Sprouted Almonds (Pack of 2)
These coated nuts, tossed in a craveable combo of turmeric, onion powder, and nutritional yeast, are sprouted, giving your body a head start in absorbing key nutrients and antioxidants.
Synergy Sacred Life Kombucha (6 Pack)
If you’ve never tried kombucha, this bottle is a great place to start: Fresh ginger and blue spirulina (a type of algae) give the probiotic beverage its spiced flavor and vibrant color.
3-Pepper Chip-Cut Pickle Snack Pack (Pack of 12)
While many pickles are loaded with added sugars, these slightly spicy slices contain only 2 grams.
Best Single-Serve Dip
Plant Based Queso Style Dip
This single-serve cauliflower-based dip, perfect for lunchboxes, snack time, or picnics, packs a decent dose of fiber and a rich and spicy flavor. Bonus: It’s vegan!
85% Dark Bar
This antioxidant-rich single-origin bar has a seriously creamy texture and dark, bold, and chocolatey flavor.
Best Frozen Dessert
Blueberry Oat Crumble Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
Each pint boasts a bright blueberry swirl and chunks of spiced oatmeal streusel that make your taste buds feel like they’re diving into a home-baked treat.
Grain Free Mexican Wedding Cookies
At six cookies per serving, these crisp cinnamon-spiced almond-flour and pecan bites with a classic powdered sugar coating are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Chocolate Chip Rice Crispy Treats (3 Boxes)
Blake’s Seed Based
Flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds add crunch and elevate these desserts beyond the nostalgic treats from childhood.
Best Creamy Dessert
Lemon Tart Creme Dessert
Oui by Yoplait
These jars get their tart lemon flavor from citrus puree and serve 8% of your daily calcium per serving.
Best Flavored Chocolate
Organic Dark Chocolate Tart Cherry Snacking Squares (Pack of 2)
Tasters were satisfied after one square—1/3 of the serving size—of this rich dark chocolate studded with pieces of chewy cherry.
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