I constantly get texts with a screen shot of a nutrition label or ingredient lists always accompanied by the same question, “Is this healthy?” The overwhelming and endless options at the supermarket along with confusing health claims and deceptive marketing strategies make it almost impossible to shop smart and make informed food choices. To help sort through the chaos and onslaught of “healthy” claims I decided to create a Pretty Nutritious badge.
The Pretty Nutritious badge will uncomplicated healthy eating by allowing you to quickly identify foods that adhere to my four nutrition core values:
- Real whole foods with ingredients that you could conceivably have in your kitchen.
- Simple food label with few ingredients.
- Delicious foods that pack a nutritious punch leaving you feeling your best and empowered.
- Easy and compatible with the busy flow of life.
5 Foods that have earned the Pretty Nutritious Badge
In my opinion beef jerky is pretty darn tasty, but most store bought jerkies get a bad reputation because they can pack as much as 600 mg of sodium (in 1 oz), contain sketchy artificial flavors, nitrates, preservatives and MSG. The New Primal Grass-Feed Beef Jerky is quite the opposite from your typical gas station junk food. It is low in sodium (as low as 6 % of the DV), low in sugar (sweetened with pineapple juice and a touch of honey), packed with protein and free of nasty nitrates and MSG. The good news doesn’t stop here. This all-natural jerky is delicious and offers a variety of flavors from, classic to cilantro lime and habanero pineapple.
Obsessed is an understatement (especially with the chilly lime and hot pepper flavors). Brami beans are simple and pack a nutritional punch that makes them a staple in my kitchen. They have more protein and fiber per calorie than other beans and nuts and almost 3 times more calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc than natural electrolyte enhancer, coconut water. These little beans also have quadruple the amount of cholesterol lowering fiber compared to heart healthy oats, provide 35% more folate than almonds and are a more complete plant protein than chickpeas. Although you probably haven’t heard of Lupini beans they have a nutrition profile to be jealous of! They are the perfect snacking food with a resalable package and are non-GMO, gluten free, low fat, low GI, soy free, and vegan friendly.
Would you serve your kids dessert for breakfast? Of course not! You probably think that because you aren’t giving them cookies, cake or candy you are safe, but a recent report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that many kids cereals are a complete nutrition disaster packing in more sugar than Chips Ahoy! Most kid cereals exceed the daily amount of recommended sugar by a whooping 60%. And what troubles me the most is that nutrition is one of the most important factors in a child’s development but kids cereal contains 40% more sugar than adult cereal. Luckily there are brands out there like Back to the Roots making truly delicious whole grain cereals made with 3-4 four ingredients and only 4 grams of sugar. In addition to this Back to the roots is the first “no-bag-in-box” cereal; by doing this they used 18% less paper and 25% less plastic. Talk about responsible packaging!
Satisfying your sweet tooth shouldn’t cost you your waistline. Chocolate, if consumed in the right way should not be considered candy, it should be treated as a nutritional secret weapon. Dark chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants. Unlike that commercial highly processed milk chocolate bar at your pharmacy checkout, which is lacking polyphenol powers and loaded with sugar EatingEolved Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups are made with only 6 ingredients and 6 grams of sugar! On top of that it is dairy free, soy free, and works in both paleo and vegan diets. Once you try the dark chocolate a couple of times your taste buds will learn to love it and it will fully satisfy your chocolate cravings while protecting your heart and reducing stress.
Crackers with hummus is one of my go-to snacks. I also love adding crackers to my salads or soups. The problem with crackers is that they can become addictive and unfortunately not all crackers are created equal. Many claim to be made with whole wheat, but appearances lie and often these bite size snacks are sodium bombs made with nutrient stripped grains and unrecognizable ingredients. Processed and fast digesting starches are certainly not Pretty Nutritious. Lucky you, Mary’s Gone Crackers meet my nutritional criteria and will satisfy your crispy snack cravings. One serving of Mary’s crackers packs 400 mg of cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Also, these low calorie crackers are crafted from good-for you whole food ingredients like whole grain brown rice, whole grain quinoa, flax seed and sesame seed.