In March, I got to attend ExpoWest, a trade show for natural, organic, and healthy foods from all over the world (imagine a giant Whole Foods on steroids–and you get to sample everything!) The following new products, most of which are already in select stores or sold online, are my favorites for their combination of superior nutrition and taste.
From the company: “GFBs are crafted in small batches to achieve a taste and texture that other bars cannot match.”
My Nutrition Take: The Gluten Free Bar is free from more than just gluten: it’s vegan, dairy-free, casein-free, additive free, cholesterol free, preservative free, and trans fat-free. It’s also high in protein (with 11-13 grams per bar) and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (vegan, of course). GFBs stand out for their simplicity (which, in the world of snack bars, is a good thing): they use real, whole, and unprocessed ingredients like california almonds, organic roasted peanuts, dates, certified gluten free oats, and golden flaxseed. And unlike other gluten free bars, GFBs don’t use fillers and additives to make up for a lack of texture and flavor.
Nutritional Info: 220-240 calories, 6-10 grams of fat, 2-3.5 grams of fiber, and 11-13 grams of protein
Taste: The bars come in four flavors: Cranberry + Toasted Almond, Peanut Butter + Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Oatmeal + Raisin; each tastes like a denser, chewier, and heartier version of a cookie. While I always advocate snacking on whole, unprocessed foods, GFBs are a healthy choice when you’re on the run or traveling.
From the company: “Path of Life manufactures the best organic and natural foods, prepares them to exceptional taste standards, then packages them to meet the lifestyles of today’s health-conscious individuals and families who are busy following their own paths— and know that good, nourishing foods are important for the journey.”
My Nutrition Take: Path of Life’s Side Dishes, which come in steamable bags, are at the top of the frozen meals market. Unlike other frozen meals that use excess sodium, preservatives, and unpronounceable ingredients, the Side Dishes use only ingredients that you’d use to make the same dish at home. The Lemon, Spinach, and Artichoke Quinoa, for example, contains cooked white quinoa, cooked red quinoa, artichoke, spinach, olive oil, garlic, thyme, sea salt, black pepper, and lemon juice concentrate–nothing else. These Side Dishes (which could also substitute as a meal; just add a salad) are perfect for on-the-go parents, workers, and students who don’t have time to throw together a homemade quinoa salad. And as a bonus for the consumer and environment alike, the ingredients come from farmers who use sustainable farming methods and don’t grow GMOs.
Nutritional Info: (per cup): 130-210 calories, 6-7 grams of fat, 2-3 grams of fiber, 0-1 grams of sugar, and 3-5 grams of protein
Taste: The Quinoa Side Dishes come in four flavors: Lemon, Spinach, and Artichoke Quinoa; Mediterranean Quinoa with Feta Cheese; Southwest Quinoa with Lime, Cilantro and Mango; and Quinoa with Brown Rice. Each tastes like a homemade versions of quinoa salad–and there’s no evidence of these having sat in your freezer for weeks!
Where to buy: Keep an eye out for Path of Life Steamable Side Dishes this Fall!
From the company: “At Tolerant, we take organically grown natural legumes and make delicious organic red lentil (or black bean) rotini loaded with goodies.”
My Nutrition Take: Tolerant Foods pastas are made with just one ingredient–black beans or red lentils–but they still taste like your favorite noodles. As far as pasta alternatives go, these are one of the best on the market: because they’re made with legumes, as opposed to processed wheat, they’re high in protein and fiber and have a low glycemic index. Essentially, you’re getting the nutrition of a plate of black beans or red lentils with the taste of pasta–a great tradeoff for pasta lovers! Compared to regular pasta, Tolerant Foods has five times more fiber and twice as much protein, making Tolerant Foods pastas a more satiating choice.
Nutritional Info (per 85 grams, of about 1.5 cups cooked): 320 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 15 grams of fiber, 22 grams of protein
Taste: Both the Black Bean and Red Lentil flavors taste and feel like regular pasta; and like regular pasta, they’ll mostly take on the flavor of your sauce.
Where to buy: Look for Tolerant Foods in Whole Foods and Wegman’s.
From the company: “Ultra-Dense Breakfast Boost supplies generous quantities of naturally present vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein…Perfect for smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, pancakes, applesauce, and more!”
My Nutrition Take: NuDeFood Breakfast Boosts come in small, single-serve packaging, making them perfect for a nutritious-conscious traveler. If you usually add things like chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, or cinnamon to your breakfasts (oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, etc.) but can’t carry them with you (whether you’re in the airport or hiking Machu Picchu), Breakfast Boosts fill the gap. They’re also great to have on hand when you’re eating something that just doesn’t fit your nutritional needs (if your cereal doesn’t have enough fiber, if your smoothie doesn’t have enough protein, or if your pancakes were made with white flour instead of whole wheat flour, for example). Each tablespoon adds six grams of heart-healthy fat, 3.5 grams of fiber, and 4.5 grams of protein. The ingredients aren’t processed, either: they’re ingredients you’d find in your own pantry or fridge, like California almonds, sunflower seeds, golden flaxseeds, and cinnamon.
Nutritional info (per package; 1.2 ounces): 170-210 calories, 12-16 grams of fat, 5-7 grams of fiber, 0-8 grams of sugar, 7-9 grams of protein
Taste: NuDe Breakfast Boosts come in three flavors. Original Spirulina has a mildly nutty taste; Antioxidant Berry Blend mixes tart with nutty, and Coconut Pecan Probiotic Blend has a sweeter coconut taste.
From the company: “We source the highest quality organic & wildcrafted fair trade ingredients for all of our recipes…High ORAC antioxidant rating; boosts energy and vitality.”
My Nutrition Take: Superfood Snacks are small energy bites made with organic and raw ingredients that you’ve probably seen on superfood lists: goji berries, maca root powder, walnuts, schisandra berries, reishi mushrooms, and green algae, to name a few. The bites are energy-dense, but they’re a great pick for an afternoon pick-me-up or to appease a sweet tooth (these are a much healthier choice than a fun-size Snickers bar).
Nutritional info (per bite): 55 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 4.5 grams of sugar, and 1.5 grams of protein
Taste: Superfood Snacks comes in four flavors: Brazilian Chocolate Ecstasy, Chocolate Cherry Qi, Chocolate Goji Treats, and Green Chocolate Dream. Their taste and texture resemble a chocolate truffle, but with a little more zing, thanks to interesting ingredients like cayenne pepper and Himalayan sea salt.
Where to buy: Superfood Snacks can be purchased online.
Thanks to Jessica, Christian and Vicky from Patafoods for hosting me; and thanks to all the vendors for all of the samples!