Top Picks

The 2017 Eat This, Not That! Food Awards

This is your aisle-by-aisle supermarket guide for weight loss and better health.

Top Picks

The 2017 Eat This, Not That! Food Awards

This is your aisle-by-aisle supermarket guide for weight loss and better health.

The modern American supermarket is an assault on the senses — the bright lights, the colors, the music, the boulangerie and fromagerie and pit barbecue. And, ah the scents…of fresh-baked bread and pastries, steaks sizzling, and turkeys cooking. Grocery stores have become restaurants, with broad offerings of cooked-to-order meals and hot buffet bars.

And then you get into the jungle, the bowels of the store, where the aisles are stacked high with boxes, cans, and bottles declaring “healthy,” “natural,” and “gluten-free.” If you read all the nutrition labels to analyze the food to make the best choice, you’d spend three hours shopping.

That’s why we created the Eat This, Not That! Food Awards, our annual list of best groceries for you and your family. We spent days in the supermarkets reading those labels, buying the foods and bringing them back to the office to taste (and popping lots of Tums) so you won’t have to.

To eat great, lose weight, and avoid the sugar and calorie catastrophes lurking on grocery store shelves, follow our aisle-by-aisle EAT THIS! list.

Quick Meal Makers

1. Hip Chick Farms Organic Chicken Fingers

(2 pieces): 200 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 15 g protein

Nice crunchy crust just like if you made it at home. Made from organic chicken breast raised without hormones or antibiotics.

2. Peace Cereal Maple Wheat & Rye Flakes

(¾ cup): 180 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (8 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 5 g protein

Low-sugar, high-protein, whole-grain flakes.

3. Victoria Chef Collection Gourmet Pasta Meal Penne Marinara

(1 cup): 210 calories, 6 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 760 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (4 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 5 g protein

Just dump in a pan and heat: The penne pasta is right inside the the sauce jar.

4. Grainful Jambalaya

(1 meal): 270 calories, 11 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 470 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (5 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 11 g protein

A spicy creole meal made with steel-cut oats instead of rice. It might seem small, but it’s enough to keep you full for hours.

5. Caulipower Veggie Pizza

(½ pie): 310 calories, 14 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 500 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 10 g protein

Cruciferous vegetables make up the crust of this gluten-free frozen pizza.

6. Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray

(⅓ sec spray): 0 calories, <1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein

Use for baking, broil and stir frying, this buttery flavored oil has a 500˚F smoke point.

7. Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo

(1 Tbsp): 100 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein

Made with eggs from cage-free hens, this sandwich condiment is high in heart-healthy fatty acids.

8. Mann’s Nourish Bowls, Southwest Chipotle

(1 container): 220 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 680 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (9 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 11 g protein

This vegetarian bowl will warm up your taste buds with the delicious blend of cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, and packs an 11-gram protein punch from a southwestern-inspired blend of veggies and beans.

9. Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders

(2 tenders): 100 calories, 4.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 8 g protein

Looking for a vegetarian alternative to chicken nuggets? Don’t miss these soy-based tenders coated in a blend of seven ancient grains.

10. Primal Essence Chipotle Chili Coconut Oil

(1 Tbsp): 130 calories, 14 g fat (12.8 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein

This blend of organic extra-virgin coconut oil and pure chipotle extract is the perfect fat to cook your chicken in on fajita night.

11. Pamela’s Gluten-Free Protein Pancake Mix

(¼ cup dry mix): 140 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 5 g protein

Makeover your breakfast with these protein-packed pancakes made with nutrient-rich sprouted grains.

12. Modern Table Meals, Cheddar Broccoli

(1 cup): 340 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 610 mg sodium, 64 g carbs (5 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 19 g protein

You read that right — there’s a whopping 19 grams of protein in this red-lentil-based pasta.

13. Pasta Lensi Black Bean Pasta

(⅔ cup dry): 200 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (10 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 12 g protein

Instead of wheat, Pasta Lensi uses black bean flour to make their Sedani-style pasta that’s packed with 40 percent of your daily recommended intake of fiber per serving.

14. FAWEN Drinkable Soup, Broccoli & Cauliflower

(8 fl oz): 60 calories, 2.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 360 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 2 g protein

Here’s a simple way to fit in nearly three servings of veggies: drink soup! FAWEN contains 16 vitamins and minerals and is made with whole organic vegetables to retain some fiber.

Chips

1. Skinny POP Popcorn Mini Cakes, Cinnamon & Sugar

(About 22 mini cakes): 120 calories, 3.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (4 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein

Still popcorn but easier to stuff in your mouth.

2. G.H.Cretors Organic Popped Corn, Dill Pickle

(about 3 cups): 150 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 270 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Bold vinegar flavor makes this feather-light treat seem more filling. If Dill Pickle isn’t your thing, G.H.Cretors packages the same popcorn in flavors like “Just the Cheese,” “Chile Jalapeno White Cheddar,” and our personal favorite “Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.”

3. Annie Chun’s Organic Seaweed Snacks, Wasabi

(10 sheets): 25 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein

Light and spicy snack chips that stick to your teeth, not your ribs.

4. SIETE Grain Free Tortilla Chips, Lime

(9 chips): 140 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

We’ve been rooting for these chips made from cassava root since we first tasted them.

5. Dang Sticky-Rice Chips, Sriracha

(1 oz): 140 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein

The coconut chip snack maker expands into Asian-inspired sticky-rice chips with a chili bite.

6. SkinnyPOP Popcorn, Butter

(4.5 cups, popped): 120 calories, 5 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein

Now you can pop your own Skinny POP at home right in this box.

7. QUINN Classic Gluten-Free Sea Salt Pretzels

(33 pretzels): 110 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

After a couple pretzel sticks, you won’t believe you’ve been munching on a gluten-free snack this whole time. Plus, you can have a huge serving for only 110 calories. It doesn’t get much better.

8. Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

(2-¼ cups): 150 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 310 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 3 g protein

That’s right: real cheddar cheese provides the cheesy flavor for this low-cal snack.

9. Mustache Munchies Cheddarish Vegan & Gluten Free Crackers

(55 crackers): 150 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 4 g protein

Even non-vegans will enjoy these cheesy snacks made from chickpea flour.

10. Garden of Eatin’ Organic Nacho Corn Tortilla Chips, Creamy Farmhouse Cheddar

(11 chips): 130 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (2 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 2 g protein

That classic nacho chip just got an organic makeover. And, yes, these taste exactly like the ones you’re thinking of.

11. HIPPEAS Organic Chickpea Puffs, Maple Haze

(1 oz): 130 calories, 5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 700 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 3 g protein

These lightly sweet chickpea puffs have a savoury edge that make this the perfect crave-crushing snack.

12. The Little Kernel Mini Popcorn, Sweet & Salty

(1 oz): 150 calories, 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein

Now you don’t have to choose between sweet and salty — just have both!

High-Protein Meal Replacements

1. Vega Plant-Based Protein Shake, Chocolate

(1 carton):170 calories, 4.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 20 g protein

A convenient no-blender way to have your plant-based protein smoothie in the morning.

2. PALEO PRO Paleo Recovery Powder

(1 scoop): 139 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 8 g protein

There’s no whey or soy in this protein mix. Egg white protein and sweet potatoes deliver nutrients for post-workout muscle repair.

3. Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze, Maple Pear Quinoa

(1 pouch): 90 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 2 g protein

There’s no easier way to pack your morning oatmeal in the palm of your hand.

4. Abs Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix, Chocolate Chip

(1 scoop):170 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (7 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 25 g protein

For pancake lovers who just can’t stomach all those carbs.

5. Nomva Tropicarrot Probiotic Super Smoothie

(1 pack): 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (4 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 1 g protein

Squeeze fruit, fiber and 5 billion probiotics into your mouth on the way to work.

6. MetaBall, Apple Pie

(1 container):220 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (2 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 10 g protein

A workout snack that eats like candy but delivers plant-based protein and whole-grain energy.

Healthy Snacks

1. Sunbutter Sunflower Butter, No Sugar Added

(2 Tbsp): 210 calories, 18g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 130 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (3 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 7 g protein

This is what we like to see in nut butters: no added sugars.

2. Larabar Fruits + Greens, Pineapple Kale Cashew

(1 bar): 130 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (3 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 2 g protein

A tasty and satisfying way to get more greens (in this case, kale) into your diet.

3. Laughing Giraffe Organics Aztec Chocolate Snakaroons

(2 pieces): 140 calories, 10 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 1 g protein

Warning: Deliciously decadent, and you must stop at two pieces.

4. Sunkist True Fruit Clusters, Pineapple Crunch

(¼ cup): 35 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein

A crisp, whole apple is always a better choice, but at 35 calories this crunchy snack might be the only fruit you kids will eat.

5. Organic Farming Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread

(2 Tbsp): 190 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 3 g protein

Yes, it’s organic, but it’s still high in calories. Fortunately, you don’t need much to enjoy the chocolate flavor.

6. Kashi Chewy Nut Butter Bars, Almond Snicker-doodle

(1 bar): 150 calories, 8 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 115 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 3 g protein

The healthful almond butter in this bar lends legitimacy to the Snickerdoodle cookie.

7. Sola Bar Jalapeno

(1 bar): 175 calories, 13 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 168 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (5 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 6 g protein

The first four ingredients listed are nuts and seeds. Nice. The pepper here delivers a kick.

Sweets

1. Sambazon Superfruit Acai Bites

(1 piece): 50 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein

It’s hard to beat this chilly dark-chocolate treat that’s so light in calories.

2. Enlightened, The Good-for-You Ice Cream, Frozen Hot Cocoa

(½ cup): 90 calories, 2.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (5 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 6 g protein

Of all the protein-rich ice creams our testers sampled, they liked this flavor best.

3. JC’s Pie Bites, Key Lime Coated Truffles

(4 pieces): 170 calories, 8 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 2 g protein

Smooth ganache coated in a pecan and graham cracker crust.

4. Artisan Kettle Organic Bittersweet 55% Cacao Chocolate Chips

(1 Tbsp): 80 calories, 4.5 g fat (3 g saturated), 25 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 1 g protein

Add these bittersweet organic dark chocolate chips to your next batch of cookies.