It's hard to beat whole grains, lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables when it comes to healthy grocery store staples. This is real life, though, and we don't always have the time and energy it takes to prepare them. But, rest assured: You can find healthy, tasty, ready-to-eat foods that will make your life easier.
This guide to the healthiest convenience foods available at most grocery stores–organized into common categories–takes the guesswork out of how to fill your cart. So, grab a magazine and stroll with confidence; your shopping trip just got easier.
SweetsHalo Top Creamery 1 of 30
Why not start with dessert first? Fans far and wide are singing the praises of Halo Top Creamery . The buzz-worthy brand equals real ice cream in flavors like Red Velvet and Rainbow Swirl, with considerably fewer calories than other premium brands. The crave-able treat is also all-natural and high-protein.
SweetsOutshine Fruit & Veggie Bars 2 of 30
While they aren't low sugar, Outshine Fruit & Veggie Bars are made with fruit and veggie juices and purees. When it's challenging to get your kids to eat their much-needed antioxidants and phytonutrients, a frozen vitamin-packed treat that doesn't require you to do anything more than open a package isn't such a bad thing.
SweetsTalenti Gelato 3 of 30
Talenti Gelatos and Sorbets provide the decadent, creamy rush you crave without the multisyllabic ingredients you don't. Over thirty flavors mean there's something to satisfy any sweet tooth, and you can feel good about indulging in a treat with 30 percent less fat than regular ice cream.
SweetsKozy Shack Pudding 4 of 30
Comfort food lovers rejoice, because Kozy Shack rice pudding is a creamy and delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth for a mere 130 calories per serving. Made with reduced-fat milk, rice, sugar, eggs and salt, it's pretty darn close to what Grandma used to make.
BreakfastKashi Waffles 5 of 30
All varieties of Kashi waffles are vegan and chock full of whole grains and fiber. Choose 7-Grain, Blueberry, Gluten-Free or Cinnamon Gluten-Free, and breakfast is just a quick trip through the toaster–and maybe a drizzle of honey–away.
BreakfastBear Naked Granola 6 of 30
A great go-to breakfast or snack for athletes, Bear Naked Granola has clean ingredient lists and flavors fortified with flaxseeds. Bear in mind, however, that they aren't sugar free or low fat.
BreakfastBarbara's Puffins 7 of 30
Kids love this cereal, and it's available in several regular line and seasonal flavors. Although it's not boosted with added vitamins and minerals like many other cereals for kids, Barbara's Puffins is made with real ingredients like peanuts and organic honey.
BreakfastSilk Almond Milk 8 of 30
Whether topping cereal or served straight up, this fridge staple is a smart choice. Boasting 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk, Silk Almond Milk is also an excellent source of vitamin E. What is doesn't have is any artificial colors, gluten, lactose or soy.
BreakfastNaked Smoothies 9 of 30
There isn't always time to whip up a homemade smoothie on a busy morning. Naked's ready-to-drink varieties taste great and pack plenty of nutritional punch. The Green Machine, for example, provides 90 percent of your daily vitamin A, 70 percent of your daily vitamin C and four grams of protein.
Bread & CrackersRudi's Organic Bakery 10 of 30
Rudi's breads are free of GMOs, soy, dairy and corn syrup (however, they do contain sugar in the form of evaporated cane juice). They're available in a variety of flavors, including Nut & Oat, Cinnamon Raisin and Rocky Mountain Sourdough.
Bread & CrackersDave's Killer Bread 11 of 30
Dave's Killer Bread brings a bit of attitude to the bland health bread aisle. Made from organic wheat, seeds and dried cane syrup, it's packed with fiber, protein and Omega-3s.
Bread & CrackersBlue Diamond Nut Thins 12 of 30
When mere bread won't do, Nut Thins make the perfect partner for toppings. These baked crackers are made with good-for-you ingredients like almonds, flax seeds and rice flour. The only downside is having to choose which tempting flavor to try.
Frozen FoodsCascadian Farm Organic 13 of 30
Packaged simply with nothing added, Cascadian Farm offers single item fruits and veggies, interesting blends and trendy choices like kale and chard. The hash browns, which contain only organic potatoes, make a great base for casseroles, frittatas and veggie burgers.
Frozen FoodsBirds Eye Riced Cauliflower 14 of 30
For those cutting carbs, Birds Eye's frozen riced cauliflower is a time-saver. This pick–also available in mashed and flavored options–boosts your veggie intake and doesn't contain any artificial ingredients. It steams right in the bag, too, so cleanup's easy.
Frozen FoodsNewman's Own Frozen Pizza 15 of 30
You can feel good about the ingredients used to make Newman's Own frozen pizzas , and about the fat that all profits are donated to charity. The multigrain crust crisps well in the oven, and the part-skim mozzarella is a slightly salty, creamy topping.
Frozen FoodsAlexia Fries and Appetizers 16 of 30
If your kids love fries, you can provide a healthier at-home version baked in the oven instead of deep-fried with Alexia. Traditional fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks and more are available, and some even feature multi-grain breading.
Frozen FoodsEvol Frozen Entrees 17 of 30
It's hard to find flavorful frozen food that's also made with all recognizable ingredients, but Evol Foods fits the bill. From tempting burritos to risotto to Thai-style Curry Chicken, a healthy grab-and-go meal is ready in almost no time.
Salad DressingsAnnie's Naturals 18 of 30
Annie's pledges not to use artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives, and no genetically modified ingredients. What you're left with are good things like canola oil, whole eggs, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and garlic. In other words, things you'd use to make your own salad dressing if you had the time.
Salad DressingsBrianna's Fine Salad Dressings 19 of 30
Made with recognizable ingredients, Brianna's dressings are great on greens or as marinades and sauces. A wide range of flavors includes standards like Buttermilk Ranch, Zesty French and Italian Vinaigrette, as well as new twists like Asiago Caesar and Saucy Ginger Mandarin.
Sauces & SpreadsNewman's Own Organics Pasta Sauce 20 of 30
A lot of summer-sweet tomato flavor is packed into each jar of Newman's Own pasta sauce. Serve over whole wheat pasta, top with plenty of Parmesan cheese and you have a quick-and-easy dinner that even the pickiest eaters will devour.
Sauces & SpreadsJB's Best BBQ Sauces 21 of 30
The sweet, smoky and sometimes knock-your-socks-off-spicy sauces from JB's Best feature brown sugar, nitrate-free bacon and other real ingredients, minus the high fructose corn syrup. Try Maple Bacon, Honey Mustard or Ghost Pepper (if your taste buds are especially brave).
Sauces & SpreadsCholula Hot Sauce 22 of 30
If you like a little added flavor in your hot sauce, Cholula's varieties put a spin on the standard. Try Green Pepper, Chipotle or Chili Garlic, made with Arbol and Piquin peppers, vinegar, garlic, salt and not much else. This one's a great go-to for a tasty bang with negligible calories and zero fat.
Sauces & SpreadsJust Mayo 23 of 30
Mayo made from yellow split peas? This beloved product from Just is vegan, yes, but it has won the hearts of omnivores aplenty. Try the savory spread on your next sandwich, and your taste buds will thank you.
Sauces & SpreadsJustin's Classic Almond Butter 24 of 30
Crafted from only two simple ingredients, Justin's Classic Almond Butter is available in jars and mini-squeeze-packs that are perfect for snacking. The planet and community-conscious brand also offers plenty of additional butter flavors--and tempting candy cups, too.
Sauces & SpreadsKind Bars 25 of 30
Made with nuts, dried fruits, crisp rice, juice and non-GMO sweeteners, this anytime snack features ingredients you can pronounce. In addition to standards, more adventurous eaters will enjoy Kind's flavors like Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt, Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Chili Almond.
SnacksTribe Hummus 26 of 30
Whether you go for the classic, tahini-spiked flavor of unadorned hummus or the zesty bite of roasted garlic, Tribe Hummus has clean ingredient lists you can feel good about. Add fresh veggies for dipping and snack time doesn't get much easier.
SnacksPop Chips 27 of 30
When it's girls' night in and you're about to watch a movie on the couch, you want something crunchy and salty (before you dive into the ice cream). Pop Chips satisfy the craving and contain real ingredients like cheddar cheese, buttermilk and parsley.
SnacksBeanitos Chips 28 of 30
You won't believe Beanitos are made of beans, and they don't include preservatives, gluten, corn, trans fats or MSG. They're also gluten-free, Kosher and high in fiber. Reach for a bag when all you want it something crunchy, salty and savory, without the side order of guilt.
SnacksKrave Jerky 29 of 30
California-based Krave Jerky elevates traditional jerky with all-natural ingredients and unexpected flavor profiles. Sweet Chipotle Beef, Lemon Garlic Turkey and Black Cherry Barbeque Pork are just a few examples of the brand's gourmet, minimally processed varieties.