Every time I go to the grocery store, there are a number of staples I always like to make sure I stock up on for my fridge and pantry. Things like coffee, oil, pasta, yogurt, jerky, crackers and — you know — ice cream. (Life is sad without ice cream.) But, obviously, I want to have truly healthy versions of these staples. I’m talking minimal processing, clean ingredients lists and, of course, deliciousness.
Because I know I’m not the only one looking for cleaner versions of all those every munching staples, I decided to put together a guide to all the cleaner versions of them that I’ve been enjoying lately. Get ready to nom, nom!
Crackers: Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed Collection
Go ahead and throw all of your other crackers out. Yes, even the delicious ones with gluten. Because these new flavors from the Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed Collection are SO. GOOD. Made with sunflower, pumpkin, poppy seeds and organically grown whole grains, these crackers are wheat-free and soy-free with quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds in them. Each one-ounce serving has 450 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and every flavor of them — Seaweed & Black Sesame, Basil & Garlic, Hemp & Chia, and Everything — is delicious. Whether you have these with dip or on their own, you will not regret chomping into one (or 12).
Ice Cream: Halo Top Creamery
We’ve reviewed Halo Top Creamy before, and there’s a reason we keep mentioning them. Holy deliciousness! Made from all-natural ingredients, low in sugar and with 24 grams of protein per 300-calorie pint, these actually make for a pretty good post-workout snack. And in flavors like Birthday Cake, Chocolate Mocha Chip and Lemon Cake, there’s no shortage of flavors (don’t worry, ice cream purists — they still have basics like Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate).
Pasta: Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta
You’re probably not surprised to see a pick from Trader Joe’s on this clean staples list, huh? I simply love this stuff — and so does the rest of my fam. Gluten-free and made with only organic brown rice, organic quinoa flour and water (yes, that’s IT), I find this pasta to be a bit nuttier than regular pasta and more filling. Which I love. It stays al dente unless you, like, drastically overcook it (not that I know from experience or anything … ). Top it with your fave pasta sauce and a protein and maybe some broccoli, and you are good to go for dinner.
Protein Powder: Vega Clean Protein
We have a ton of protein powders we love. Like, a ton. See here and here. But a new one I’m digging on is Vega Clean Protein. With 25 grams of complete plant-based protein blend made from pea, hemp, alfalfa and pumpkin (yes, pumpkin!), it’s delicious, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and made without dairy or soy ingredients, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. It’s like the definition of clean. And it’s tasty!
Chips: Simply 7 Kale Chips
These aren’t kale chips in the traditional sense like these. They’re more like a potato-and-kale combo chip. And they’re kind of irresistible, especially the Dill Pickle flavor. Crunchy and zesty they’re non-GMO, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and have no artificial colors or preservatives. With a first ingredient of kale powder, these give you close to 80 percent of your daily vitamin K. And, ahem, did I mention they come in Dill Pickle flavor?
Popcorn: G.H. Cretors
I love making my own popcorn, but it’s also pretty handy to have a bag at the ready. Especially when said bag is in flavors like Organic Dill Pickle (yes, I totally have a thing for pickles), Organic Chile Jalapeño White Cheddar and Blueberry Lemon. G.H. Cretors’ new flavors are totes delicious, too, with tons of flavor. And, like the rest of their popcorns, the new flavors are naturally gluten-free and whole grain, and free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
Oil: Primal Kitchen California Extra Virgin Avocado Oil
I used to always use olive or walnut oil in my salads, but these days I’ve been switching things up with Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil and I LOVE IT. I mean, we all know avocados are amazeballs, and avocado oil has this extra rich and creamy and almost buttery quality that is, well, like an avocado. If you’ve never tried it, try it! Cold-pressed and made of 100 percent California avocados, it’s delish. (It’s now available on Thrive Market, too, which we’re an affiliate of and love.)
Coffee: Coffee So Good
They sure did name this product correctly. This coffee really is so good. Creamy and caffeinated, Coffee So Good is basically cold-brew coffee blended with raw cashew milk and other non-GMO and organic ingredients for a truly decadent morning (or afternoon!) beverage. With no preservatives or artificial flavors or concentrates, these are so fresh and come in flavors like Cashew Chai, Lavender and Mocha. Oh! And their BPA-free and phthalate-free bottles use less plastic than average 16-ounce cold-pressed juice bottles, are sourced locally, and are made from 100 percent from recycled and recyclable PET.
Jerky: Country Archer, Perky Jerky and EPIC
Okay, lots of good jerky choices these days! And they’re all gluten-free. (Which is surprisingly difficult to find in the jerky aisle sometimes.)
Country Archer has both jerky pieces and protein bars (love that), and they’re all clean and made from grass-fed beef and turkey. Free of preservatives, nitrites, gluten and MSG, you can choose from delicious foodie flavors like Sriracha Beef, Honey Dijon, Turkey Mango Habanero Beef and the Herb Citrus turkey you see above (which is my fave!).
Perky Jerky, which we’ve reviewed before, is now totally gluten-free (yay!). With no nitrates, preservatives and MSG, this is a softer and chewier jerky that’s got TONS of flavor in both turkey and beef. From Original to BBQ with Seoul to Jammin’ Jamaican, this jerky really is perky.
Last but not least of the jerky, EPIC is truly epic. I’ve been a fan for years, but its new Salmon with Maple and Dill Bites are kind of everything. With an ingredient list of wild caught salmon, maple sugar, sea salt, dill, onion powder and garlic powder, they’re ridiculously clean and also ridiculously tasty. Not overly salty for a jerky and fishy but not too fishy. They’re perfection.
Granola: Purely Elizabeth Probiotic Granola
If you love all things salty and sweet, prepare to go apesh*t over the new Purely Elizabeth Granola. I know I am. My two current faves are its Probiotic Granola in Chocolate Sea Salt that is SO GOOD IT MAKES ME ANGRY and includes GanedenBC30 — a patented vegan strain of probiotics — that has been shown to survive the baking process, and its Grain-Free Granola, which is also salty and sweet and made from a variety of yummy nuts and seeds. Both granolas are also gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and made with organic ingredients.
Pancakes: Birch Benders
You know how sometimes clean pancakes don’t come out all light and fluffy like non-clean pancakes? Yeah, me, too. But Birch Benders are organic, trans fat-free and non-GMO, and come out really, really awesomely. I only tried the Gluten-Free variety for obvious reasons, but found them to almost taste like a biscuit-pancake combo, which was fantastic (especially with butter and next to a runny egg). They also come in Classic, Chocolate Chip, Six Grain Cinnamon, Paleo, Protein, Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread Spice and Double Chocolate Peppermint. Oh, and another perk of these? The only thing you have to add to the mix is water! Easy.
Yogurt: Chobani Flip Whole Milk
I don’t eat a ton of dairy, but my family does, and my husband gives rave reviews to the new Chobani Flip Whole Milk. I’m a big fan of quality over quantity, and there’s just nothing more fulling and creamy and satisfying than whole milk yogurt. Made with non-GMO ingredients in four fruity flavors — Pure Blueberry, Pure Raspberry, Pure Cherry, and Pure Pear & Honey — these are so good you’ll … wait for it … flip.
What other staples do you always pick up? What are your fave clean versions of them? —Jenn