Back-to-School: Joy’s Healthy Food Finds


Navigating the supermarket—with all the different options sporting fancy packaging, confusing health claims and hard-to-read nutrition labels —can be downright exhausting. With back to school season in full swing, I tried to simplify food shopping by scouring the supermarkets for you to find tasty and nutritious items that you can feel good about serving your family. Carefully vetting each product’s nutrition, I cross-checked ingredients with the latest scientific research. And then, each food had to please our taste-testers’ picky palettes (no easy feat!). Here are some of my new and delicious healthy finds. Head to each product’s website to learn more and find a store near you.  


Love Grown Cereal
Specific varieties: Chocolate Comet Crispies, Blueberry Vanilla Polar Puffs, Fruity Sea Stars, and Original Power O’s

The first ingredient in most cereals tends to be wheat or milled corn. What I love about Love Grown cereal is that their innovative bean blend (navy beans, lentils and kidney beans) is featured as the very first ingredient. They have a lot of varieties, most with 3 grams of fiber and at least 3 grams of protein. And while some of them are a bit too high in sugar, the varieties listed above all have no more than 8 grams per serving and win a spot on my list.  


Siggi’s Icelandic-Style Yogurt
Specific varieties: 0% Non-Fat Yogurt, 2% Low-Fat Yogurt and 2% Low-Fat Tubes

Many flavored yogurts have at least 14 to 16 grams of sugar, but Siggi’s non-fat and low-fat flavored yogurts managed to hit the sweet spot with just 8 to 11 grams, while still tasting delicious and providing a hearty dose of protein. They also come in fun, kid-friendly tubes, which are lower in sugar than many other popular brands. And of course, they’re made using wholesome ingredients.  


Sabra Hummus Singles and Wholly Guacamole Minis:
Who doesn’t love hummus and guacamole? But we all know how easy it is to gobble down a whole lot in one sitting. It turns out you can have too much of a good thing…and the calories add up quickly. Luckily, these condiments now come in portion-controlled packages that are perfect for on-the-go snacks and lunch boxes. Each Sabra Hummus Single provides 150 calories and one Wholly Guacamole mini container is just 100 calories.

Rhythm Superfood Beet Chips
Specific Variety: Naked Beet Chips

It’s time to crank up the beet! While Rhythm offers a variety of beet chips, the “naked” flavor has just one ingredient: beets. Unlike kale chips (which I also love), these chips are hearty, crunchy and sturdy—not at all flimsy, which make them perfect condiment dippers. But of course, you have to love beets to enjoy this food find. They come in portion-controlled snack bags (100 calories each, with 5 grams of fiber) that are great for brown-bagging your lunch and couple nicely with a sandwich. And they’re “pretty in pink!” 


Amy’s Spinach Pizza Snacks
This brand boosted the nutrition (and yumminess) of microwavable pizza bites by adding spinach and some whole grain flour. As a result, these are healthier and a bit higher in protein and fiber compared to standard mini pizza bites. Our taste testers ate them up. 


Green Giant Mashed Cauliflower
Specific Varieties: Olive Oil & Sea Salt and Garlic & Herb

Simply pop it in the microwave and you have a creamy, dreamy side dish made from a nutrient-rich vegetable. I’m personally biased to the flavored Garlic & Herb variety (although you can easily spruce up the plain with your own seasoning blends), and I experimented by adding black beans, leftover shredded rotisserie chicken, and even extra veggies, like broccoli florets, sliced cherry tomatoes, and steamed green beans to make a heartier one-pot meal or side. Really, you can’t go wrong! 


Luvo Bowls
These frozen and microwavable meals contain wholesome ingredients, a generous serving of veggies, and a variety of lean proteins, ranging from chicken to plenty of vegetarian, plant-based options like quinoa and chickpeas. They’re also lower in sodium than many typical microwavable meals; most others on the market contain upwards of 1,000 mg of sodium, while each Luvo Bowl contains less than 400 mg. Our taste testers’ favorites were the Thai-Style Green Curry Chicken and the Quinoa & Veggie Enchilada Verde. 


Simple Mills Muffin Mix
Specific Varieties: Banana Muffin & Bread Mix and Pumpkin Muffin & Bread Mix

Made with almond flour, these baking mixes are perfect for classroom birthday parties…or for anyone living with a dairy, gluten or soy allergy. It’s simple, fail-proof “box baking,” but without any junk. You can add chocolate chips to the banana bread, or sprinkle in some pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts or additional fruit to the pumpkin bread to mix it up. 


Sunflower Butters
Specific Varieties: Sunbutter Natural Sunflower Butter and Wild Friends Organic Honey Sunflower Butter  

This alternative to peanut butter is a game changer for those living with peanut allergies. Made from pureed sunflower seeds, the two featured sunflower butter brands provide 7 grams of protein per two tablespoons, and come in handy to-go cups or packets. Of course, it’s more economical to go for a jar and make sandwiches at home, but the individual servings are great for lunchboxes or brown bags and on-the-go snacking.