Taste Testing 3 New Whole Foods Finds

I imagehope you all had a wonderful Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa! As the clock ticks closer and closer to 2013, many are setting resolutions to sweat more and make wiser diet choices. I’ve mentioned before that I’m more of a fan of goals throughout the year, not just on January 1, but anything that’s a catalyst for healthier choices gets a green light in my book!

As many are stocking their kitchens with more nutritious options, I decided to visit my local Whole Foods to pick out a few new items so I could share whether they’re worth your hard-earned dough.

For the Kids: Annie’s Organic Honey Wheat Pretzel Bunnies (100 calories, 1 g fat per 32 pretzels)

Crunchy pretzels are known as a low-fat pantry staple. Sure, they can be carb-heavy, but when paired with a serving of nuts or nut butter or some hummus (keep reading for a brand suggestion!), pretzels can be part of a smart snack or side. Plus, what kid doesn’t love a salty treat, especially when shaped like cute animals? 

These stood out to me with their short, understandable ingredient list (organic wheat flour, organic vegetable oil, organic honey, organic cane sugar, sea salt, organic barley malt) and because they have slightly less sodium and a bit more protein than standard pretzel sticks. The bunnies had a great balance between the salty, courtesy of the sea salt, and the sweet, from the honey.

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For the Time-Crunched: Amy’s Light & Lean Roasted Polenta with Swiss Chard (140 calories, 4 g fat per entree)

In a perfect world, we’d all make every meal from scratch. Busy schedules make that tough some days, when microwavable soup cups and meals become super-handy. Alongside a grilled chicken breast and whole-wheat roll, I warmed up Amy’s Roasted Polenta entree for dinner on a full weeknight evening. This low-cal dish includes a cornmeal polenta cake topped with mushroom tomato sauce, served with steamed chard.

All of the components were surprisingly full of flavor, and it looked fairly similar to the photo on the box (always a pleasant surprise when this is true!). My only complaint: the greens needed way more cooking time than the polenta and tomato sauce. I ended up having to separate the two so I could heat up the greens for an additional 90 seconds. 

For the Snackers: Engine 2 Roasted Garlic Hummus (30 calories, 1 g fat per 2 tablespoons)

To go along with those pretzels, or my favorite, carrots and snap peas, I snagged a new-to-me flavor and brand of hummus. The Engine 2 logo stood out to me in the refrigerator case since I had read about the brand’s firefighter creator, Rip, and his health transformation thanks to a plant-based diet.

The roasted garlic flavor was prominent but not overpowering, and the texture was just right for dipping or scooping. The fact that it basically included just chickpeas, garlic, sesame seeds, lemon juice and salt was an added bonus!

No Whole Foods nearby? Click here to find the recipe to try at home, originally printed in The Engine 2 Diet.

How about you: What are the essential components in your healthy kitchen? Have you found any new, delicious items at stores near you?

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