Go-To Foods, 31-40

We will start this installment with another group of healthy nuts, adding some seeds this time.  Again, look for those that are raw or only contain salt, not sugars or other added ingredients.

31.  Brazil Nuts

Brazil Nuts give a lot of bang for the buck.  Since they are so big, you may just want one or two, but that’s good!  Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium.  They are also good for your blood pressure and cholesterol, two areas where my numbers could always use some improvement.

32.  Sunflower Seeds

I have always loved sunflower seeds, but am not a fan of having to shell them to eat them.  These shelled ones are the best, and are free from extra ingredients (I never really wanted buffalo ranch or dill pickle).  Seeds are just as good as nuts for promoting satiety and providing nutrients.  Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of B vitamins. The cool thing about seeds, and nuts, is that you can add them to your salads or stir fry to change up the texture.

33.  Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are also good for your cholesterol and blood pressure, containing many nutrients.  Like nuts, they contain protein and omega 3 fats.  They are considered a superfood for men, especially, as they promote men’s health.  They also can reduce inflammation.

34.  Organic Mixed Lettuce and Spinach

This has been my staple salad base for a while now.  I love that it’s a mix of different lettuces and spinach, and it just lists everything that could be in there.  I guess whatever is growing at the time ends up in the spring mix.  There’s one lettuce in the mix that has a harder, longer stalk, and that’s not my favorite, but since it’s a mix, maybe a serving has one or two of those particular leaves.  I think the variety makes a great salad base!

35.  Tomatoes

These are the best tomatoes that I have had, as they come as a variety and they’re bite size.  You can eat them whole, but they’re much better when cut in half before using them in a salad or cooked dish.  They’re great with a vinaigrette dressing or cooked lightly in olive oil.  I also never realized they say to not refrigerate.  We’ve always put them in the refrigerator, but we will try not doing that and see if it makes a difference.  I love all tomatoes, but these are just fun!

36.  Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a staple for me and while I do know how to make it from scratch, it’s so much easier to buy it in a jar.  I never realized until recently how much sugar some jars of sauce contains!  Looking at all of the ingredients, this is the best sauce at H-E-B (their garlic lover’s organic sauce is a close second, but this one is even better).  This one only has 6g of sugar and it’s from the tomatoes; there is no added sugar, like you’ll find in many brands out there.  The ingredients are all legit, which is also rare.

Garlic Mariana ingredients:  Tomatoes (vine-ripened fresh tomatoes, calcium chloride, citric acid), extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, oregano, basil, black pepper

37.  Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinaigrette

I had every intention of making homemade vinaigrette to have on my salad, until I found this dressing.  It is amazing, low ingredient, and contains things I want in a salad dressing.  Vinegar is a helpful ingredient and has a protective effect on blood sugar and insulin levels.  It’s definitely something I want to incorporate more of into my diet.  I was impressed with how much I like the taste of it!  There is one ingredient that deserves special mention and that is natural xanthan.  Gum additives, like xanthan, can be problematic if they are from GMO soy or corn.  However, coming from a non-GMO natural source is reasonable, so as long as they don’t cause any digestive issues, I don’t see anything wrong with xanthan, guar gum, etc. from non-GMO products.  There is apple juice, but the overall sugar is low for this dressing, so again, that’s not a problem for me.  The ginger and sesame dressing has more ingredients and is higher in sugar, but it would make a great base for an Asian stir fry.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients:  purified water, organic apple cider vinegar, organic apple juice concentrate, organic onion, organic black pepper, natural xanthan

Ginger and Sesame Dressing:  organic extra virgin olive oil, organic apple cider vinegar, water, organic coconut liquid aminos (organic coconut blossom nectar, water, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt), organic honey, organic garlic, organic ginger, organic sesame seed, organic lemon juice concentrate, xanthan gum

38.  Organic Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I had to look at a ton of different hummus packages to find something where the ingredients were all legit.  Many of the varieties I looked at contained soybean oil, although some were non-GMO, so that is at least a step in the right direction.  There seems to be a large variety of oils used in hummus, but I found some that I can live with.  This variety was the best I found.  I’m sure it’s best to make hummus from scratch and I will embrace that one day, but right now, I’m looking for convenience foods to help me stay on track.  The explanation above for the gums applies here too, but guar gum comes from guar beans and they are plant based, so that’s even better.

Ingredients:  organic steamed chickpeas, water, organic roasted red pepper, organic sunflower oil, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic sesame tahini, sea salt, citric acid, organic paprika, organic garlic, organic cumin, organic guar gum

39.  Dark Chocolate

This isn’t a Whole30 diet, so let’s be realistic… quality dark chocolate is a good thing.  It satisfies your sweet tooth and has a whole wealth of nutritional benefits.  The main drawback to chocolate is sugar.  The lower the percent cacao, the sweeter the chocolate is and the less healthy it becomes.  Once upon a time, I thought I could eat the really bitter chocolate because it was the “healthiest,” but that didn’t last long!  The 90-99% cacao is pretty tough for me to eat, but when you get down the to 70-80% range, it’s much easier and I can actually enjoy it.  These two chocolates seemed the best of all the ones I looked at.  The only problem ingredient I see is the soy lecithin, which is used as an emulsifier.  It’s like anything else, I think as long as you’re avoiding GMO soy, it should be fine.  What I like about the Ghirardelli is that their entire company went non-GMO and the chocolate is packaged in individual servings.  All you really need is one.  The Fair Trade one is fancier and contains almonds, which make it taste great, but it’s hard to open a bar and then only eat a small amount.  Notice the serving size is smaller on the Ghirdelli Intense Dark, so the sugar ends up being equivalent when you eat the same amount of each.

Ghirardelli Ingredients:  unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, soy lecithin

Endangered Species Chocolate Ingredients:  bittersweet chocolate (chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), almonds, sea salt

40.  Clint’s Hot Salsa

When you’re in Texas, salsa (or “hot sauce” as the locals call it – in my mind hot sauce is the vinegar based staple of Louisiana cooking) is a required food item.  I have had tons of good salsa and the fresher the ingredients, the better the salsa.  This is another item that is better prepared in the kitchen, but this is my convenience list.  Having said that, Clint’s may not be the best “natural” salsa on the market, but it’s the one we buy most often at our house.  I, personally, prefer the super hot insane hot sauces and they’re all appropriate too, but I picked Clint’s because it is more “taste bud friendly”.  It comes in varying degrees of hotness and does this without any weird ingredients or added sugar.

Ingredients:  tomatoes (tomatoes, tomato juice, calcium chloride, citric acid), onions, Serrano peppers, tomato paste, cilantro, garlic, salt, lemon juice

 

40 down, 60 to go!!  It’s definitely getting harder to find appropriate convenience food!!

 

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