From organic cereals to sports drinks to snack bars, it seems like every food company is suddenly pushing organic products. But is there any reason to shell out the extra cash for them? Are they really that much better? Maybe some products.
Fun Scary fact: The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has more than 3,000 food ingredients in its database, including multiple food dyes and additives that are used to preserve, add flavor, blend, and thicken foods. We think these nine organic products are doing their best to provide the packaged foods we've come to know and love without any of those scary additives.
We all have that one can of soup in the pantry that has been there for years. If you look at the ingredients, you might be surprised to find high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, potassium chloride, and “flavoring.” But not in Pacific soups. These taste homemade and contain real ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, lentils, beans, and garlic. In other words, they're like soups your mom would make.
Granola is confusing. It’s categorized as “healthy,” but it often contains crazy amounts of sugar or artificial flavoring. Purely Elizabeth’s Granola is completely natural and made with just ancient grains, oats and seeds, chewy dried fruit, organic coconut oil, and organic coconut sugar. Plus, it never hurts to buy from a company that is dedicated to saving our planet. The Purely Elizabeth company donates to health and environmental nonprofit organizations, such as Slow Food USA, Wellness in Schools, and the Rodale Institute.($4.99; target.com)
Most frozen veggie burgers are made with long list of artificial ingredients and fillers. Hilary’s products are the exception. Her signature veggie burger actually includes ingredients such as millet, quinoa, leafy greens, onions, and apple cider vinegar. And as a bonus: They taste really good.($3.79; jet.com)
The jury is still out on the effects of GMOs on our health. But one thing is certain, most corn products contain GMOs. But not Late July’s corn tortilla chips. These organic tortilla chips are made with non-GMO corn, organic sunflower oil, and sea salt. And Late July gives away 10 percent of its profits to children’s nonprofits. So opt for Late July chips on your next Taco Tuesday night.
As much as I loved Fruity Pebbles (and the rainbow milk they produced) as a kid, I just can’t get behind eating food dyes and weird flavoring as an adult, especially for breakfast. Kashi is dedicated to producing USDA organic and non-GMO cereals that start your morning off right. What you see is what you get in a box of Kashi cereal—organic wheat and other organic grains, such as spelt, oats, amaranth, and oats. Kashi is another company on a mission: It recently developed the Certified Transitional program to help farmers transition from conventional to organic farming practices.
Although we all love a good confetti cupcake every once in a while, have you ever thought about what ingredients make that rainbow color? They definitely aren’t found in nature. Miss Jones Baking Co. makes cake mixes without the artificial colors or hydrogenated oils. Its vanilla cake mix consists of just organic cane sugar, organic flour, organic starch, baking powder, and vanilla. In other words, it contains all the ingredients you would use to make a cake from scratch.
Popcorn in its purest form is a really healthy whole-grain snack. But many packaged brands are loaded with artificially flavored butter and require microwaving. Here’s a little secret… people used to actually make popcorn on the stovetop in the same amount of time it takes to microwave. Stay away from the microwave bag popcorn with fake butter and artificial yellow coloring, and buy Arrowhead Mills organic non-GMO popcorn kernels instead. Feel free to still add some butter and salt. Duh.
Annie’s is best known for making organic snacks, but they also have a wide variety of delicious organic condiments. Made without hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and food dyes (often prevalent in other barbecue sauces), Annie’s BBQ sauce is as close to homemade as you can get in a bottle.
Pick up a loaf of bread from the supermarket shelf and read the ingredients. You'll probably see a bunch of icky preservatives and additives and possibly some high fructose corn syrup. Dave’s Killer Bread is organically made with ingredients that you can feel good about: whole grains, quinoa, kamut, amaranth, buckwheat, and organic seeds. And it’s sweetened with just organic cane sugar.