My Favorite Healthy Convenience Foods (from Whole Foods)

Megan with son opening a bag
Photo credit: Austin Gilmore

As much as I would love to make ALL of my food from scratch ALL the time, it’s just not always realistic while working full-time and juggling kids.

I do my best to prepare ahead of time by making a salad bar in our fridge and having ingredients on hand for Make-Ahead Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowls or Vegan Quinoa Lunch Bowls. I’ll also try to make lots of things in the Instant Pot, like my Instant Pot Curried Butternut Squash Soup or Vegan Sweet Potato & Lentil Curry.

However, some weeks are better than others, and we’re all human and rely on a few convenience foods sometimes. So, I thought I’d share some clean options I found on a recent trip to Whole Foods. I hope they might be convenient for you when you’re rushed for time, too!

Breads & Wraps

loaves of healthy breads from whole foodsJulian Bakery Paleo Bread. This grain-free bread isn’t cheap, but it’s an easily available paleo bread for those who must avoid grains entirely. Made with almond flour, coconut flour, and eggs, this bread is typically sold in the freezer section.

Food for Life Millet Rice Bread. This is one of my favorite gluten-free breads, but I only recommend eating it toasted. I keep it in the freezer and then thaw each slice in the toaster when we’re ready to eat it. (I use a knife to loosen each slice individually from the frozen loaf.)

Alvarado Street Bakery. This brand offers a variety of sprouted breads, some that are flourless & vegan, too. Please note that this bread does contain gluten, but I find that it’s easier to digest when sprouted.

Food For Life Sprouted Bread. This is another great bread for those of you who can tolerate gluten. It’s widely available, and it’s my son’s favorite sprouted wheat bread. (He does the plain orange package, not the kind with raisins… he’s in a “plain” phase right now. I really love the raisin version, as it reminds me of my childhood.)

Food For Life Sprouted Grain Tortillas. These tortillas are nice and flexible, which make them a family favorite when we make tacos at home. They’re usually sold in a chilled case at the end of the aisle at my local Whole Foods. (For a gluten-free option, try Food For Life’s Brown Rice tortillas, which are larger and great for sandwich wraps.)

Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas. These tortillas are naturally gluten-free and because they are sprouted, I find that they are easier to digest. Warm them up gently in a skillet to make them pliable for tacos. These are also found in the same chilled section as the other tortillas.

Siete Almond Flour Grain Free Tortillas. These grain-free tortillas are perfect if you need to avoid grains and corn entirely. They also sell a cassava flour + coconut version if you need to avoid nuts– both are available in the freezer section at Whole Foods.

Healthy Snacks

healthy snacks from whole foods

Alive & Radiant Kale Chips. I can’t remember the last time I took the time to make my own kale chips, so this brand is a nice alternative if you want a crunchy green snack. It’s organic, gluten-free and dairy-free, and comes in fun “cheezy” and “ranch” flavors.

Mary’s Gone Crackers. The “Everything” flavor of this crackers are hands-down my favorite cracker on Earth. They remind me of Everything bagels! My son even likes them, which is saying something. (P.S. I just discovered that these crackers are over a dollar cheaper per box on Amazon, compared to my local Whole Foods, so I’m ordering them online from now on…)

Gimme Organic Roasted Seaweed. I have to admit, that I’m not a huge seaweed fan, but I know these salty sheets satisfy the “salt craving” for some people. Plus, sea vegetables are high in minerals like iodine, calcium, and iron. The main way I’ve enjoyed these is by adding them as a salad topping, but every now and then I’ll offer them to my son as a snack, too.

Go-Go Squeeze Organic Applesauce. Applesauce is one of those things that is so easy to make at home, that I kick myself when I don’t have some on hand. In those moments, I’ll have one of these organic applesauces in my bag to give my son. (The cinnamon and strawberry flavors are his favorite at the moment, and he used to really love the mango, too.) On a side note, we can often find the variety pack at Costco if you’re a member there!

Quinn Coconut Oil Popcorn. My son went through a brief popcorn-phase, where he wanted to eat it practically every day, so I felt better about giving him this version that is non-GMO and popped using virgin coconut oil. If you don’t care for the taste of coconut oil, you will probably not like this though– I found the flavor to be very prominent. When this brand isn’t available, we’ll get the organic sea salt version from 365 brand.  (Maybe one day I’ll buy my own air popper!)

Terra Plantain Chips. These are the best plantain chips I’ve ever tasted. They are perfectly thin and crispy, with an even dusting of salt over each chip. I love that they’re cooked in coconut oil, too!

Made in Nature Dried Fruit. I love that Made in Nature’s dried fruits are always organic and unsweetened. When they do sweeten their other snacks (like their addictive coconut chips) they use pure maple syrup.

Dairy & Non-Dairy Products

non-dairy products from whole foods

Malk Organic Almond Milk. While it’s pretty easy to make your own almond milk, this brand is the closest there is to homemade. The Unsweet flavor is made with only raw almonds (from Spain), filtered water, and himalayan salt– and you can definitely tell. It’s more watery than other milks, and my son isn’t a fan of it plain, but it’s fine in cereals or smoothies.

Forager Cashew Milk. This is probably my favorite non-dairy milk both in taste and texture, and it’s organic and free of gums. (The original flavor is sweetened with dates!)

New Barn Almond Milk. This almond milk is widely available and I love that it doesn’t contain carrageenan like other popular brands do. The original flavor is naturally sweetened with maple syrup.

Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Yogurt. This is one of my favorite brands of goat milk yogurt (the other one I love is Capretta, but it’s harder to find). I use the plain variety for making recipes like my Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole and the vanilla flavor tastes great on its own. (It’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup!)

Bellwether Farms Sheep Milk Yogurt. If you prefer the taste of sheep’s milk, this brand of yogurt is relatively easy to find, too. I think it’s slightly more tangy than the goat’s milk yogurt above.

(You can read why goat & sheep’s milk is better than cow milk here.)

Kite Hill Yogurt. This dairy-free yogurt is made from almonds, and is widely available with other dairy-free almond-based products, too. (Like cheese!) I found this yogurt to be a little too sweet, but my son really liked it.

CoYo Coconut Milk Yogurt. This dairy-free yogurt has the perfect texture– very similar to Greek yogurt! I also love the simple ingredient list, but if you don’t care for the taste of coconut cream, you won’t like this yogurt– because that’s exactly what it tastes like.

Forager Cashewgurt. Texture-wise, you can tell that this yogurt has gums added to it for thickness, but the flavor is good. I think the unsweetened kind would be great with my Pumpkin Seed Granola!

Pasta & Pizza

pasta, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and pizza crust from whole foods

Delallo Gluten-Free Spaghetti. This pasta has a great texture, and the only ingredients are whole grain rice and water. I always keep it on hand in my pantry for nights that I need to throw something together quickly, usually with a bag of frozen veggies, too.

Kelp Noodles. I was introduced to kelp noodles back in my raw food days, and they make a great low-carb and grain-free pasta alternative. As another option, I also love to use shredded cabbage, or steamed vegetables as base for pasta sauce, without needing to buy anything exotic.

365 Organic Fat-Free Marinara. I love that this sauce has no added oil or sugar, and it tastes amazing. I could practically eat it with a spoon straight out of the jar. I always keep a couple jars of this on hand in our pantry for quick pasta nights, or to serve over steamed veggies.

365 Organic Pizza Sauce. Another one available only at Whole Foods, this is my go-to pizza sauce. The flavor is perfect, with no added sugar.

Cappello’s Grain-Free Pizza Crusts. If you don’t have time to make your own cauliflower pizza crust, these grain-free pizza crusts are now available in the freezer section at Whole Foods. I love how they offer a “naked crust” and one topped with sheep’s milk cheese! (I’ve also heard that frozen cauliflower pizza crusts are coming to the freezer section, but I haven’t seen them at my local store yet.)

Healthy Desserts

healthy desserts from whole foods

Chia Pod. If you don’t have time to make your own chia pudding, these chia pods would make an easy grab-on-the-go kind of breakfast or snack. I found them in the chilled section near yogurts.

Hail Merry Desserts. These raw treats have been a favorite of mine for years. (The Peppermint Fudge Bars in my first cookbook are inspired by Hail Merry’s Chocolate Mint Tart!) The Chocolate Mint Tart & Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Miracle Tarts are my favorite special treat. Hail Merry’s bite-sized cookie dough/macaroons are a delicious naturally-sweetened option, too.

Equal Exchange 70% Dark Chocolate Chips. These chocolate chips are vegan and soy-free, made with fair trade and organic ingredients.

Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips. This brand is perfect for people dealing with multiple allergies or special diets, as they are vegan and free of almost all major allergens. They have a darker chocolate chip available, too!

Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bars. There was a point in my life where I would eat half a bar of this chocolate daily– it’s so delicious! The plain 70% and the dark forest mint are my two favorite flavors.

Chocolove Chocolate Bars. My art director introduced me to the Raspberry dark chocolate bar during the photoshoot for No Excuses Detox, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Just one square is so satisfying! (Which is unusual for me.) The almond butter-filled dark chocolate is also great, with a nice balance of salt + sweet.

I hope you’ll find this round-up useful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, and feel free to share links to your favorite products, too!

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Comments

JoAnn

What a great post! I’ve seen many of these items but hesitate spending the money without a ‘first-hand’ recommendation. Thanks for taking the time to share this valuable information.

LINDA

Really good info, thanks for all your research

Claudia

No offence but why do you need a air poper or to buy popcorn ? You just heat grass fed butter in a pan, when its melted put a handful of corn per person in and put the lid on tossing until poped. Turn the heat off and put the corn in a bowl put the pan straight back on the hob but dont turn back on put in about 1 Tbsp of maple syrup it will bubble, and mix some more butter in and salt stir until caramelised (not long) add the popcorn and stir well. If you are eating straight away thats fine if not put in oven at low temp untill dried out abit either now or before you want to eat. I would go into flavourings apple ect but I am sure you know all this already ? Tastes way better than any shop brought I have ever tried.

    Megan Gilmore

    We used an air popper when I was a kid, so it’s more for recreating my childhood memories. 🙂

Mary alice

Many people who preordered your book have received it. I have not received mine yet.
Hoping it arrives soon.

Kim

Just got your book today. So excited to try out the recipes. Grocery shopping tomorrow, so planning out which ones to try first.
My new favorite Whole Foods convenience food is their butternut squash noodles (already spiralized). I can quick sauté up whatever veggies are in the frig with the squash noodles and some marinara sauce. It is delicious and so easy!

mommermom

Thanks for sharing these great ideas and suggestions. I am fairly new to this ‘healthy eating’ and am following a Paleoish type diet which I love! Some of these may help.

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