Fit Series: Grocery Store Favorites

I know for a fact that one of the biggest things people struggle with when it comes to getting healthy is nutrition.  When I share my own weight-loss story people always want to know about my diet.  Most assume I’m cooking fresh organic vegetables, drinking green juice, and cooking perfectly balanced homemade meals and snacks all day long with no sugar, carbs, or fat.  I suppose some people do that (at least according to Instagram.)  But that’s not real-life for me.  I’m a busy, normal, person.  And while I try to eat lots of fresh food, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, I also rely on lots of “normal” store-bought, even pre-packaged foods.  In real life, you have to have stuff you can grab and go, stuff that tastes good, and stuff your family will like.  It’s not about being on a constant “diet,” and “eating clean”  it’s simply about making good choices, or at least making  a better choice, more often than not.

I share lots of healthy home-made recipes on Our Best Bites, but today isn’t about that.  It’s about some of my favorite snacks, meals, and treats at the grocery store.  I want to be clear that this is in no way a sponsored post.  I’m not being compensated by any of these brands and I’m not working with them in any way.  These are all just personal favorites that I buy and my family loves, and I wanted to share them with you so you can maybe find some new faves on your next shopping trip, too!

My last disclaimer is that I’m not promoting anything as being nutritionally perfect here.  We always get a little, “Sara!  Did you know that has Red Dye #5 in it?? I would NEVER feed that to MY family.”  “Sara!  You didn’t hear??? Agave will sterilize you!”  “Sara!  How can you be telling people to eat that, it has sugar substitute in it, and here are 14 links to random articles I found on Google that tell you that Splenda murders children.” I get it.  Everyone has different standards when it comes to what they consider worthy to label “healthy.”  Feed your family the way you feel comfortable.  These are things that I personally enjoy, and that have fit in with a healthy diet and lifestyle so I’m sharing them with you.  Enjoy 🙂

PROTEIN
I work out in the early AM most days of the week, so when I get home, the first thing I do is have a protein shake and in my last fitness post, SO many of you asked us how I do that.  Simple protein powder stirred into water is pretty gross; it’s all about making it the right way!  I’ve tried lots of brands of protein powder, and what I look for is: flavor, ratio of protein to calories, and sugar.  This brand in my photo is my favorite.  I blend it with a big scoop of ice and Almond-Coconut Milk, which has much less protein than regular cow’s milk, but also half the calories.  It makes it smooth and creamy, and the hit of coconut syrup makes it taste like a chocolate-coconut milkshake.  I have at least one of these a day, and sometimes 2 or 3.  If I’m on the go, I pour it into a Blender Bottle.

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If you follow many food bloggers on Instagram, you would think we all eat mashed avocado on whole grain toast with liquified kale every morning for breakfast.  You know what I like?  Cereal. Oatmeal.  Normal stuff.  (Well, okay, also doughnuts, french toast, and hot chocolate.)  Sometimes I have time to whip up scrambled eggs and veggies or something, but more often than not, I eat quick and easy normal food.

CEREAL
I have, and always will be, a cold-cereal eater.  It must be in my blood because my children could literally eat cereal for every meal.  I’m loving the new trend of breakfast cereals fortified with protein!  It makes me feel a little better when I feed it to my kids for dinner.  These are 3 of my favorites these days: Fiber One (bonus fiber + protein, love the Maple Brown Sugar flavor), Special K (no froo-froo, just plain jane flakes, but the lowest in calories of any I’ve tried), and Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy (my kids especially love this one).

I have some health issues that require me to eat a high-fiber diet, and more often than not- this Fiber One Chocolate cereal is my go-to.  Almost every morning I have a bowl of this, with a giant serving of raspberries (super high in fiber) and that coconut-almond milk, or regular milk (for a little added protein.)  The serving size is substantial for only 80 calories, and it’s loaded with flavor and fiber.  It’s often an afternoon snack, too!


OATMEAL
We all know oats are a great part of a healthy diet, and gone are the days of those little sugar-loaded paper packets (well, not gone.  But there are certainly a lot more options now.)  I’m a huge fan of BetterOats. They have a ton of great products, that you can see on their website.  They use a combination of thick, quick, steel cut, and old-fashioned oats, and the OatFit line has only 100 calories and no added sugar.  Plus, it’s just a little thing, but I love how they have the measuring cup built into the packet.  So smart!

These Quaker Real Medleys are like fancy grown-up oatmeal.  They’re higher in calories, but so much more substantial that most oatmeal packets.  They have big chunks of real fruit and nuts and they’re so good.  I eat these sometimes for an afternoon mini-meal, and they’re also terrific for all of you campers out there.  You just add boiling water to the sturdy cup and it’s done in a few minutes and you can eat right out of the container.  Good for taking to the office, too! And while we’re talking about Quaker- this Warm and Crunchy Oatmeal is so, so good.

BREAKFAST SANDWICHES
We buy these Jimmy Dean Delights from Costco by the case-load.  Seriously, my family eats so many of these.  If you’re a fan of the Egg McMuffin, you’ll like these.  They have only 250 calories and 17 grams of protein.  They’re great for taking in the car or sending with a kid to the bus stop.  I’m literally eating one right now for lunch as I write this post.  This is definitely a family favorite at my house.

LEAN CUISINE
When it comes to meal-time, sure I try to cook a real meal more often than not- but sometimes you just need something quick and easy, especially at lunch time when it’s just me.  Of all of the frozen meals in the freezer section, I think Lean Cuisine is the best by a landslide.  Our freezer is always stocked full of these.  At WinCo, many of them about $1.60 so they’re really inexpensive to load up on (like the one pictured, one of my favorites: Sesame Chicken).  I really love their Salad Editions too, where you just add lettuce and get veggies, chicken, toppings, and dressing for a big salad.  I don’t eat them every day, but they’re a great thing to keep on hand.

SNACKS
Snacks are often the downfall for people trying to stick to a healthy diet.  I have to have snacks, and not fruit and vegetable snacks.  Salty, sweet, crunchy snacks.  I buy all of these items in single serve bags on a regular basis to make portion size easy.

ANGIE’S POPCORN
I’ve had more than one person ask me if I’m a spokesperson for Angies Popcorn because I talk about it so much!  It’s sweet, salty, crunchy perfection, and they’re all low-calorie as well.  It’s the perfect snack.  I take this to movies and keep little bags in my car as well.

POP CHIPS are another favorite.  Sometimes you just need something that tastes like a potato chip.  I love using these to scoop up chicken salad for lunch, or dipping in salsa for an afternoon snack.

I pretend to buy Pirate’s Booty for my kids, but it’s a total cover.  I love this stuff.  It’s like not-so-naughty Cheetos.  Again, love the single serve bags.  You get a really huge serving for minimal calories too, and that’s always a win in my book.

pirates booty

BARS & ON THE GO SNACKS
There are a million different kinds of bars on the market, and they’re all really different.  Protein bars are generally high in calories and look better on the wrapper than they actually taste.  Super healthy bars are sometimes lacking in actual flavor.  I go for something in the middle.  These aren’t any sort of nutritional powerhouse, but they’re made with pretty good ingredients, have a reasonable amount of calories and some protein and whole grains.  I keep these in my purse pretty much all the time.  I usually grab a bar when I’m hungry between meals and need something on the run.

These Clif Mojo bars are my absolute favorite.  The Chocolate Almond Coconut, and the Peanut Butter Pretzel are amaaaazing.  Soft, chewy, crunchy, with really BIG chunks of actual chocolate and peanut butter.

Luna Bars are kind of nostalgic for me because my Mom always bought them, and I lived off them in college.  3 of my long-time faves are Peanut Honey Pretzel, Chocolate Dipped Coconut, and Chocolate Peppermint Stick.

GREEK YOGURT
I haven’t always been a yogurt-lover.  I actually used to gag every time I tried to eat it. I didn’t jump on the Greek yogurt bandwagon when it started, but I’m on it now.  Chobani 2% are my favorites, and I pretty much eat these two flavors (Passion Fruit and Coconut) exclusively.  For those of you who have Brazil connections like I do, or someone in your family does, buy them passion fruit Chobani.  It tastes like Mousse de Maracuja.  The other thing down there is the Chobani Almond Coco-Loco Flip.  Oh my gosh, just buy it.  It’s amazing.

Emerald 100 Calorie Packs.  I love the Cinnamon Roast, Dark Cocoa Roast, and the Vanilla almonds.  Great when you need something quick with a little protein.

TREATS
Now that we’ve covered snacks and meals, let’s get to the good stuff.  I’ve got to have things like candy and ice cream, so here are some healthier options that satisfy that sweet tooth.

Skinny Cow Candy
Another brand that people assume I’m a spokesperson for.  This isn’t fake, sugar-free-sends-you-to-the-bathroom stuff (need a laugh?  Go read the amazon reviews for these sugar free gummy bears.) It’s real, yummy chocolate, just a little better for you than some of the alternatives and keeps it portion-controlled, with everything weighing in at 110-130 calories.  Peanut Butter Chocolate Heavenly Crisps are my favorite.  We buy the big variety packs of Skinny Cow at Costco and always stay stocked up.

 

Since we’re talking about Skinny Cow- I love their ice cream, too.  I always, always save room in my daily calories for an ice cream treat after my kids are in bed; it’s kind of a nightly ritual.  The cookie dough bars are one of my faves, and I especially love the ice cream sandwiches, too (mmmm...snickerdoodle.)

 

A newer favorite of mine are these Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt pops.  I’ve been buying the coconut ones and I like that they have some protein and are all around 100 calories (many, like coconut, are even less.)

My last fruity frozen favorite are Outshine Bars These have been a long-time favorite for my husband and I.  When we were just newly dating, I got sick with mono and he took care of me for weeks and all I ate day in and day out were the Creamy Coconut Bars.  You’d think that would have turned me off of those forever, but no- just the opposite.  I’ve been obsessed ever since.  I love pretty much all of the flavors, but I like to keep the smaller, no added sugar, variety around because at just 25 calories (yes, 25!) it’s sometimes just enough to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Whew!  That ended up being longer than I expected.  I hope you guys find some new things to try out at your grocery store.  Let me know what you think- and feel free to share your faves in the comments!  (Remember, we pick people from our Scoop comments to win prizes each month!)

If you’ve missed other posts in our Fit Series, you can read them Here:
Fit Gear Favorites (my favorite gear and gadgets!)
How To: Get Fit (Tips on how to get started exercising and being healthy)
Real-Life Health and Weight Loss (my personal story of a 50lb weight loss)

 

 

137 comments

  1. Larabars (especially the cherry pie flavor!) and Larabar Uber are great, too. They don’t pack a nutritional powerhouse (200 cal,8g fat, 4g fiber, 5g protein) BUT they are the only bars I’ve found that only contain 3-4 ingredients. I know that’s not important to everyone, but for some it is an absolute must. Thanks for sharing, Sara!

  2. Those amazon reviews are hilarious! Thanks for the morning laugh. And thanks for the yummy reviews, I can’t wait to go shopping now.

  3. I’ve never been a fan of cooked oatmeal (we eat it like cold cereal, which I know is weird, but we like it that way), but those quaker oatmeal cups might convert me. They are really tasty. I also think I need to get a pack of those pop chips and hide them in my closet so my kids don’t eat them all before I get a chance.

    Thanks for all the great information. I feel like I’m in a good place right now with snacks, etc, but if I get bored of what I’m doing I’ll know where to look for new ideas! Oh, and I LOVE the idea of flavored syrup in your protein shake. Brilliant!

  4. We got the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker for Christmas. It was about $25 (watch for sales on Amazon) and it is fabulous. Making your own sandwich at home is SO easy and fast and a lot cheaper than buying premade ones! Even though the directions say not to, we use Egg Beaters in it all the time and it comes out great.

    My second comment is oatmeal. I regularly make steel cut oatmeal in the crockpot overnight (regular oats get too mushy). You have to do a water bath method in the crock so the oatmeal doesn’t burn. I just use my little crock and put it inside my big one. 1 cup steel cut oats, 4 cups water. Sometimes I add dried fruit. Put the small crock of oatmeal in the big crock and then fill the big crock with water around the little. Low heat overnight.

  5. I had to stop eating dairy after my son was born two years ago and I struggled to find any milk substitutes that I could actually swallow. I stumbled on that Almond-Coconut milk and loved it! Even now that I can have dairy again I still use the Almond-Coconut milk more often than not. It is so yummy and perfect in smoothies and on cereal.

  6. I love your blog!! I have been following it for quite some time now and I have gone through pretty much all of your archives and enjoyed many new recipes….yes I do have a life….and despite what my husband may say, more friends I talk about than just Sara and Kate from OBB. Anyways–I don’t know that I’ve ever commented and I wanted you to know that I absolutely LOVE your fit series. I’m not overweight but I am constantly playing the yo-yo game of lose, gain, lose, gain; and motivation/inspiration works wonders. Thanks for your posts!

  7. Love this post. Kevin lives on Lean Cuisines at his work and is always looking for more healthier snacks during the day to keep the cravings away (me too!). I have not seen those Skinny Cow cookie dough bars! Must have 🙂 Thanks so much 🙂

  8. I love your fit series. I appreciate this post. I always feel guilty when I don’t make something from scratch, but this helps me to take the pressure off and still have some healthy options to eat. Love your blog.

  9. My new favorite popcorn is Skinny Pop, when I don’t want sweet popcorn it’s the best. We love those Outshine bars, I heard someone raving about the blood orange flavor and I have been looking everywhere. My true favorite is the other line they have– Coconut Waters, especially the coconut with pieces of pineapple, like a Piña Coloda! And did you see the new line of fruit & veggies bars? Like Apple and Greens? Think I will stick to coconut goodness! Love this series, thanks for sharing.

  10. I love so many of the things on your list and have learned about some new ones. Can’t wait to try them! I love reading this series (and everything else you both do)!! Thanks 🙂

  11. I tried going carb free and I realized in just a short time I can’t go without them without being sick, so I’ve been looking for good healthy alternatives and appreciate all your protein packed and lighter selections. I love the Dark Chocolate Acai berries from Costco. Just a few is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and my son who also went to Brazil feels like Acai reminds him of being there.

  12. Love this fit series! And that everything you do is about keeping it REAL- no extremes, no cutting out 3 different food groups, just better overall choices. Thanks for some new ideas!

  13. I always knew you had a thing for coconut, but after reading your favorite foods, I think you have a coconut OBSESSION! You must be ingesting some form or flavor of coconut at every meal, snack, or dessert! That’s awesome!

      1. I also wanted to tell you- THANK YOU! I have been hitting the gym everyday this week working on lifting weights. I am pushing myself much harder than I have in years (the evidence is obvious in my inability to walk normally) and although I have not quite gotten my diet in check yet, this post is absolute motivation! And thanks for being a real person- there’s no way I would ever lose the weight if I kept telling myself everything has to be homemade and 100% organic all natural…blah blah blah! Thank you! I hope to be looking as hot as you in a few months!

  14. I have tried many of these items and love them as well. I’ve been in such a grocery shopping rut. I have been wanting and needing so new ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Thanks for sharing these ideas!! I’m ALWAYS looking for new snack ideas … Especially for my kids and I think they would be happy with so many of these 🙂 trying out that protein shake mix ToDay 🙂 loving all your recent “fit” posts SO much. Thanks for sharing such real life stuff 🙂

  16. Great Post!! Can’t wait to try many of your ideas! Right now my family and I really enjoy Late July organic chips from Costco, my 5 year old can’t stay out of them.

    1. Since they have 840mg of sodium EACH I have a hard time seeing them as healthy. That’s two days worth of sodium for me in one sandwich. If you have no problem with sodium then, of course, go for it.

  17. I am glad you posted this. I am trying to get back on the healthy but realistic with my busy life bandwagon. I am excited to go buy and try some of these and hope to find some things I love.

  18. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been sticking to my new diet/exercise plan for a few weeks and have already lost 5 lbs. I was inspired, like so many others, by your story and am finally getting in gear to lose the baby weight that keeps hanging on. Your “finish it” quote keeps me going through my workouts. These new meal/snack/treat ideas will help me stay on track and not get back into bad habits. (Although I already save calories for those skinny cow ice cream treats. Nothing tastes better at the end of the day, especially when I don’t have to share bites with any little friends.) Thanks again!

  19. I’m glad other people find the sugar free gummy bear reviews funny. I read Christine’s (the best one) out loud to my husband and couldn’t get half the words out cause I was laughing so hard. He chuckled a little bit, but didn’t find it nearly as funny as I did:) Thanks for all the great recommendations – I need to go to Costco now!

  20. Love all your great ideas!!! I didn’t see quantities for the protein shake listed. I could have missed them with a bunch of kids talking at me!! Do you mind providing the quantities that you use so that I don’t have a bunch of flops at first! And so that it equates to the calories/ protein that you provided? Thanks a bunch! I just ordered your blender bottle and your weight set from your blog! Thank you for sharing!!!

  21. i have been waiting for this post. there are so many products out there and i really wanted to know what your favorites were because i totally trust your opinion. especially with the protein powder because they are so darn expensive and i didn’t want to do a taste test with all of them. thanks for inspiring so many of us to get fit! i love your motto “finish it” but i am still working on “start it”!

  22. Thanks for the ideas of new things to try. I especially like the snack and ice cream treat ideas. I often have a sweet tooth so it is nice to see some less calorie options.

  23. I haven’t heard of Outshine bars and they have ones that are only 25 calories? I am going to start searching the stores to find them! I crave Popsicles in the summer and a healthier variety like this would allow me to eat them whenever I want! Thanks for all the great recommendations!

  24. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been looking for a good protein powder, so I’m excited to try your suggestion. For snacks, I also love, string cheese and pita chips and laughing cow cheese wedges. They are so good!

  25. Thanks for the ideas! I also love skinny cow ice cream treats after my kids go to bed! My favorite snack bar that’s healthy and yummy is Kashi Cherry Dark Chocolate Chewy Granola Bar!

  26. Would you consider posting what you ate on an average day or two? I’m wondering how the snacks and treats fit in. I tend to try to lose weight by cutting snacks and treats, but I haven’t been very successful, even with a lot of exercise. Also, once you mentioned eating 1500 calories a day. Is that regardless of how rigorous your workout is, or do you eat/drink back the calories you burn working out? Sorry for the personal questions, and thanks for sharing your story!

    1. I’ve had a lot of people ask that, and it’s hard because my diet really, really varies, and so do my calories! You do have to experiment a little bit and find that “sweet spot” for your body. I’ll do what I can to help, though!

  27. so glad the fit series is BACK! I also love that you love Angie’s -it’s a MN company and we Minnesotan’s love ’em too! 🙂

    thanks for the info! 🙂

  28. Love this post!! I needed some healthy breakfast ideas – I’m the worst at remembering to eat breakfast! (I know, it’s the most important meal of the day…) 🙂 Thanks!

  29. My Father-in-law works for Conagra, so we are pretty faithful Lean Cuisine eaters. My husband has one for lunch almost everyday at work along with a 100 calorie something or other. Great post!

  30. I have walked by those Jimmy Dean delights so many times and wondered if they are as good as they look. I am going to have to try them! I am also a big fan of lean cuisine even though my mother-in-law shutters every time I eat one. Gosh!! I have noticed that you guys like Latin food, so I recommend the beans and rice with a fried egg on top. Yummy!

  31. Thanks for the suggestions! I do pretty well at meal times making healthy meals, but I’m a snacker so I’m always looking for something new to add to my pantry.

  32. You had me at cookie dough:) I will have to try that one for sure, as well as some of the others. Thanks for all the tips on snacks, treats, etc.

  33. I just have to say thank you for being a REAL person with advice I can really follow. I am so sick of all the hype of these crazy diets that a REAL person cannot follow long term. No one can make a lifestyle change by cutting out foods you don’t want to cut out! Thanks for all these ideas- they are great!

  34. Great post! I love how real you are! It’s makes healthy choices so much less intimidating! One of my favorite snacks in string cheese. Makes me feel like a kid and has a decent serving of protein. My kids don’t understand why the bag doesn’t last longer for them! 😉

  35. I always thought pre-made breakfast sandwiches were super sketchy, but maybe I’ll have to give them a try. Especially if I can buy them at Costco, haha.

  36. Thank you, thank you!! This post, like all of the others on fitness and nutrition, are so helpful! Thank you!! I’m starting to really look forward to Thursdays for these posts. How did you get over disliking yogurt?? I can’t stand the stuff. Thanks again!

      1. I’ve had a texture problem with yogurt as well, but something that I like is adding either grape nuts or uncooked plain old-fashioned oats. I put the yogurt in a bowl, pour in however much nuts/oats looks good, stir it up, and let it sit (at least 10 min, longer is ok too). With the grape nuts, they soften enough so they don’t break your teeth, add some crunch, and cut the sweetness of the yogurt a bit. With the oats, they get really soft while simultaneously thickening the yogurt because they absorb moisture from the yogurt – it all gets kind of custardy. And both of these make the yogurt more filling.

  37. Thanks so much Sara, your fit series has been what I needed to finally get going on my fitness goals. I had just decided that I couldn’t be a foodie and enjoy great tastes, and be skinny too. Last year I ran my tail off and didn’t drop a pound. So I gave up and went back to eating. I hope you know that your pictures were absolutely inspirational. I got off my butt, bought some new cute workouts clothes, printed up your exercises for home/travel and my muscles are burning after only 5 days AND I’ve lost 2 lbs. I am going to be healthy and get my life back for myself and my kids. Thank you so much.

  38. Thanks for this! I’ve been working really hard on loosing some weight, and I’ve been tracking my calories religiously, and sometimes (ok, often) at the end of the day I see I have 150 calories left, I want to have a treat, and I wonder if I’m ruining my plan. So it was good to hear that it’s been working for you! So far, it seems to be working for me. I think the important part is making room for it in your plan, and really keeping track of everything, so you’re not really cheating. I’m looking forward to trying some of your favorites that i haven’t had yet!

  39. All of these great posts on nutrition and fitness are just what I need to get motivated. Thanks for sharing all of your ideas! Keep them coming– and way to go on your own fitness goals! I’m inspired to do better here.

  40. I also have loved your posts. They have been helping me and already I feel stronger and am fitting differently in my clothes! The scale refuses to budge, but I’m just trying to tell myself to be consistent and not give up! Have you ever tried the “KIND” bars? I love those and get a big box at Sam’s. The dark chocolate cherry cashew are my favorite, but as I ate the dark chocolate peanut butter one today I thought of you! 😉 Knowing you like peanut butter and chocolate and all…. If you haven’t, you’ll have to give those a shot.

  41. I use the Almond Coconut milk every morning in my green smoothie! It’s my favorite! I also have the same Chobani in my fridge right now….the flips! There is one Flip called “Tropical Escape” that has pineapple, coconut and macadamia nut- kinda like Hawaii in a bowl! Love Chobani!

  42. I use the Almond Coconut milk every morning in my green smoothie! It’s my favorite! I also have the same Chobani in my fridge right now….the flips! There is one Flip called “Tropical Escape” that has pineapple, toasted coconut, granola and hazelnut- kinda like Hawaii in a bowl! Love Chobani!

  43. How many calories do you eat per day? Does it change based on the amount that you exercise? Why do you prefer to have less protein in the liquid that you use to make your protein shake? Right now I only have a protein shake for breakfast (it’s a pro-form brand and has 20 G protein, 20 g of carbs, 10 g of fiber, 6 g of sugar) and I mix it with 2% milk because that’s what my family drinks. Sounds kind of bad compared to yours. I have such a difficult time figuring out how to handle my nutrition. There is so much information out there and it gets overwhelming. Thanks for all of your posts. I love them!

    1. Lindsay, I don’t prefer to have less protein, I just prefer to have less calories in my protein shake because I get more than enough protein in other forms during the day and it keeps my calories in check. Yours is great! I sometimes make mine with milk as well. My calories vary depending on a variety of things, and it’s really different for everyone, but usually between 1500-1900.

  44. Since the focus is on health, nutrition and fitness – it would be nice to see product recommendations for non GMO foods and organic foods. I personally do not believe processed and/or pesticide sprayed foods are healthy for me even if they have less sugar or are lower in calories or have more fiber.

    1. Sara wrote a disclaimer on that… We all have different standards that we can live with. She can’t recommend what she doesn’t use.

    2. Catherine, I have to stay away from certain foods for medical reasons but there are ways to adapt OBB’s recommendations to accommodate that.
      If you don’t eat processed foods, you can use the same things that are in those foods and make your own. Most of the items in this post could be made at home if you wanted to.
      I’m just glad to see a lifestyle site that doesn’t push the authors’ way of doing things as the only way to live. You have to admit that, overall, the foods and other things we see here are pretty healthy. I’ve found lots of things I can make and eat as is and others that I have to play with by substituting ingredients I can tolerate.
      There is no cooking or lifestyle site anywhere that is going to be perfect for every need you have. If this one isn’t working for you, there are others that offer what you’re asking for. I’m going to stay here myself because Sara and Kate are a lot more fun and forgiving than a lot of other people.

    3. Catherine, I made it very clear in my post that I eat LOTS of fresh, whole, homemade food. I don’t eat all of the things in this post every day, that would be a silly diet. These are all things that I enjoy occasionally, and anyone can enjoy occasionally on a healthy diet.

  45. Catherine!!! Please stop ruining this for Sara and the rest of us! Sara specifically stated that’s not what this post was about. There are plenty of sites for that kind of stuff, but this is so perfect for the rest of us who admire and LOVE Sara. Thank you Sara!!!!

  46. My new healthy favorite is unsweetened vanilla almond milk. We only recently tried the sweetened variety and then I read more about it and took the jump to unsweetened. At 30 calories per cup it’s awesome! And we are usually putting it on sweetened cereal so you don’t even notice. Fiber One is a big favorite here, too!

  47. I use Oat Revolution oatmeal packets mainly becuase of the measuring cup pouch! I’m all about not using more dishes than necessary. I also agree on the Pirate Booty. I buy that and veggie straws “for my kids” all the time. Veggie straws taste delicious with your edamame hummus by the way.

  48. Oh, I’m breathing better after reading this article, Sara. After your fitness article I did think all you ate were celery sticks and drink green smoothies and detox cleansings. I love lots of these items you wrote about. You make me see that this is all doable. Thanks!

  49. I eat that 80 calorie cereal for breakfast almost everyday and I love it! I started counting my calories about three weeks ago because of these awesome posts you have been doing and I have to say 1200 calories adds up quick! I have been exercising a lot more and I have found that I get hungry a lot more often. I love those 100 calorie almonds and I have some 100 calorie popcorn but they just aren’t filling enough for me sometimes. Thanks for the great list, it has given me a few more things to try. I’m going to try and find that almond/coconut milk, I’m lactose intolerant and Lactaid has more calories in it than regular milk. Sorry for the rambling! Thanks for these great posts!

  50. Great list! Thank you 🙂 I should try the oatmeals. I’m not good at eating breakfast. I love Skinny Cow and Outshine. They’re great for taming my sweet tooth!

  51. I love cereal! Oh, I’m glad you said that, because I always feel like it’s kind of…lowbrow or something. I always add in a spoonful of that soy TVP stuff for extra protein. In oatmeal, too, which my husb and I buy the 50 pound bags and mow through just between the two of us. Also, I love the little popsicle fudge pops. I think they’re something ridiculous like 40 calories, and I have one for dessert almost every night after dinner. Great list!

  52. I happened upon the Chobani Coco Loco flips just a couple of weeks ago and was so surprised how yummy it was. It’s my new favorite snack! I also think the Coconut Chobani yogurt is pretty good too. I like that they both have some fat where some of the other flavors don’t since a little fat actually helps satiate you.

  53. Sara,
    This list is kind of freaking me out because of how similar I eat to you! From the chocolate fiber one to the coconut almond breeze in my protein shake which I drink every morning.
    My kids love those breakfast sandwiches. I can seem to figure out the trick to cooking them. I cook the egg and the sausage first and them rotate, flip, rotate until it’s not frozen. I’m sure there’s a better way. Haha. Thanks so much for these posts. They’re sincerely helpful.

  54. That’s a lot of processed food. I bet you would feel even better by cutting these out and replacing with whole foods for snacks.

    1. Just like she said, she tries to eat whole foods as often as she can but sometimes she just needs an easy, real life snack. She made the disclaimer right at the top that this was what her post was about. If you’ve read any of her other fit series posts, you’d know she is quite healthy and feels amazing. Most of us truly appreciate that she keeps it real here as most of us find it necessary to eat the same types of things to keep a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

    2. Erin, I made it very clear in my post that I eat LOTS of whole, homemade food. I don’t eat all of the things in this post every day, that would be a silly diet. These are all things that I enjoy occasionally, and anyone can enjoy occasionally on a healthy diet.

  55. Sara – Thank you so much for posting your story and what works for you. I really appreciate it. I’m going to try your protein shake and will be on a mission tomorrow to get all the ingredients. Where do you typically buy your protein powder?

    1. I’ve bought that brand in vanilla at Walmart.

      Thanks for the post, Sara! I’m ready to kick this baby weight (plus some) to the curb. I was thinking I wanted to get back to my pre-baby weight (lose 30 and still be “overweight”) because there was no way I could get down to my pre-marriage weight (lose 50 and be at a healthy BMI) but you’ve made me think I can really do it.

    1. Oh, and I keep forgetting to ask – does your Costco still stock the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup? Mine here in Atlanta, GA doesn’t carry it anymore! Ahhhhh!

  56. Thanks for the Protein shake suggestion. I am trying to limit my cholesterol which I find makes it hard to get adequate protein and calcium. I don’t want to be “healthy” now at the expense of terrible bones and body later on down the road. I think I’m just going to have to take the plunge to Almond milk.

  57. Thanks for this post! It seems to be the trend on instagram to eat only whole foods. While I totally agree and try my best to eat food in true form, I NEED some quick snacks, and things that I can take with me. It’s not always possible for me to make everything from scratch that I eat. And my kids aren’t the kind to eat edemame, and red pepper sticks in the car. (They do however love Marcona almonds and strawberries. If you haven’t had that almond yet you must. I buy mine at Costco). Anyways…. I really loved this post and these are great buys from the store!

  58. Like so many others I am loving these posts! I have dropped 5 lbs in the last 2 weeks and I am feeling great. My main breakfast is cottage cheese with a banana. I used to hate cottage cheese, but I forced myself to eat it every day for a couple of weeks until I liked it. I also like to eat cottage cheese with potato chips for a salty snack. Please keep up all of these great posts! Your healthy lunches have been a life saver for me!

  59. Great, great, great ideas!!! Thank you so much for your hard work in putting these all together for us. It has given me some great ideas of things for my kids in the morning. Thank you so much!!!

  60. I love all of your ideas! I follow some fitness accounts on Instagram and it’s easy for me to feel so guilty that I haven’t meal prepped chicken and broccoli in perfect little containers. While I like that idea, I like to see simple, quick snacks/treats that I can also incorporate. Plus, I think it helps you have some fun variety in your diet, so you don’t want to quit. I love the Mulitgrain chips from Costco with the single serving 100 calorie guacamole cups, also from Costco. I’m Costco junkie. 🙂

  61. I love that you are real! While I’m trying to eat less processed food, the reality is that I don’t have time to have homemade everything around all the time. Anyway, I’m loving these fit series posts! I’ve been exercising a lot more since you started posting them!

  62. Oh my gosh, I’m hungry! All these things have me salivating. I am definitely a fan of the salty snacks, but ice cream is good too! I like how you guys are always keeping things real 🙂

  63. Thank you so much for these helpful tips. I usually start the day with great, health food… but then I get the munchies and there’s nothing that sounds both good and healthy. When I cave during those 1-2pm cravings, it just goes downhill for the rest of the day! This list helps so much!

  64. I love the Emerald 100 calorie packs of natural almonds & walnuts
    I also love brown rice cakes with a smear of hummus, guacamole or almond butter
    Trader Joe’s Three Layer hummus is amazing!

  65. This is an awesome list. Thank you sooooo much!!!! I’m always in need of healthy snack ideas for me and the kids. Now I wont feel so bad letting them have chips or candy in the afternoon with some of these ideas!

  66. Hi Sara. Love your site! I am a sports dietitian and nutrition coach. I don’t want to come across as being critical in any way, so with that being said, may I make one small suggestion? Post-workout, you actually need more carbs than protein to replenish the glycogen stores you just burned through. Studies show the ideal ratio is 3:1 (carbs: protein) with little or no fat since fat will slow the absorption of the other nutrients getting to your muscles. So, your protein shake is great for other times during the day, but if you are drinking it right after you workout, tweek it just a bit so that your ratios are better. If you use 1/2 a scoop of protein powder (12 g pro), then you need to have 36 grams of carbs. You could easily blend in or eat a banana (30 g carb)and that would bridge the gap. Take it for what it’s worth. I don’t know what your workouts are, but if they are intense, you won’t have as much gusto and energy for those morning workouts, if you aren’t getting the right ratios post-workout.

  67. Our family loves the Skinny Cow treats. My kids often choose those over other ice cream treats. Pirate Booty is also a favorite snack at our place. We’ll have to try some of the other healthier snacks you enjoy. Thanks for the new ideas.

  68. I’ve gotta admit, I love that you are a “real” person and not a vegan all-natural organic no sugar anything all i eat is celery and greek yogurt person. Having viable snack options really makes or breaks it for me, especially salty ones b/c they often get loaded up with too much sodium that is a dealbreaker when you’re trying to be healthier.

  69. Thanks for the link to your archive of healthy meals! I really needed that. This post is just icing on the cake…er, coconut syrup in the shake!! Wow, great ideas! So heartening to see that you eat real food, even food that comes out of crinkly packages (anti-processed food ragers beware!). Looking forward to trying many of your ideas: Skinny Cow, Special K cereal, Luna bars and Jimmy Dean sausages!

  70. I know you don’t need to eat gluten free so why would you, but what would you suggest for breakfast? I can’t handle eating eggs, they make me gag!

  71. I havne’t read all of the comments but if you haven’t tried the Noosa yoghurt it is delicious and similar in Nutrition Facts to Chobani – and my kids and I love it even more!:)

  72. I love these suggestions–thanks for sharing. We love rice cakes at our house with nut butter (depending on what we have at the time) and fruit slices on top. Sometimes I will have one for lunch and it keeps me going all he way until dinner.

  73. I am so happy about this post! It seems so many people have blogs about eating whole….not that that is bad, but I don’t have time to make everything from scratch and create big fresh wonderful meals for 3 meals a day. Not to mention my kids would never eat half the stuff. While I love the idea of being more healthy on what I eat…. I just haven’t been able to embrace this eating. Whole 24/7 thing. But it is really refreshing to get some ideas that are easy and I don’t have to prepare a lot to eat them! Plus my family would even eat them! Yay! Thank you so much! Oh, and where to you get the Angie’s popcorn?

  74. Sara you are so awesome! Congrats on getting fit and healthy! You look awesome! I love your Fit Series posts they are so helpful AND inspirational! I really don’t know how you do all that you do. I started doing INSANITY about 2-3 weeks ago and now that it’s becoming a habit to get up and do a hard workout everyday I am trying to start focusing on my diet more than i used to…slow and steady. These suggestions were so helpful. I always like to hear something someone else likes so I have a good starting point instead of feeling like I might be throwing all of my grocery money down the gutter on questionable items I’ll never actually eat. I have been feeling motivated to get in shape lately but you were the tip of the iceberg that really gave me the final push to do it so THANK YOU! Keep the motivational posts coming!!

  75. I use Juice Plus+ Complete for my protein shakes/smoothies and the new Complete bars are great too! I also really enjoy KIND bars as a snack.

  76. I missed this post! These are all great things to have on-hand because some (a lot) of days when you’re busy you need healthful options that are quick and don’t make you feel deprived. I’m so relieved you didn’t go gf or paleo (selfishly) because I really need to see someone doing it just by eating all food groups in moderation.

  77. I can’t even begin to tell you how inspiring you are to me! I love how real you are and how manageable and non overwhelming your advice is. Thanks also for these real life, real food tips! I’m going to start and finish this!

  78. I’ve purchased and fallen in love with several items on this list over the last month. Thanks for sharing! I’ve lost about 16 pounds in the last couple of months and so much of it is due to your inspiring posts. The day you posted the one about exercise and showed your before & after pics, I put on workout clothes, took some before pics & did an hour of Zumba! I started my weight loss journey right then & there. I feel so much better these days! I’ve still got about 30 pounds to lose but whenever I start feeling frustrated (like at 6 am boot camp & I’m about to puke from doing so many box jumps and Russian twists) or unmotivated, (like when my kids & hubby are eating Oreos & chips for a Sunday snack & I just finished an orange), I think of you and it gives me the push to keep going. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  79. I stumbled across your wonderful posts (looking for christmas gift inspiration)and like so many other people who have commented, have been steadily losing weight through ALL the exact same methods you are talking about. This post made me SOOOOOO seriously jealous though, I’m in Melbourne, Australia and we have none, NONE of these wonderful treats/snacks you love. I’m over baking/creating everything for myself and the kids ( 17months and 3 1/2months) and would love some of the stuff you have shared here (slightly salivating!)

  80. My two year old said the Fiber One chocolate cereal was “terrible.” The skinny cow stuff sure doesn’t hit the spot for me personally…but your recommendation I loved was the pure protein chocolate protein powder. I’ve used their vanilla protein for awhile but have never used their chocolate and it was amazing!!!!! I didn’t have the Coconut Torani syrup but I had vanilla flavored and my smoothie was delicious. I tried the Yasso coconut bars before I saw this post and wasn’t a fan but the pineapple Outshine ones are tasty. Thanks so much!

  81. PS: And when I said the skinny cow stuff doesn’t “hit the spot” I meant they just make me more hungry for sweets. They taste good but I end up eating a couple, which defeats the purpose, because they’re not very satisfying at all.

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