Eating packaged foods is often the most economical option. The problem is, they’re also often the most unhealthy. On top of that, labels are confusing, and even intentionally misleading. You have terms like “50 percent less fat” or “reduced sodium.” But those phrases beg the questions: 50 percent less fat, but how much fat is left? And, reduced sodium… from what level? I realize that it’s simply a matter of reading the labels, but for the average person, the implication of something being healthier by subtraction seems to validate the product. Not so.
There’s help on the way.
A group of health experts from Women’s Health magazine were asked to take on an exhaustive four-month mission going up and down supermarket aisles to examine as many prepackaged foods as they could, and then deduct which are the best choices.
And how exhaustive was the group’s research? Well, they picked a grand total of 125 packaged foods that they deem fit for consumption. The list comes with a handy color-coded guide indicating the health benefits derived from each food, including fighting cancer, muscle building, bone building, fighting heart disease and promoting weight loss. They’re also broken down into categories aligning with grocery aisles: drinks, cereals, pasta/rice, fruits/veggies, etc. You can see the whole list at MSN.com, but here we show you the top choice from each category.
Drinks — Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice with Calcium & Vitamin D. One 8 oz. glass has 110 calories. Fights cancer, heart disease and builds bones.
Bread and Cereal — Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Double Fiber 100 percent Whole Wheat. One slice has 100 calories. Fights heart disease and promotes weight loss.
Pasta and Rice — Ronzoni Smart Taste Rotini. One 2 oz. serving has 180 calories. Promotes weight loss, fights heart disease, and builds muscles and bones.
Fruits and Vegetables — Del Monte Tropical Fruit Salad in Lightly Sweetened Fruit Juice. One cup has 80 calories. Promotes weight loss and fights cancer.
Frozen Foods — Lean Cuisine Grilled Chicken Primavera. One package has 220 calories. Promotes weight loss.
Frozen Treats — Klondike Slim-a-Bear 100-Calorie Sandwiches. One sandwich has just 100 calories. Promotes weight loss.
Snacks — Lara Bar. One apple pie bar has 180 calories. Fights cancer and heart disease.
Meat and Fish — Coleman Organic Breaded and Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Strips. A two-strip serving has 130 calories. Promotes weight loss and builds muscle.
Sweets — Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies. One cookie has 130 calories. Fights heart disease.
Dairy — Reddi-Wip Original Whipped Light Cream. A one tablespoon serving has 15 calories. Promotes weight loss.
Condiments — Hellmann’s Mayonnaise with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. One tablespoon has 60 calories. Promotes weight loss and fights heart disease.