21 Healthiest Packaged Foods

Prevention.com's 2011 best packaged food award winners.

ByABC News
February 28, 2011, 5:23 PM

March 1, 2011 — -- With today's busy lifestyles, we can't always make nutritious meals from scratch. But luckily, there are some great packaged foods on the market that you can feel good about eating and serving. Prevention.com ranked their favorites.

Imagine a weeknight meal without at least one packaged item (think frozen veggies and a box of pasta). We want to give our readers the healthiest, most delicious options for the meals they're actually cooking every night.

Prevention.com asked registered dietitians and food bloggers for their favorite new and healthy packaged foods, editor-in-chief Diane Salvatore told "GMA." The magazine tasted (and tasted) and then compiled a list of top choices -- 21 in all. Each one not only tastes terrific, but all are trans fat-free, lower in sodium and sugar than their competitors, and are chock-full of key nutrients.


Best Cereal: Ambrosial Venetian Vineyard Granola

Why it's a winner: This sweet and crunchy organic granola wowed our taste buds with its combination of walnuts, dates, and raisins. It packs in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and 28 g of whole grains and has no added oil.

Healthy highlights: Though it's a little caloric, at 230 calories and 7 g of fat per 1/2 cup serving, it contains 5 g of fiber, 6 g of protein, and 10% of your daily dose of iron.

Try it: Over yogurt or mixed with fat-free milk and fruit. One blogger we talked to adds it to oatmeal or uses it to make a delicious trail mix.

Best Yogurt: Chobani Lemon 0% Greek Yogurt

Why it's a winner: Creamy and decadent, the new flavor of this über-popular yogurt brand will practically have you licking the carton. Its not-too-sweet citrus taste satisfies while still providing all the nutritional benefits of Greek yogurt.

Healthy highlights: This nonfat yogurt contains 140 calories and provides you with nearly one-third of your daily intake of protein as well as 15% of your daily calcium.

Try it: For breakfast, as a snack or, heck, mix it with a teaspoon of honey for dessert.

Best Oatmeal: Country Choice Organic Instant Oatmeal With Flax

Why it's a winner: You'd never guess that these convenient, creamy oats come from a packet. And with just two ingredients—whole grain rolled oats and flaxseed—you know you're starting the day with a healthy, fiber-filled breakfast.

Healthy highlights: This on-the-go packet contains 110 calories and 2 g of fat, 3 g of fiber, and 4 g of protein. The addition of flaxseeds gives you 10% of your daily dose of ALA omega-3s.

Try it: Mixed with fruit and nut butter, or try mixing uncooked oats in Greek yogurt for a smooth yet crunchy snack.


Best Cheese: Sargento Sliced Reduced-Sodium Pepper Jack Cheese

Why it's a winner: It's hard to cut down on salt without cutting down on flavor. But this reduced sodium cheese has a deliciously bold taste that will add a kick to a lackluster turkey sandwich or bring zesty flavor to your next taco night.

Healthy highlights: With 70 calories, 6 g of fat, and 90 mg of sodium, this cheese is diet friendly. Plus you get 15 percent of the bone-building calcium you need daily in each slice.

Try it: Make your grilled cheese spicier by using a slice, or use it on an Egg and Cheese Sandwich!