For me, grocery shopping's mostly an on-the-run, in-and-out Saturday errand. Quick-trip food shopping leaves me little-to-no time to read packaged product ingredient lists and places me in at a disadvantage when it comes to selecting the healthiest options.
So I appreciate it when Prevention magazine does the work for me and comes up with its cleanest foods awards. To qualify, foods must contain no genetically modified ingredients; must have no more than 10 grams of added sugar or less than 200 milligrams of sodium per serving; all cans must be BPA-free; all fish must be sustainable, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium criteria and definitely must be absolutely delicious.
Some winning brands you may have never heard of while others on the list may surprise you.
Among the products that surprised me: Smuckers Organic Peanut Butter, Heinz organic ketchup, Kerrygold pure Irish butter and Morningstar Farms breakfast patties made with organic soy.
I was happy to see some of my favorites on the list, including: Organic Prairie grass-fed ground beef 85/15 (higher in fat than I'd like, but great flavor and makes a terrific healthy burger), Bionature whole wheat pasta (cooked in lots of water for the right amount of time produces a pasta that tastes as good or better than some of the best standard pastas), Organic Valley pasture butter (tastes so good you can easily use less), Organic Girl's fresh herbs and greens (its romaine makes my salads sing), Green Valley Organics lactose-free kefir, plain (in my fridge right now, and tastes great for my breakfast with organic fruit and sweetened with organic stevia), Applegate Farms organic roasted turkey breast (with sliced farmers market tomatoes and organic romaine on whole-grain bread is the best sandwich), Applegate Farm's The Great Organic Beef Hot Dog (not a Vienna dog, but it still will leave you smiling), Applegate Farms organic Sunday bacon (terrific taste with little guilt) and Bob's Red Mill chia seed (if you're into the Aztec diet, this is one of the best).
For better-for-you snacking, Prevention gives a nod to Horizon Organic reduced fat cream cheese, Wholly Guacamole's organic guacamole, Tribe's organic roasted hummus, Better Bean's wholly chipotle bean dip and Muir Glen's organic salsa as well as Kettle's Bakes sea salted potato chips, Newman's Own Organic honey wheat pretzel rounds and Mary's Gone Crackers (gluten- and wheat-free).
Gimme Coffee! organic beans, Tipu's organic Indian chai slow-brew tea and Whole Foods' 365 coconut water came up winners in the beverage category. For dairy alternatives, Prevention stands behind Pacific Natural Foods organic almond milk, Silk Pure Coconutmilk, WESTSOY organic unsweetened soymilk and Whole Foods 365 organic rice milk.
I don't have room to include all 100 products on Prevention's Eat Clean list, but you can see them all at prevention.com.
Try this recipe: For this amazingly moist and delicious cake I started with David Leite's take on Hershey's Cocoa Chocolate Cake and I headed to the dark side via Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. I also did away with Leite's frosting (and its two sticks of butter) and ended up with cake that's several thousand calories lighter; yet one of the best I've ever tasted.
• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.