There is never a time of year when it does not pay to be eating with healthy habits in mind. But, contrary to popular belief, healthy foods can also have a great taste to them. In turn, there is no shortage of interesting new food options that manage to be nutritious and delicious — and often fun, too.
I had the pleasure of attending the “Editor Showcase: Health & Nutrition” at New York City’s Marriott Marquis earlier this month. In turn, I had the opportunity to get an exclusive look at some of the newest launches from leading brands in the health and wellness industries.
Below are some of my recommendations from that event, in addition to other brands you ought to pay attention to when visiting Life Spring Health Foods & Juice Bar, Bonne Sante Health Foods, Southtown Health Foods, Whole Foods, or whatever your Chicago health-oriented food market of choice is.
The story behind Orgain is nothing short of miraculous or inspirational. Orgain’s first healthy food brand was modeled after the organic nutrition shakes Andrew — now Dr. Andrew Abraham — and his mom blended years ago during his cancer treatments. Expect “clean nutrition” yet with vanilla and chocolate flavorings in shake, bar and powder form. Orgain’s products are kosher, non-GMO, organic, and/or gluten-free.
Wünder Creamery launched in April 2018, properly introducing quark — a cultured dairy staple that has been enjoyed throughout Europe and Central Asia for centuries — to the States. The company’s quark is made using whole milk from grass-fed cows on small family farms, steering clear of artificial additives, sweeteners and gums. For reference to those not yet familiar with quark, think “non-tart yogurt meets rich crème fraîche.” Wünder’s quark is full of flavor, packed with protein, low in sugar and powered by probiotics.
True Citrus is the maker of True Lemon and True Lime food brands, crystallized citrus products made with only simple ingredients to provide refreshing, tasty options to enhance the flavor of plain water. Conveniently available in packet form, the products — which are non-GMO — contain no artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives, gluten or sodium, helping people who lead active lifestyles stay hydrated in delicious fashion.
Melora is committed to helping people live healthier lives via the powerful healing properties of the Manuka plant. Used for centuries by the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand, the full healing potential of Manuka is still being discovered today. Melora is leading its industry in product research and development, harnessing the purist honey foraged in the remote East Cape of New Zealand while also producing the highest potency.
Adams Apple Eatables
A native of rural Illinois, Theresa Adams is the creator of Adams Apple Mercantile and its Adams Apple Eatables brand. She created her first recipe while in college, canning apple butter as Christmas gifts for family and friends. The annual tradition continued, and as fate would have it, she married an “Adams.”
Over 20 years and thousands of homemade jars later, Adams has an award-winning healthy food brand. Among the varieties offered beyond standard Apple Butter are Apple Pie Jam, Cranberry Butter, Pumpkin Butter, and Strawberry Vanilla Jam. Those seeking unsweet fare can also check out the Adams Apple Chow Chow, a Southern-style relish.
Planet Oat Milk
Planet Oat Milk is a new plant-based milk offering available from HP Hood LLC, perhaps better known in the dairy aisle as Hood. This rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage is slightly-sweet — with no added sugar — while also dairy-free, peanut-free, soy-free and gluten-free. Planet Oat is enjoyable by the glass, in cereal, in coffee, and great for cooking. Currently, the only oat milk brand offering a Dark Chocolate flavor; the Dark Chocolate flavor has a little bit of sugar added, but not enough to be concerned about.
Long-time makers of “America’s favorite tofu,” House Foods America has been around for over 35 years. The company which acquired El Burrito Mexican Food Products, a leading healthy Mexican food brand, in 2012 — makes products rooted in a wonderful low-calorie, low-carb noodle substitute known as Shirataki. This includes alternatives to spaghetti, fettuccine, macaroni, angel hair pasta, and ramen.
Yonanas helps bridge the gap between healthy, tasty and fun. Its easy kitchen gadget instantly transforms frozen fruit into soft-serve textured treats. In turn, your snacks are dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and egg-free. Furthermore, they will have no added sugar or artificial ingredients. This healthy brand has both “Classic” and “Elite” varieties, both of which are easy to clean and come with warranties for U.S. and Canadian customers.
PlantFusion’s products are 100 percent plant-based, nutrient-dense, and allergen-free. Its product line includes protein powders, meal replacements, ready-to-drink shakes, and plant-based collagen. The brand’s latest products are its Complete Plant Collagen Builder and Complete Plant Keto Blend. PlantFusion — which currently has a “Fit In 40” challenge going on — offers free shipping on orders over $75, for those who prefer to shop online.
These days, there is no shortage of Internet-based companies that can ship you an easy-to-make meal kit. However, Purple Carrot stands apart from its meal-minded peers in offering plant-based meal kits. Among the outlets that have written favorably about Purple Carrot as of this article’s drafting are Eater, Forbes, Inc., Fast Company and Thrillist. There are options for “Quick & Easy” (30-minutes-or-less offerings), “High Protein” (protein-packed meals) and “Chef’s Choice” (more gourmet offerings) while shipping is free and meal selections can be mixed and matched each week.
Valentine’s Day may behind us, but chocolate is a year-round culinary delight for just about everyone. Made from premium cocoa beans sweetened with their exclusive monk fruit and fiber blend, ChocZero’s Premium Sugar Free Chocolate Squares are ten-to-a-bag and each square has 1 net carb. The squares — which are non-GMO, gluten-free and kosher beyond being keto-friendly — come in both 50 percent and 70 percent Dark Chocolate varieties. The beans are sourced from South America, yet the product is properly made in the USA.
Known as “America’s #1 better-for-you pizza,” CAULIPOWER was a major fixture of the most recent National Pizza Day. The brand — which has a big fan in former Chicago resident Halle Berry — makes vitamin-rich and naturally gluten-free pizza options that are far lower in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium than traditional fare. Inarguably the #1 cauliflower crust pizza, #1 gluten-free pizza and fastest growing pizza brand in the U.S., CAULIPOWER was founded by Gail Becker, a mother of two sons with Celiac Disease. Every CAULIPOWER purchase benefits OneSun, a program installing edible teaching gardens in underserved public schools.
X2 Energy is based in science with nearly 10 years in research and development. The company began by formulating a patented performance-enhancing supplement. From there it created X2, a great-tasting, all-natural energy drink for all day, every day, healthy living. The beverage is currently available in all Subway restaurants across the United States, 7-Eleven stores in select areas of U.S., and regionally in more than 50 retailers. Per its website, more than 15 teams across the 4 major American sports leagues currently enjoy X2 products.
True Salt Co.
Founded by Phoenix entrepreneurs Brian Pierce and Kelly C. Egan., the True Salt Co.’s mission is to create a cleaner, better, and tastier salt. With its natural harvesting process, True Salt is the all-natural, unrefined way to get the nutrients and flavor from salt without chemicals or additives. Unlike iodized salts that are refined and processed, True Salt’s offerings contain no chemicals or anti-caking agents and are never bleached. The salt is harvested by hand from the Sea of Cortez through a process of solar evaporation that extracts the sea salt from these waters. In turn, this method is both natural and sustainable — and has zero impact on the environment. The company’s salt is currently favored by Phoenix-area resorts (e.g. The Phoenician) and restaurants (e.g. True Food Kitchen, Mora Italian) in a big way.
Moon Cheese is an all-natural snack with the crunch of a chip yet its only ingredient is cheese. Moon Cheese is also keto-friendly, non-perishable, gluten-free and entirely made of cheese. Its poppable cheese balls — as available at Whole Foods, Starbucks, Publix, Target and Rite-Aid alike — make for fantastic protein-packed snacks in their own right, yet they can be easily added to a salad, soup, chili, or pasta. Moon Cheese is currently available in the following flavor varieties: Gouda, Pepper Jack, Chedda, and Sriracha.
No Sugar Aloud
Created by professional chef Rodolfo Fernandes, No Sugar Aloud manifested when Fernandes changed over to a healthier lifestyle but still craved a good dessert. Seeking something low in both carbs and sugar, which was empty of a bitter fake aftertaste, Fernandes was inspired to create something entirely on his own. In turn, No Sugar Aloud provides an indulgent chocolate dessert with benefits that everybody could eat without any guilt. First up was a Belgian Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter Brownie Mix, and most launched unveiled was a Coconut Yuzu Golden Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache. These products are not only low-carb with no sugar added, but they are also gluten-free, vegan and diabetic-friendly.
MinusCal is the first protein-packed snack bar crafted with Choleve, an all-natural ingredient that blocks the absorption of some calories from fat. To be a little more specific, Choleve is our proprietary blend of fermented tea extract that works by blocking the absorption of fat in the small intestine. In turn, expect to feel full after snacking on some MinusCal. Flavor offerings include Peanut Butter With Chocolate Chips, Apple Cinnamon, and Chocolate With Chocolate Chips.
American Heritage Chocolate
A division of the Mars Wrigley Confectionery, American Heritage Chocolate was conceived of and crafted by a dedicated team of historians. The result of painstaking years of research by a multidisciplinary team of more than 115 experts from around the globe, American Heritage Chocolate produces Tasting Squares, Tablet Bars, Finely Grated Chocolate, and Gourmet Hot Cocoa. Also, all of those products are kosher and Rain Forest Alliance Certified. The brand recently unveiled the third installment of its A Day Without Chocolate video series, which explains what the world would be like if chocolate had never been “discovered,” in addition to how chocolate was used from its inception over 3,500 years ago up through its earliest days in Colonial America.
Ultima Replenisher aims to replace electrolytes and help you hydrate healthy. The Replenisher is made with all 6 balanced electrolytes in addition support minerals, real fruit flavors, and plant-based colors. It is sweetened naturally with organic stevia leaf extract and is free of sugar, carbs, and calories beyond being Non-GMO Project Verified, certified vegan, paleo-friendly, keto-friendly and gluten-free.
Veroni — as supported by the Italian cooperation ProSus — recently developed an innovative QR Code system which allows access to accurate information on the product ensuring complete traceability of the supply chain: from the breeding to the processing plant, up to those involved in the final stages of slicing. Craft aside, its salami has also been unique in terms of its overall taste and quality for almost 100 years. Veroni expanded its U.S. presence further in 2018, after successful meetings with American buyers in Parma and New Orleans. In turn, an authentic Italian product is gradually expanding within the American market, much to the appreciation of those seeking top-notch cured meats.
Featured Image Credit: Wünder Creamery