When you’re on the hunt for healthy vegan foods, grocery shopping can feel like a nightmare. Misleading labels make unhealthy snacks seem healthy, and healthy foods nearly invisible. We’ve put together a list of Costco products that are — and aren’t — good for you. Here are the food you should snag the next time you shop — and those you should leave on the shelf.
Worst: Chex Mix Traditional Snack Mix
When hunting for something plant-based to snack on, this box might catch your eye. Unfortunately, Chex Mix isn’t as healthy as you want it to be. There are 210 calories and 380 milligrams of sodium per serving. Even though these snack mixes are technically vegan — containing zero animal products such as dairy or meat products — it’s not the best snack choice.
Best: Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus Pumpkin Flax Granola Cereal
You sometimes have to be careful when buying granola and other cereals, because they’re often loaded with added sugars. This vegan granola-based cereal seems to pass the test, though. Granted, there’s still a lot of sugar in this product. However, you also get 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per serving, which tops many other cereal products probably already in your pantry.
Worst: Kirkland Signature Organic Grains
Ancient grains have soared in popularity over the past few years, even though — as their name implies — they’ve been around for centuries. Unfortunately, just because there are healthy grains in your food doesn’t mean that food is good for you. There’s a lot of sugar in this granola — way more than you need. This cereal’s “organic” label doesn’t help much, either. It’s organic — but it doesn’t belong in your shopping cart.
Best: Sid Wainer & Son Fresh Fall Vegetable Assortment
It’s probably unsurprising that vegetables, especially when you’re following a vegan diet, are some of the most important foods you can buy at Costco. If you’re looking for convenience, and fewer excuses to skip preparing veggies at dinnertime, you’re in luck. This assortment of fresh vegetables allows you to enjoy your veggies with minimal effort.
Worst: Ocean Spray Craisins
Any packaged, easily edible fruit probably seems appealing. Fruit is good for you no matter the form, right? Not quite. When you eat these dried cranberries, for example, you’re also swallowing 29 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup serving. For the record, that’s a lot of sugar — 29 of the 33 grams of carbohydrates. Dried fruit contains added sugars to give it a better flavor. Fresh cranberries would prove a much better option.
Best: Kirkland Signature Pecan Halves
You’ve probably heard that nuts aren’t good for you because they’re high in calories and fat. However, there are much worse snacks out there — and you might really benefit from the protein and healthy fats. These packaged nuts contain very low amounts of sugar and sodium, which usually veers health enthusiasts away. Grab a bag and see if you like them.
Worst: Made In Nature Organic Dried Fruit
Once again, the organic label proves a little bit misleading — if you’re convinced organic automatically means healthy. This brand of dried fruit is so sugar-packed it should really contain a warning label (unfortunately, warning labels for sugar don’t exist.) There are 17 grams of sugar per serving in the apple cinnamon variety alone. Its low fiber and protein content don’t make up for it, either.
Best: S&W Organic Premium Black Beans
Beans are some of the healthiest plant foods you can eat. When eliminating animal products from you’re diet, protein and fiber become some of the most essential nutrients you need to make sure you’re including in your diet. These black beans are low in calories, sodium, and sugar. You’ll get 8 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup serving when you add these to your plate as a side dish.
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