Myths vs. Facts: Exposing Five Common Misconceptions Around Processed Foods 

“Processed food is not real food.” 

A processed food is any food that is changed from its natural state. This means any food that is cut, chopped, cooked, frozen, dried, salted, fermented, or altered in any way is considered a processed food. Thus, frozen vegetables, bread, and yogurt are all considered processed food. And, while some processed foods may be more heavily changed than others, all processed food starts from a natural (real) plant or animal. 

“You should avoid all processed foods.” 

It is not necessary to avoid processed foods, nor is it recommended by registered dietitian nutritionists or other health professionals. Processing can make food products more nutritious and palatable, ensure they are safe to eat for longer periods of time, as well as more affordable and accessible. It also allows us to eat healthy foods which we would not normally be able to eat or even digest, if not processed, such as tofu, beans, pulses and legumes, or oatmeal. Avoiding all processed foods also means a life without coffee, chocolate, and wine. 

“Processed foods contain no nutritional value.” 

Not all processed foods are created equal. Some processed foods, even those classified as ultra-processed, are low in sugar, fat, and sodium and considered healthy. Think of canned fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, and soymilk. Other foods can actually increase in nutritional value due to processing. For example, canning increases the bioavailability of a beneficial nutrient called lycopene in tomatoes while fortified cereals and breads often have iron, folic acid, B-vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients added to them to boost their nutritional value.   

“Processed foods negatively impact health.” 

In August 2023, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed a nutrient-dense, healthy diet consisting of more than 90% of total calories from ultra-processed foods that aligned with 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and scored more than 25 points higher on the diet quality scale than the average American’s typical diet. It included foods such as flour tortillas, rotisserie chicken, and dried apricots. This proves that following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Find out more about how the guidelines can help reduce the risk of chronic diet-related disease and promote a healthier lifestyle on their website

There are no benefits to buying or eating ultra-processed food.” 

Some ultra-processed foods offer many benefits. From a nutritional perspective, certain processed and ultra-processed foods contain key nutrients which are often overlooked in a typical diet, such as dietary fiber. For those with a limited income, ultra-processed foods offer a faster and lower-cost way to get dinner on the table. Some people prefer the taste of ultra-processed foods compared to other less processed alternatives. In fact, according to a 2023 consumer Food and Health Survey, convenience, affordability, shelf-life, and taste are the most positive aspects of processed food. These are also likely the main reasons why the survey found 8 in 10 consumers keep processed foods in their household.   

Are Ultra-processed Foods like The Dirty Dozen? 

Annually, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) develops the “Dirty Dozen” list – made up of fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, spinach, apples, and blueberries that are deemed as containing dangerous amounts of pesticide residues. This fear-based approach not only conveys the false idea that conventional produce is unsafe to eat, but it also indirectly encourages people to remove the exact foods that registered dietitian nutritionists are trying to have people eat more of. In fact, the health benefits of eating washed, fresh produce far outweighs the risk of pesticide exposure.   

Like the Dirty Dozen, removing ultra-processed foods from your diet can have an effect similar to missing out on healthy foods which can lead to unintentional negative consequences. The key is to read nutrition/ingredient labels and choose ultra-processed foods that are low in fat, saturated fat, sugar, sodium, calories, and contain nutritious ingredients.

Here are four ways ultra-processed foods can help you stay healthy and even improve your diet:  

High-Fiber Foods – Many canned beans are considered ultra-processed and while fresh dried beans are available, few people have the time to make them from scratch. If sodium is a concern, be sure to rinse the beans before preparing. Whole grain breads are another common way consumers get their fiber and one of the easiest ways not only to increase fiber intake but to also add more fiber variety to the diet. 

Non-Dairy Milk – Through advances in technology and food processing, plant-based alternative milks such as soymilk, almond milk, or oat milk, are now available. Additionally, some of these options are low in saturated fat which means they are a better choice for those people with heart disease or those watching their cholesterol. Vegans who avoid animal-based foods can appreciate ultra-processed non-dairy products.  

Convenience – Convenience foods can be a life-saver for busy families and singles on-the-go and are often a major purchase driver in the retail store. Choosing convenient foods like cheese, crackers, frozen pizza, and hummus are easy and nutritious options that can be quickly put on the table. However, time isn’t the only reason people choose convenience foods; taste and ease of preparation are other major decisive factors.  

Affordability – While taste is the number one reason why people purchase a certain food, cost is a close second (followed by convenience). For some, ultra-processed foods like peanut butter, fruited-yogurt, frozen vegetables, and flavored oatmeal, make up the bulk of their diet. Others use these foods to complement and balance higher cost proteins or side items. 

Mindful Meals: Reducing Food Waste  

There are many definitions of sustainability, but the most common is providing for the needs of the present (the people, the planet and the economy) without hurting the needs of future generations (like harming the environment or natural resources). While this may seem like a lofty goal for the average person, there is one thing you can do that does make a difference: reduce food waste.  

Experts say the average American wastes about 30-40 percent of the US food supply. This amounts to roughly 325 pounds of food wasted per person per year, or nearly 1 pound per day. For single people or those with small households, that number is even higher. Why? Because people who live alone tend to buy more food than they need, which leads to higher food waste. If you fit in this category, what should you do?  

Here are three ways to reduce food waste in your household:  

Buy foods with a longer shelf life – Processed packaged, canned, or frozen foods can often stay for longer periods of time on the shelf or in the refrigerator. In fact, the average US shopper shops at a grocery store only about 1-2 times per week, so having foods that last through the week is a must. Consider keeping staples on hand like peanut butter and jelly, a loaf of sliced bread, cereal, and canned fish, chicken, or beans. All of these can make a quick, simple, and easy weeknight meal or light supper.  

Be more efficient in the kitchen – Meal planning and/or prepping in advance saves time, money, and often ensures you have a satisfying meal on the table even on busy nights. Write up a menu and stick to it. Use pantry and refrigerator staples you already have open in your fridge like jarred pesto, olives, salsa, roasted peppers, salad dressing, marinades, or sauces to dress up your meals. You may also want to create one meal around a specific convenience food like chicken tenders, frozen pizza, canned soup, or fried fish sticks. Then supplement the entrée with fresh or frozen vegetables and/or a green salad.    

Make friends with your freezer – The best way to prevent food waste is to serve only what you want to eat and freeze the rest for another meal. Think about cooking a big batch of soup, stew, or a casserole, then portion it out in individual containers and freeze. For a complete meal, include all the sides like a starch or vegetable. This way all you have to do is pull out the meal from the freezer in the morning, place it in the fridge, then thaw, heat, and serve for a quick ready-made dinner after work.  

Stocking Up on Convenience: The 10 Must-Have Foods for Your Kitchen  

Shelf-stable foods ensure the availability of high-quality, and great-tasting food. With increased food prices, stocking-up on these long-lasting healthy foods is good for your family and wallet. Food additives such as antioxidants and preservatives play a crucial role in making products shelf-stable by preventing or slowing down the spoilage and deterioration processes. Here is a list of the top ten, budget-friendly foods to keep in your kitchen:

  • Canned or Dried Beans – Beans are high in fiber, full of plant protein, contain several vitamins and minerals, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes: red beans, black beans, white beans, etc. They can be paired with a starch, like rice or pasta, to make a quick and satisfying meal. Draining and rinsing canned beans will reduce the salt (sodium) content by 45-50%. They make for a convenient and shelf-stable product that can be stored at room temperature for an extended period of time. Dried beans are easy to prepare with water on the stove or in a crock pot. 
  • Plain Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt contains as much as 17 grams of protein per serving, compared with around 9 grams in regular yogurt, and is a good source of calcium. Greek yogurt with probiotics can aid with gut health. It is a good snack or light meal that can be combined with fresh or canned fruit, nuts, or seeds.
  • Fortified Cereals – Fortified cereals are a good source of many essential B vitamins and can also give you an added boost of fiber. Choose low sugar, high fiber varieties for the most nutritional value. Fortified cereals remain safe and nutritious for an extended period without the need for refrigeration as a result of the ingredients used, the manufacturing processes and the packaging techniques.
  • Nut Butters – Nuts, seeds, and legumes (like peanut butter) provide a wealth of nutrients. In addition to the plant protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and good fats, these foods supply hard-to-get nutrients like iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Spread these butters on bread with jam or jelly for a quick, nutritious, and satisfying meal or snack. 
  • Canned or Pouched Tuna or Salmon – In addition to being high in protein and beneficial omega-3 fats, canned or pouched tuna and salmon are also good sources of vitamin D and great for heart health. If you are concerned about sodium, rinse the seafood before eating or buy a low sodium version. Avoid purchasing tuna or salmon packed in oil to lower the added fat. 
  • Bagged Salads – Easy and convenient, bagged salads are a great way to get your veggies with a lot less work. Combine it with your favorite dressing and throw in some protein like chicken, beans, or fish for a complete meal. If you want an even easier meal, try buying a complete salad meal kit, but use the salad dressing sparingly to keep calories low. 
  • Plant-Based Milks – Plant-based milks are a great option for people who can’t digest cow’s milk. Common examples include soy, almond, oat, coconut, cashew, and others. High in protein, potassium, and beneficial plant compounds, soy milk is a nutritional powerhouse. Be sure to purchase plant-based milk that has been fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients normally found in cow’s milk. 
  • Tofu – Like soy milk, tofu is an excellent source of plant protein and rich in vitamins, minerals, as well as healthy unsaturated fats. Firm tofu is great in stir-fries or grilled as a meat replacement, while soft tofu can be used in place of cheese in dishes like lasagna or scrambled like eggs. 
  • Tomato Sauce – Tomato sauce is most well-known for its high lycopene content. Lycopene is a good-for-you antioxidant, which gives tomato sauce its red color, and is thought to have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and some cancers. There are different factors that help make tomato sauce shelf-stable such as the method of canning, tomato’s natural acidity, adjusting pH levels, and the packaging methods used to help maintain the integrity of the sauce. Tomato sauce is a favorite on pasta and used in a multitude of dishes. Be sure to purchase a lower sodium option, or make from scratch using herbs instead of added salt. 
  • Frozen Dinners – While not all frozen foods are created equally, there are many healthy options. Choose meals that are low in fat, low in added sugar and salt, are high in fiber, and loaded with vegetables. Frozen dinners are designed to be stored in the freezer to preserve their quality and safety, making them suitable for long-term storage. Keep them as a backup when time is short and nothing is planned. 

Fact vs. Opinion: What You Need to Know About Nutrition Research  

It seems like everywhere you turn there is a different nutrition story making headlines. Whether in mainstream media or on social channels, consumers are inundated with information on the latest and greatest study often telling you to eat this or avoid that. But how do you know if a study is based on reliable data, anecdotal information, or simply a sensationalized headline? One part of the problem is that nutrition science is not linear: it is complex and often oversimplified when reported because it is ever-changing and involves multiple factors that are sometimes difficult to control and track. Regardless, there are things you can do to unravel fact from fiction and navigate the tide of information. Here are the top eight things you should look for when evaluating nutrition research:  

  1. Source of the Study – First, make sure the study was published in a reputable, peer-reviewed scientific journal. Peer review is extremely important because it involves experts digging into the data to ensure the conclusions are valid. Studies that are not peer-reviewed or unpublished data are not considered trustworthy. To double check, visit Valid scientific research can be published by any number of organizations including government agencies, academic institutions, nonprofits, and food and beverage companies. Typical credible scientific websites end in .edu, .gov, and .org. It’s important to notice the date of the study as well. 
  2. Check for References – Look at who conducted the study. Generally, you want credentialed nutrition scientists with a PhD, RD, or DSc, and with experience in the area they are researching.  
  3. Population – Nutrition studies can be done on humans (clinical or population based), in animals (all types), or in cells, sometimes called in vitro, in a lab. It is very difficult and in most cases not appropriate to make assumptions about humans from animal or cell research. It is important to always look for human and/or population studies first. 
  4. Study Type and Size – First, it is important to check the size of the study and study type. Often the sample size of a study is referred to as “n”. Be aware that most nutrition studies are observational in nature. Observational studies are large in size and easier to conduct but are subject to confounding (conflicts in the results) while clinical or control studies are usually smaller, more challenging to conduct, and have less risk of confounding. There are: 
  • Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT): studies that measure the effectiveness of a new intervention or treatment and are considered the gold standard for nutrition research. However, conducting them is expensive and requires a high level of scientific rigor. 
  • Cohort studies: a type of longitudinal study that tracks a defined population of research participants over a period of time. 
  • Cross-sectional studies: a type of observational study that collects and evaluates data from many individuals at a single point in time.  
  • Case control studies: observational study in which two groups with different health outcomes or disease states (i.e., one with heart disease and one without) are identified and compared related to diet.  
  • Systematic reviews: summaries of the scientific literature already published on a specific topic. 
  1. Correlation vs. Causation – It is important to note that most nutrition studies are observational in nature and therefore can only point out correlations. Observational studies do not prove causation or cause and effect. Consequently, a certain food or diet may be associated with a specific outcome or disease, but it is unlikely a research study will prove causation. This is largely because many other factors may influence the outcome. If a conclusion is drawn, be sure to identify whether the finding was statistically significant. Please keep this in mind when reading research.  
  2. Data Collection – Nutrition research often relies on 24-hour dietary recalls or food frequency questionnaires. This type of data has a high rate of error because test subjects can pick what they want to report or omit. The best studies look at large populations and control for many factors to minimize error. Be sure the data is comparing similar items in the control versus the intervention/experimental group.  
  3. Communicated without Bias – All studies should evaluate both the potential strengths and weaknesses of the research, which should lead to a further study in the future. Beware that the researcher is not overstating the positive or negative results of a study. Most studies should have a clear next step or research project. Look for research that is communicated with balance and accuracy. Researchers should identify possible study design flaws in their discussion section so readers understand the potential for inaccurate results. 
  4. The Body of Literature – Nutrition recommendations are based on the body of evidence, which includes both observational and intervention studies as well as human (population-based and single studies), animal, and cell data. What does the totality of the literature say? If only one study contradicts the weight of the evidence, carefully review before jumping to conclusions.  

Tips to Reduce Trips to the Grocery Store: How to Save Time & Money  

Does it seem like you’re taking endless trips to the grocery store? While you may not be able to avoid some, you can reduce the number of trips you make while also saving yourself time and money. It is estimated that more than one-third of the global food supply is wasted each year due to spoilage and expired products. To put it in perspective, that is almost 1.3 billion tons of food worldwide. Help reduce your carbon footprint and save money with these helpful tips from our experts: 

  1. Shop for Your Pantry – The first step of any successful grocery store trip is to shop for your favorite pantry staples. Many of these foods are located in the center of the store. They include nutritious items like beans, rice, tuna, and canned foods. These foods have a longer shelf life and lower rates of spoilage due to common food additives and ingredients along with the process of being dried or canned. As a result, they are a great way to stretch a dollar and can be a lifesaver particularly when time is short and stomachs are growling. 
  1. Look for Products with Longer Expiration Dates – The second step for ultimate success is to shop for products that have lengthy expiration dates. Your favorite foods probably fall into this category: peanut butter, yogurt, salad dressings, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, olives, and salsa, to name a few. Many are good-for-you products that can sit in your pantry or refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Keeping these products on hand means less waste and more money in your pocket. They also come in handy when supplementing more perishable items like meat and fresh vegetables. Consider serving up a light meal consisting of yogurt, fruit and nuts, a quick PB&J sandwich, or possibly some salsa with chips and cheese.  While shelf stable products are always the best when it comes to easy meals, do you know what contributes to making these products shelf stable? You can thank food additives and ingredients for that. They help extend shelf life and also contribute to taste, texture, and freshness while reducing costs. All food additives undergo safety tests and reviews by regulatory authorities.  
  1. Buy in Bulk – If you know your kids always seem to go through the same snacks, consider buying these foods in bulk. Buying in bulk has a number of advantages; it can save you countless trips to the grocery store, and buying in bulk is typically less expensive per portion than buying smaller quantities. Additionally, buying in bulk is convenient and great for emergencies because you don’t have to worry about running out of a certain item. Some of your kids’ favorite snacks and foods stay fresh for longer with the help of food additives and ingredients. Rest assured these same additives are found in some of mom and dad’s favorite things (i.e., beer and wine) and are completely safe. Freezing is another method to preventing food spoilage of bulk items.  
  1. Choose a Combination of Non-Perishable and Perishable Foods – Another key to success is buying a combination of perishable and non-perishable items. This allows you to have a greater variety of foods in your diet as well as versatility in the kitchen and on the table, giving you ample time to create recipes that utilize your fresh foods before they go bad. While perishable items spoil faster, additives do help contribute to their shelf life. The outside layer of many fruits and vegetables are sealed with additives to ensure it lasts on your shelf for as long as possible. 

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Facts About Packaged Snacks 

A busy schedule due to school, sports, and other activities, can result in meal patterns becoming more structured and including snacks and other more convenient food options. Snacks, in fact, have become an integral part of our food culture; a recent 2023 Food and Health survey found seven in ten Americans snack at least once a day – in addition to their main meals. Snacking after work, during and after school, and/or in between meals can keep hunger at bay while helping busy families stay happy throughout the day.  

But what is the best type of snack? Fresh fruits and vegetables are the gold standard for snacking, but these foods alone may not be practical, available, or feasible, especially for people-on-the-go. It is important to note that registered dietitians recommend choosing snacks with a balance of nutrients, including protein, complex carbohydrates, and good fats. “For the most nutritious and satisfying snacks, look for high protein, high fiber, whole grain snacks,” says registered dietitian Berit Dockter. “This is where healthy packaged snacks can fit the bill.”  

Packaged snacks are portable, easy-to-eat, and often sold in single serving sizes. They are also made with ingredients to keep your food safe, healthy, and flavorful. These snacks are also shelf stable which means they will not go bad quickly. Below are five snack foods you can enjoy eating or serving to your family.   

  1. Peanut Butter and Pretzels – Pretzels and peanut butter are a classic combination with the perfect combination of sweet and savory. 
  1. Low Fat Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers – Prepackaged cheese, whether string, or cheddar, come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. Combine with whole grain crackers to make a complete little meal.  
  1. Protein Bars and Cereal Bars – Protein bars are one of the easiest snacks to bring almost anywhere. Look for those touting seeds, nuts, and whole grains like oats and dried fruit. 
  1. Trail MixThese come in a variety of blends and can be spicy or sweet. Choose ones with your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.  
  1. Carrot Sticks and Hummus – Carrots provide all the nutritious vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while hummus supplies protein and good fats

Why Do We Need Food Additives? 

By definition, a food additive is anything added to a food to preserve, maintain, or improve its safety, freshness, taste, texture, and appearance. We have been using food additives, such as sugar and salt, for centuries. In recent years, the need for these ingredients has greatly increased due to the advancement of food science, safety and standards, the need for foods to be shipped long distances, and a desire for foods to be more shelf stable and affordable. Food additives are used in a variety of everyday foods and are used for numerous reasons including:  

  1. To Improve and Maintain Nutritional Quality – Did you know that the vitamins and minerals added into dairy, cereals, breads, and pasta are considered food additives? Folate, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and iron are also used to fortify and enrich foods.   
  1. To Give Food a Smooth Consistency and Texture – Emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners prevent food from separating (think peanut butter, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and baby formula) and provide a uniform texture. Additionally, these are what make plant-based milks and ice cream stay smooth and creamy when you eat it.   
  1. To Control the Acid-Base Balance of Foods and Provide Leavening – Yeast, baking powder, and baking soda in baked goods are considered food additives that help with leavening. Other ingredients are also used to control the acid-base balance of foods and produce a certain flavor or texture. 
  1. To Preserve the Safety of the Food – There are a number of food additives used to preserve the wholesomeness and quality of foods, allowing them to be transported safely from a factory to a store and to your table at home. These include antioxidants, which prevent browning of fresh produce, rancidity of fats, and reduce the deterioration of food; and antimicrobials, which prevent bad bacteria, yeasts, and molds from spoiling food. Often products use a combination of these food additives to ensure your food is of high-quality and safe to consume.  
  1. To Improve and Maintain the Sensory Characteristics of the Food – Food additives make sure the food you eat tastes and looks appealing. Food coloring, both natural and synthetic as well as flavoring ingredients and sweeteners, fall into this category. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with determining the safety of food additives in the United States, while the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducts safety reviews in Europe. There are similar agencies that regulate food safety in different countries around the world. After the safety of an ingredient is established, regulatory authorities establish requirements to ensure its continued safe use in food products.  

Decoding Food Labels

Want to know what’s in the food you’re buying? Reading food labels is the easiest way to know the content of the food you’re eating. The two most important parts of food labels are the nutrition facts label and the ingredient list. Both are intended to give you the knowledge to make the right food choices for you and your family. Here is what you need to know about each:

Nutrition Facts Label: This section tells you how many servings are in the container/package, what constitutes one serving, and the amount of calories and key nutrients there are per serving. The number of servings is important to know because if you eat more than one serving at a time you will be consuming more calories and nutrients than is listed on the label. There are several nutrients that are required by law to be disclosed based on potential health impacts; these are total fat (including saturated fat and trans-fat), cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates (including dietary fiber and total/added sugars), and protein. There are also several required vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin D, calcium, and iron.

The Nutrition Facts label also discloses Percent Daily Values (%DV) for each nutrient, which gives you the percent of the total recommended DV for that nutrient based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This can also give you a quick snapshot of whether a food is high or low in a specific nutrient. Generally, a 5% DV means the nutrient content is considered “low” while a 20% or higher DV means the level is considered “high” in a particular product.

Ingredient Label: The ingredient label contains the ingredients included in a food product and is ‎listed in descending order from highest to lowest amount based on weight. Thus, the higher an ‎ingredient appears on the list the more it is contained in the product. The ingredient list ‎consists of both the major components of the food as well as any food additives that were used ‎to impart a technical function. Food additives are substances that are added to food to maintain ‎or improve the safety, freshness, taste, texture, or appearance of the food. They include vitamin ‎and mineral-derived additives that are added to improve the nutritional content of bread, dairy, ‎and cereal products; stabilizers and emulsifiers that prevent separation and keep the product ‎uniform and of high quality; antioxidants and preservatives that support food safety and longer ‎shelf life; and finally, natural and artificial colors/flavors to improve taste and flavor. While some ‎food ingredients may be easy to spot like salt and sugar, others may be less familiar. But all ‎ingredients permitted for use in food have been rigorously tested and reviewed by regulatory ‎agencies and are just as safe and vital to our food supply. So don’t be concerned if you don’t ‎recognize a particular ingredient’s name. ‎

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Get the Fast Facts on Ultra-Processed Foods 

Recent attention around processed food, particularly “ultra-processed” foods, has made headlines across the country. You may find yourself asking “What exactly are ultra-processed foods, and are they unhealthy?”

Foods are processed for several reasons including to prevent spoilage, ensure food safety, maintain or enhance taste and flavor, improve nutritional value, and lengthen shelf life. The degree of processing varies depending on the type of food and can range from minimally processed to highly processed. Ultra-processed foods fall into the highly processed category. Although researchers, regulators and food experts are still debating the exact definition, ultra-processed foods generally are those made using industrial, scientific processing methods and typically have five or more ingredients. However, this in no way means foods considered “ultra processed” are inherently bad or unhealthy. In fact, a recent study led by scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center showed that it’s possible to build a healthy diet with more than 90 percent of the calories coming from ultra-processed foods while still following the recommendations from the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Don’t let misleading headlines deceive you into thinking you need to cut out your favorite or even staple foods from your diet. You might find it surprising that these common food items could be considered ultra-processed by ranking systems like the NOVA scale.

  • Breakfast Cereals: Many breakfast cereals are fortified with important vitamins and minerals and are a good way to increase dairy intake.

  • Flavored Greek Yogurt: Yogurt is a good source of calcium and some brands even add probiotics, which help improve gut health.

  • Peanut Butter: Not only is peanut butter a favorite among children and adults but it contains a slew of health-promoting nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, iron, selenium, vitamin B6, and protein.

  • Plant-based Milks: Well-liked by consumers, plant-based milks like almond, oat, and soy are good choices for people who are lactose intolerant or have other dietary preferences.

  • Frozen Pizza: Not all pizza is created equally. Even more so, the increased consumer demand for low-carb, plant-based and gluten-free variations to their favorite foods has drove innovation like cauliflower crust pizzas that are higher in fiber and lower in calories than more traditional alternatives.

  • Canned Baked Beans: A favorite at family gatherings, baked beans are loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

  • Protein Bars: Protein bars are often packed with vitamins and minerals. Read and compare Nutrition Facts Labels to find the best match for you. Don’t just focus on the protein; start by aiming for 3 – 10 grams of dietary fiber and added sugars to less than 8 grams per bar.