With an average of 33,055 products on a single supermarket's shelves, we're not just comparing apples to oranges these days. So to cut to the fill-the-cart chase, we spoke to Rachel Fine, RD, for her favorite finds at one of the largest grocery chains in the U.S. — Kroger.
Next time you find yourself filling your cart at Kroger, look out for these healthy eats. All are free of artificial sugars, artificial dyes or preservatives.
1. Kroger Whole Almonds
Whether you opt for raw or roasted, almonds make a great snack because they're high in vitamin E, copper and magnesium, Fine tells us. "Pair them with a fruit for a balanced midday snack," Fine suggests, or use them as a garnish for yogurt parfaits or smoothie bowls like this Avocado Smoothie Bowl With Almonds and Mint.
However you decide to enjoy them, almonds are associated with lowering harmful LDL cholesterol and possibly increasing good HDL cholesterol, per an April 2018 study in the journal Nutrients. And noshing on these nuts as a snack has also been linked to increasing satiety so that you eat a bit less at lunch or dinner, according to an August 2015 study in the European Journal of Nutrition.
- Nutrition facts per serving (¼ cup): 180 calories, 15 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat), milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 6 grams of protein
Buy it: Kroger.com; Price: $9.74 per 16-ounce bag
2. Kroger Quick One-Minute Whole Grain Oats
"Oatmeal is a great option that's high in soluble fiber," Fine says. If you can find it, opt for slower-cooking oatmeal like rolled oats or steel-cut, as these tend to have slightly more soluble fiber, which helps to stabilize blood sugar, she suggests.
From sweet recipes (folded into cookie batter) to savory preparations (topped with an egg), fiber-rich, heart-healthy oats are both versatile and tasty. Try it in this Peach Cobbler Oatmeal that packs in 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein.
- Nutrition facts per serving (½ cup dry): 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbs (4 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 5 grams of protein
Buy it: Kroger.com; Price: $2.58 per 42-ounce container
3. Simple Truth Organic Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber and pack in vitamin A, which supports vision health as well as plays a vital role in maintaining heart, lung, kidney and other organs' health, according to the National Institutes of Health.
For the time-crunched, pre-chopped produce (like these sliced spuds) can come in clutch — especially on busy weeknights. "These sweet potatoes are a great, convenient option. I love how they are pre-cut for easy use. Try simply roasting them at 400°F with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper," Fine suggests. Or try them in this Warm Sweet Potato Pudding in a Jar.
- Nutrition facts per serving (⅓ package): 90 calories, 0 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 5 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbs (1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein
4. Kroger Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is so good for you, it practically has a whole aisle to itself these days. "This is an easy protein source that's low in fat and added sugar, and is rich in nutrients like bone-building calcium and vitamin D," Fine says.
If you can find it at your local Kroger location, seek out a plain Greek yogurt with some fat (2 percent or higher), she recommends. "Despite popular belief, fat satisfies us! You'll feel more satisfied by your meal or snack with a higher fat yogurt and it will have enough staying power to help you feel full for a few hours," she says. Whip up these delicious Greek Yogurt Pancakes With Strawberries this weekend or swap milk for Greek yogurt in cereal for extra protein.
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 container): 90 calories, 0 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 55 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of carbs (0 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar), 15 grams of protein
Read more: 5 Probiotic-Rich Recipes Your Gut Will Love
5. Simple Truth Organic Grass-Fed Ground Beef, 90 Percent Lean
Fine has zero beef with this lean red meat option. It's rich in essential amino acids and immune-boosting zinc, and grass-fed meats often contain more omega-3s than their conventional counterparts.
"Grass-fed lean ground beef is a great protein option for meals. Kroger's brand includes the USDA organic seal of approval, which means it also gets a thumbs up in my book," she says.
- Nutrition facts per serving (4 ounces): 200 calories, 11 grams of fat (4.5 grams of saturated fat), 75 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbs (0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 23 grams of protein
6. Simple Truth Chia Seeds
About two-thirds of the healthy fats found in these itty-bitty seeds are omega-3s, according to a March 2016 report in the International Journal of Advanced Technology in Engineering and Science. That means, adding chia seeds to your shopping cart might help keep your brain sharp and your heart healthy.
"Chia seeds are also high in soluble fiber, which has been linked to improved cholesterol levels. Fiber also helps to keep us full between meals, maintains blood sugar control for sustainable energy and promotes digestive regularity," Fine says. "Plus, chia seeds are also a great source of calcium."
Try them sprinkled into muffin batter, as the base of a creamy pudding or in this Easy Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding With Blueberries for a quick and satisfying breakfast.
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 tablespoon): 70 calories, 5 grams of fat (0.5 grams of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of carbs (5 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein
Buy it: Kroger.com; Price: $4.46 per 12-ounce bag
7. Simple Truth Organic Avocados
The big fat secret is out about how versatile, delicious and nutritious avocados are. (But we still can't believe how much Americans spend on avocado toast.)
"Avocados are high in good-for-you monounsaturated fats, which help control blood sugar when incorporated as a balanced meal or snack with other foods. The monounsaturated fats found in avocados are also heart-healthy as they reduce LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels," Fine explains.
Avocados also pack in potassium, which helps with our electrolyte balance and lowers blood pressure, Fine says. Besides spread on toast, slice and serve avocados with tacos, blend into soups and smoothies or stir some into dips like this Avocado Salsa Verde.
- Nutrition facts per serving (⅓ of a medium avocado): 80 calories, 8 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 1 gram of protein
8. Kroger Mixed Fruit Pouch
Variety is key to combatting boredom on a healthy diet — and for getting a mix of nutrients. That's just one of many reasons why Fine digs this fresh fruit mixed bag.
"When it comes to produce, I often recommend organic. However, the benefits of adding fruit to your day outweigh the risks from conventional options," she says. "Therefore, if it's not financially feasible to purchase organic fresh fruit, then this is a great option! This pouch contains fibrous options like apples and oranges, both of which can be incorporated into a balanced snack."
Pair with string cheese or nut butter for a satisfying snack and mix into parfaits or fruit salads. You can also get creative with desserts by trying your hand at this Hot Apple Sunrise Sundae.
- Nutrition facts per serving: Varies by fruit
9. Simple Truth Organic Frozen Blueberries
Freeze! You don't need to buy all of your fruits and veggies in the produce aisle. Since frozen berries are put on ice at their peak ripeness, they're just as healthy as their in-season peers.
"These are a great and convenient way to pack fibrous fruit — full of immune-boosting antioxidants — into your day," Fine says. Blend these frozen berries into smoothies or fold into muffin or pancake batter and add them to this Brain-Boosting Blueberry Matcha to reap their benefits.
- Nutrition facts per serving (1 pack): 160 calories, 0 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbs (7 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein
Read more: 4 Major Reasons to Eat More Blueberries
10. Simple Truth Peeled and Deveined Jumbo Raw Shrimp
Shrimp is one of our top lean animal proteins, especially when it's sustainably harvested. Kroger's Simple Truth brand is certified by the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) and includes no antibiotics, preservatives or added hormones.
"My standard aligns with those brought forth by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, which considers the shrimps' BAP certification equivalent to a 'Good Alternative' in the realm of sustainability," Fine says.
With about 25 shrimp per pound, these tail-free, raw, peeled and deveined shrimp are primed to add loads of low-calorie protein to a stir-fry, pasta dish or some Spicy Shrimp Fajitas.
- Nutrition facts per serving (4 ounces): 80 calories, 1 gram of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 115 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbs (0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 18 grams of protein