Best Kids Product: Good Karma Chocolate Flaxmilk + Protein Lunchbox Cartons
Kiddos will squeal with delight when they see this mini box of chocolate milk in their lunch boxes. You’ll be happy it contains 50 percent less sugar than dairy chocolate milk and 7 grams of plant-based protein from flaxseed milk and pea protein. Importantly, this product is fortified with vitamins D, A and B12, and has 25 percent of the daily value of calcium to support growing bodies.
We also love: Peaceful Fruits Organic Fruit Strips Blueberry + Acaí Drizzle
Best Smoothie: Nutiva Vanilla Organic Plant Protein Superfood Smoothie
Hemp, pea, sunflower and pumpkin join forces to ramp up this smoothie’s protein content to an impressive 22 grams of protein—enough to make even die-hard whey-protein users consider shifting to plant-based. The smoothie contains a medley of USDA Organic fruits and veggies that enhance nutrition and flavor, but we love it most because of what it doesn’t contain: There’s no soy, added sugar or gluten.
We also love: Whole Earth & Sea 100% Fermented Protein & Greens Organic Tropical
Best Burger: TRIBALÍ Foods Beef Patties Umami
A suite of certification labels on the front of this package—including Certified Paleo, Whole30 Approved, Non-GMO Project Verified and California Certified Organic Farmers—shows the cleanliness of the ingredients inside. Here, grass-fed beef blends with savory add-ins, such as garlic purée, shiitake mushrooms, nori seaweed and fish sauce, to bring pizzazz to your plate. Sure, you could put these patties in a bun. But they’re totally tasty enough to stand alone.
We also love: Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Potato Pollock Burgers
Best Chocolate Bar: Madecasse Sea Salt & Nibs Dark Chocolate 63% Cocoa
Many natural chocolate bars contain fair-trade cocoa, but Madecasse’s unique, vertically integrated business model has the capacity to make a bigger difference. Madecasse direct sources heirloom cocoa beans from Madagascar, one of the world’s poorest countries, ensuring farmers receive a better price for the crop and achieving a delicious, nuanced flavor. The company is also dedicated to manufacturing its chocolate bars in Madagascar.
We also love: Alter Eco Deep Dark Blackout Organic Chocolate
Best Spread: Good Spread Lifesaving Honey Banana Peanut Spread
Bits of USDA Organic freeze-dried bananas introduce a delightful crunch to this luscious honey and peanut butter offering. But we’re most impressed by the company’s mission. For each jar of Good Spread sold, a packet of lifesaving Mana, which contains vital nutrients, calories and fat, is sent to a malnourished child in a developing country, such as Chad, Uganda or Nicaragua. A tracking code on the package reveals where the Mana was donated.
We also love: Blue Moose of Boulder Lemon Turmeric Hummus
Best Candy: Justin’s Organic Dark Chocolate Cashew Butter Cups
The nut butter mavens at Justin’s continue to improve upon their highly addictive, super-tasty nut butter cups by filling a Rainforest Alliance Certified dark chocolate cup with incredibly creamy, sweetened cashew butter—a candy that rivals the brand’s very popular organic peanut butter cups. Stash these in your desk drawer for a decadent afternoon treat.
We also love: Good Day Chocolate Probiotic Supplement
Best Functional Beverage: 1915 Organic Protein Coffee
Ideal for Monday mornings when you need an extra boost to get out the door, this velvety beverage contains 12 grams of plant-based protein from USDA Organic almond milk and pea protein. Coffee extract and coffee essence provide a mocha-latte flavor and a touch of caffeine. We like how 1915 sweetens this drink with a combination of organic cane sugar, stevia and monk fruit to lower the total sugar content.
We also love: Rebbl 3 Roots Mango Spice
Best Nutrition Bar: OHi Superfood Bar Almond Crunch
Eat one OHi bar, and you’ll consume 310 nutrient-dense calories from satisfying USDA Organic ingredients, such as almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds. Goji berries and cacao nibs boost the antioxidant content. OHi is everything you want in a bar: It's satiating, craveable, low in sugar, and high in protein and good fats.
We also love: Hail Merry Bar Bites Cranberry Almond
Best Yogurt: Maple Hill 100% Grassfed Organic Plain Greek Yogurt
One of the most ambitious grass-fed dairy brands we know of, Maple Hill sources milk from small dairy farms based in upstate New York (learn more about each one on Maple Hill’s website), who feed their cows only grass—no grain, no exceptions. Maple Hill is also certified grass-fed by Pennsylvania Certified Organic, a third-party certifier. This thick, creamy Greek yogurt is simple, yet nuanced in flavor. Put it on everything from granola to a baked potato.
We also love: Siggi’s 2% Milkfat Vanilla & Cinnamon
Best Soda Swap: Spindrift Sparkling Half & Half
Classic Arnold Palmer retooled as a fizzy, unsweetened beverage—little sounds better than sipping this bubbly refresher on a hot summer’s day. Three lovely ingredients—carbonated water, fresh lemon juice and brewed Argentinian black tea—constitute this perfect soda swap. It even has a touch of caffeine for those trying to wean themselves off Coke.
We also love: Runa Clean Energy Drink Unsweetened Blood Orange
Best Cheese (dairy or nondairy): Good Culture Simply Cottage Cheese Low-Fat Classic
Is cottage cheese the new Greek yogurt? With 19 grams of protein per serving, live and active cultures, and clean ingredients, it could be. We particularly love Good Culture because the brand cleaned up cottage cheese. You’ll never find titanium dioxide, guar gum or potassium sorbate—ingredients often hidden in conventional cottage cheese—in this product. Pro tip: This cottage cheese is excellent when layered in a lasagna.
We also love: Kite Hill Cream Cheese Style Spread Jalapeño
Best Meal Helper: Hodo Chermoula Moroccan Tofu Cubes
Talk to any dedicated tofu eater, and they’ll likely tell you that, hands down, Hodo offers the best tofu in the United States. Now, the brand makes its high-protein product even more approachable by cubing and marinating it in globally inspired mixes, like this herbaceous chermoula. Simply heat the tofu in a pan until warm, and add to salads, sautés, rice dishes and more. Eating tofu can now take minimal cooking know-how.
We also love: Cece’s Veggie Noodle Co. White Sweet Potato Spirals
Best Sweet Snack: Alter Eco Cherry + Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters
These crunchy, salty-sweet coconut clusters will become a staple in your desk-drawer snack stash. Made with toasted coconut flakes and laden with coconut sugar–sweetened almond butter, dried cherries and gobs of Fair Trade Certified 70 percent dark chocolate sourced from Peru and Ecuador, how could they not? A sprinkle of sea salt amplifies these sterling ingredients, bringing their tastiness to life.
We also love: Urban Foods Superfood Bites Wild Blueberry Honey
Best Salty Snack: World Peas Peatos Classic Cheese
Even in the sea of salty snacks laid out in front of us, taste testers couldn’t stop noshing these thin, crunchy sticks made with … wait for it … pulses, such as peas, fava beans and lentils, instead of corn. A thin, flavorful dusting of onion- and garlic-infused cheese powder adds addictive taste; a blend of paprika and turmeric delivers that all-important stain-your-fingers orange effect.
We also love: PopCorners Sea Salt
Best Cookie: Simple Mills Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
The grain-free experts at Simple Mills have achieved what we thought was impossible: a covetable, grain-free cookie that’s actually soft and, dare we say, gooey. Made with almond flour, organic coconut oil, flaxseed and more, these honey-sweetened cookies contain 25 percent less sugar than conventional options. Excuse us while we dunk these into a cold glass of almond milk.
We also love: Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies Vanilla Bean
Best Frozen Novelty: Sambazon Superfruit Acaí Bites
Cute, portion-controlled bites that crunch open with a fruity, sweet burst, these 50-calorie frozen chunks of acaí berry sorbet are enrobed in organic dark chocolate from the Dominican Republic. Yes, they are a divine post-dinner treat. And we appreciate that Sambazon sustainably sources acaí berries from fair-trade producers in the Brazilian Amazon and is committed to protecting rainforest habitat.
We also love: Ruby Rockets Fruit & Veggie Better Bars Mixed Berry
Best Frozen Meal: Grainful Tuscan Bean & Kale
It’s hard to believe that a humble blend of beans, oats and kale won out over dozens of entrants in the frozen category, but trust us—this flavorful bowl is quite possibly the world’s most perfect lunch. We’re talking tender kidney beans, garbanzo beans, kale and stewed tomatoes over a soft bed of herbed, spiced oat groats, sorghum and red quinoa. The whole shebang is just 290 calories, but 13 grams of protein will keep you full until dinner. And yes, the prepared bowl looks just like the picture on the box!
We also love: Sweet Earth Truffle Lover’s Pizza
Best “Ice Cream”: Mud Coconut Mousse Chocolate
With just four clean-label ingredients, this nondairy mousse will win over ice cream fiends and followers of the paleo diet, alike. Organic coconut cream, dates, cashews and raw cacao are whipped into a rich, creamy dessert—let it thaw for 15–20 minutes if you’re taking it directly out of the freezer before eating. With its minimal sugar, 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, we say, go ahead—eat it for breakfast.
We also love: Julie’s Organic Non-Dairy Sorbet Mango
Best Meat Snack: DNX Grass Fed Beef Sweet Potato Pecan Bar
Out of more than a dozen meat snacks tested, tasters found this Whole30 Approved bar to be the clear winner. With grass-fed beef and savory-sweet add-ins such as sacha inchi powder, moringa powder, sweet potato and dates, this ultraclean bar effectively fuels intense workouts and marathon invoice-filing sessions alike.
We also love: Mighty 100% Grassfed Beef Teriyaki Meat Stick
Best Dessert: Miss Jones Baking Co. Fudgy Brownie in a Cup
If we’re going to have dessert, we want to go all-in on something gooey, warm and definitely chocolate. But we also want simple, USDA Organic ingredients—no artificial anything. Miss Jones’ smartly sized brownie cup is a cinch to make (stir in water and oil, and microwave it for 30 seconds). It contains just cane sugar, flour, cocoa powder, egg, vanilla, baking powder and salt, and because this product is a reasonable 250 calories for the whole cup, you don’t have to share!
We also love: Cocoa Metro Belgian Chocolate Milk
Best Sports Product: Honey Stinger Organic Cracker N’ Nut Butter Snack Bar Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Sea Salt
In endurance activities such as running or biking, eating can be a challenge. Ultrasugary gels can upset your stomach; nutrition bars can be impossible to choke down. That’s why we’re obsessed with Honey Stinger’s newest USDA Organic launch, which features creamy almond butter sandwiched between salty crackers and dipped in dark chocolate—yum! As in all of its products, Honey Stinger uses True Source Honey to verify the honey is actually from beehives, not mislabeled tinted corn syrup.
We also love: Cheribundi 100% Natural Tart Cherry Juice
Best Tea: Kabaki Kenyan Purple Tea Unsweetened
While most tea grown in Kenya is destined for low-quality powdered tea packets, Kenyan purple tea is a newly cultivated premium tea that features a distinctive, antioxidant-packed indigo hue. We love this unsweetened version for its delicate, refreshing taste and also because Kabaki donates 10 percent of profits to improve access to medical care in rural, purple tea-growing regions.
We also love: Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat
Best Baby Food: Sprout Harvest Vegetables Apricots with Chicken
A wholesome meal for babies 8 months and older, Sprout features USDA Organic pumpkin, sweet corn, apricots, sweet potato and, interestingly, chicken. We love how Sprout includes the name and location of the farm where it sources its chicken: Mary’s Free-Range Organic Chicken, a third-generation family farm in California. Now that’s transparency!
We also love: Inspired Start Variety Pack
Best Quick Breakfast: Maker Overnight Oats Mulberry & Chia
The fastest breakfast is the one you make the night before. Simply add Maker’s expertly blended USDA Organic packet of whole oats, mulberries, raisins, dates, pumpkin seeds, chia, goldenberries and cinnamon to a jar; pour in some almond milk; and place in your fridge before you go to bed. In the morning, literally just grab it, throw it in your bag and go. You’ll enjoy the filling, no-sugar-added breakfast of plump fruits and soft oats.
We also love: Soozy’s Wild Blueberry Muffin
Best Condiment: True Made Foods Vegetable Ketchup
Be it high-fructose corn syrup or organic cane sugar, even natural ketchups are often filled with sweeteners, making this classic condiment an unhealthy option for your baked sweet potato fries or veggie burger. True Made Foods retools this all-American sauce by adding veggies, such as butternut squash, carrots and spinach, and most importantly, slashing sugar content by 50 percent. We recommend you have a bottle of it in your refrigerator at all times.
We also love: Wildbrine Probiotic Smoky Jalapeño Sriracha Double Fermented