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My Top Three Healthy Swaps for Processed Foods by Jennifer Khalaf

Posted by Chelsea Dinkins on

Eat more vegetables.

Don’t eat too much sugar.

Brush your teeth. ALL of them.

Mind your manners.

Parenthood sometimes feels like a constant stream of regulating everything your kids do, say, and consume.

That’s why we are big fans of healthy and EASY swaps that don’t feel like a struggle.

We believe a healthy gut and healthy eating habits in your family are an important part of overall wellness, which is why we crafted a Certified Organic Chocolate Probiotic that you and your children will crave. We didn’t want to force our kids into taking a boring probiotics pill or a sugary gummy version, so we created a fair-trade cacao probiotic made with only one gram of coconut sugar that your kids WANT to take. It’s an easy replacement and addition to your family’s diet and supports a healthy gut & immune system. 

We enlisted Jennifer Khalaf, A Holistic Health Coach and founder of Thrive Hive Wellness, to give us her expert insights on three healthy swaps for processed foods that your family can be making daily.

My Top Three Healthy Swaps for Processed Foods

by Jennifer Khalaf

In an ideal world we would only eat non-processed, whole foods. The reality for most of my clients (and me!) is that modern life is busy and with our hectic schedules it’s simply not possible to make everything from scratch. We all have processed and packaged foods in our pantries, but you might be surprised to know that some of the most common ones aren’t as healthy as they look. Luckily there are now so many good options it’s easy to swap them out for healthier versions. Here are some healthy swaps that I give my clients.  




Nuttzo mixed nut butter

I’ve eaten just about every nut/seed turned into a butter over the years.  I’ve even tried making my own. I can confidently say not all nut butters are created equal. Skippy, for example, contains many unhealthy ingredients such as corn syrup, soy protein and hydrogenated vegetables oils (to name a few).  These ingredients aren’t good for our bodies and aren’t necessary for great tasting peanut butter.   Even some less processed organic brands contain industrial seed oils and added sugar.  Ideally, when shopping for peanut butter, you want there to be one ingredient…..peanuts.  

My favorite is Nuttzo Butter.  It’s made with certified organic and non-GMO nuts and seeds.   Their Peanut Pro combines peanuts with cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and Celtic Sea Salt.  In addition to being a good source of protein, you get added fiber, Omega 3s and essential minerals such as selenium.   With many different flavors and textures, there is an option for everyone in the house.   This mama is nuts for nuttzo butter!


Cheerios aren't always the healthiest option for kids


One Degree Organic sprouted Oat O's

Cheerios were a staple in my home growing up and they continue to be popular with families worldwide.   They’re often one of our children’s first “safe” finger foods, but Cheerios aren’t as “healthy” as advertised.   In addition to corn starch being second on the list of ingredients* and preservatives, Cheerios are made from conventional oats.   According to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), high levels of herbicide glyphosate residue were found in cereals made from conventional oats*, Cheerios being one of them.   When this information hit the news, parents were rightfully upset. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer and damage to the gut microbiome.

One Degree Organic Foods offers a variety of crowd favorites without the artificial additives and GMOs. Their products are made from certified organic, non-GMO, sprouted whole grain oats.    Some argue that sprouting grains make them easier to digest and more bio-available.   We’re not huge cereal eaters in our house, but my daughter lights up when she gets the Sprouted Cacao O’s as a treat. 

INSTEAD OF THIS:                  

Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars


Made Good Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Granola bars are an easy snack to keep in your purse/stroller for on-the-go snacking or as a back-up for those days you’re out longer than expected and have a “hangry” child.  While there are many granola bar brands on the market these days, Chewy is probably the most recognized and accessible brand. Unfortunately, the ingredients in Chewy bars are less than stellar. Corn syrup and other undesirable ingredients move this product to my no-buy list. 

Our favorite granola bars are from Made Good. With certified organic, non-GMO and gluten free whole grains as well as added (but not detectible) vegetables, these bars make the cut.   They’re also made in a peanut and tree nut free facility, making them school-safe which is an added bonus.   

What To Look For When Purchasing Packaged Foods:

When shopping for packaged foods, the first thing you want to do is read the label. You’re looking for a product with the least amount of ingredients as possible.  If you can’t pronounce or don’t know what the ingredient is, it’s likely not good for you.  Also look out for high sugar, high salt and refined grains. When possible, choose certified organic and non-GMO.  There are many wholesome brands on the market these days, but remember, buzz words such as “all natural” are not regulated so make sure to read the labels.  Happy shopping!  

* note: ingredients are listed in order of their predominance within the product, with the first ingredient being the largest amount.

** It’s worth noting that EWG did find glyphosate residue on some organically grown oats, however the levels were significantly lower than that of conventional oats.  



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