When you go to the store with the intention of shopping for healthy, plant-based items, you think that this should be simple: first the produce aisle, then the snacks, but it’s any but easy to sift through all the choices and emerge with a bag full of healthy snacks, cereals, bars, and pantry staples. That’s why each week the editors of The Beet do the shopping for you. Here we choose our favorite items to recommend (and that we buy ourselves) from the crazy amount of choices out there. Some of these are treats, of course, so not low in calories, but they are healthier treats, so decide for yourself how many or how much to eat at one time.
Lucy’s Favorite Healthy Plant-Based Items to Buy or Try This Week
1. Avaline Vegan Wine, from Founders Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power
When these two besties got together and decided to start a vegan wine company of “clean wine” made with organic grapes, they may have imagined me and my bestie getting together to drink wine and chat, and love knowing every sip is delicious light tasting, and free of animal byproducts (processed without any animal parts being used). Whether or not they targeted me and every other best friend who loves to chat and sip together, sharing important details of our lives, Diaz, the actress we loved in Something About Mary, Charlie’s Angels, and Bad Teacher, and her bestie Katherine Power, the founder of Who What Wear and Click Media Brands, knew that customers would love the taste of their new red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Avaline pronounced “Ah-vah-leene” is part of a growing trend in vegan wines, gaining in popularity as consumers learn what is used to make most (non-vegan) wines since the more you know, the more like you are to gravitate to vegan selections.
When I opened the Avaline red and told my former college roommate Lisa that it was vegan, she asked the question everyone asks: Isn’t all wine vegan? I explained what I had learned, editing a story about vegan wines for The Beet, which is that winemakers use fining agents such as fish bladders and other animal parts in making wine, which sounds totally gross. According to our writer Anna Keeve, who knows a lot about vegan wine and wrote about how to choose the best vegan wine for your meal, some winemakers also add egg whites to red wine to absorb and remove tannins, and casein, a milk protein, is sometimes used in white wines to achieve more clarity. (I say, no thank you to either.)
Diaz and Power introduced Avaline last year as a well-priced, light, and crispy wine that is completely delicious and tastes clean. Whether you are buying for yourself or as a gift, Avaline is truly a great pour. Avaline is a must-have sip for your spring occasions. If you want to try the red blend, the white, and their sparkling wine, these three are sold together for $74 in a Winter Staples variety pack. Send it to your best friend for her birthday, then invite yourself over! You will be glad you did. Shop at Avaline’s website or at Wine.com.
2. Eco Lips Vegan Lip Balm (Bee Free) and Eco Lips Lip & Cheek Tint with Jojoba Oil
Mask face is getting to me. I have chapped lips, dry cheeks, and random breakouts that can only be chalked up to wearing a mask most days for hours at a time. (I wash my masks and keep my hands away from my face, but I need moisturizing help, stat. Enter Eco Lips Vegan Lip Tints. This Brazilian company makes an array of vegan lip balms, tints, and two-in-one lip & cheek tints that offer moisturizing natural oils like jojoba oil and other ingredients that help calm and soothe dry skin and lips. (And there’s no bee’s wax in these lip balms.)
Eco Lips has something for everyone: scent and color-free products and tints that can offer a little pop of matte color if you want it. The ingredients are ethically sourced and contain Babaçu and Pracaxi oils along with Cupuaçu Butter to “nourish, moisturize and protect lips.” With the fruity, floral flavor of passionfruit, these Fair Trade Certified, non-toxic earth mineral tints provide just the right amount of matte tint and moisture to make them a one-and-done product. Highest compliment. In my world is reaching the status of “if I can only travel the world with one thing, it would be this. These are a “must put in jean’s pocket” and take wherever you go. Check out the range of lip savers and balms here.
Stephanie’s Favorite Plant-Based Products of the Week
1. Good Good Black Currant Jam
Do you ever get so excited to wake up and eat breakfast that you find it hard to fall asleep at night? That’s how I feel about Good Good’s Blackcurrant Jam. The deliciousness of this spread causes me insomnia while laying in bed at night, wishing to fast-forward to the moment I’m spreading it on a toasted slice of sourdough. Equally sweet and tart, the taste of this jam is unbelievably fresh. It’s not just good for breakfast dishes–I’ve smeared it on crostinis with vegan feta cheese and drizzled it over dairy-free vanilla ice cream with great success. It’s one of those condiments that upgrades any recipe.
Most jams pack a ton of preservatives and chemicals, but not Good Good. This jam is non-GMO, totally vegan, made with natural sweeteners, and boasts an ingredient list you can actually pronounce and recognize.
Pick up Good Good’s sweet spreads on its website here.
2. Grummies Real Gummies
Gummies–a much-adored candy, but sadly, since I’ve switched to a vegan diet, it’s been super hard to find offerings that don’t include gelatin. That’s where the brand Grummies comes in. Not only are these delicious gummies totally vegan, but they also pack insane health boosts depending on the flavor. There’s a turmeric variety that helps quell inflammation, an ashwagandha flavor to calm you down, an apple cider vinegar option for detox, and an elderberry variety for immune support.
Not to mention, Grummies are delicious, and I’ll bet that like me, you’ll have trouble sticking to the brand’s suggested serving size of just two.
Buy Grummies on the company’s website here.
Hailey’s Favorite Plant-Based Products of the Week
1. Sunwink 12 Pack Detox Ginger Tonic, $48
Sunwink’s tonics are like a sip of paradise. The first thing that stands out is the vibrant, pastel-colored packaging and narrow, skinny-shaped bottles that remind me of a Palm Springs vacation. You’ll want to pop the top open, take a sip, and put the drink desk-side to bring joy to your day. Secondly, the taste of this product is incredible and doesn’t compare to any other sparkling beverage. My favorite is the Detox Ginger, lightly sweetened with maple syrup and tastes like natural version of Ginger Ale.
2. Mid Day Squares, 12 Pack for $46
Mid-Day Squares are hands down the most delicious protein-packed energy bar I’ve ever tasted. I recommend these delicious, fudgy treats to anyone who loves chocolate or is looking for a quick on-the-go bite that will keep you full for hours on end. My favorite flavor is the chocolate peanut butter because the combination tastes like dessert, but, you can’t go wrong with any of the flavors–they’re all made with quality ingredients.
Caitlin’s Favorite Plant-Based Products of the Week
1.Vega Protein Nutrition Shake
Whether your spending your time lifting weights or doing HIIT workouts, Vega’s Protein Nutrition Shake is the post-workout shake to keep stocked in your fridge. I’m not the biggest fan of pre-made shakes usually, but Vega’s plant-based protein shake really won me over for its delicious flavor and light taste. This is the only protein shake that leaves me feeling satisfied without feeling bloated or overly full.
Vega’s protein shakes are made with a blend of pea protein, hemp protein and pumpkin seed protein as well as powdered greens such as organic spirulina, green algae and kale powder. This nutritious shake has 20 grams of protein, 1 gram of omega-3 ALA, and 3-4 grams of fiber per bottle. These shakes are an easy way to get a dose of greens and protein in just one drink.
You can buy Vega’s Protein Nutrition Shakes here in two flavors: Chocolate and Vanilla.
2.Siete Spicy Blanco Cashew Queso
After trying Siete’s Cashew Queso on Super Bowl Sunday, I can say I will never miss real queso again. This Spicy Blanco Cashew Queso tastes better than real queso and has the perfect punch of spice in every bite.
Another reason this has become my favorite dairy-free queso is for its simple and clean ingredients that include water, cashews, tomatoes, nutritional yeast, onion, green bell peppers, jalapenos and flax seeds. This is one of the healthier queso products on the market with 25 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs. 1 gram of fiber, and 1 gram of protein per serving (two tablespoons).
Siete’s Cashew Queso is available in two flavors Spicy Blanco and Mild Nacho. Pair either queso with lime-flavored tortilla chips for a delicious, plant-based appetizer.
You can buy Siete’s Queso at Whole Foods and Wegmans.