There's no shortage of "lean" and "light" selections available at conventional supermarkets. But most of them are loaded with added ingredients such as refined sugar, excess sodium, artificial flavors, and chemical sweeteners to make them more palatable. Low-sodium salad dressing is pumped full of sugar; sugar-free ice cream is sweetened with aspartame; and low-calorie, high-fiber muffins may be laced with cellulose, a form of wood pulp. That's no way to feed your body!
Luckily, you can eat light and eat right, with naturally lean packaged foods from your local health food store. Some are downsized versions of larger originals; some are baked instead of fried; some are simply made with less salt or sugar-and without all the conventional "extras."
Want to know how to eat cheese puffs, frozen burritos, and a pint of ice cream, guilt-free? Try these tasty selections for naturally light eating:
These lean offerings have fewer calories than the heftier originals, with less fat and sugar.
Amy'sLight & Lean 3 Cheese Penne Bowl
Frozen entrée with fewer calories than the norm.
270 calories, 5 grams fat, 5 grams sugars, 590 mg sodium
KindMini Fruit & Nut Delight Bar
Smaller version of the full-sized bar.
108 calories, 6 grams fat, 7 grams sugars, 10 mg sodium
Kashi GoLean Original
Cold cereal with added protein and fiber.
140 calories, 1 gram fat, 6 grams sugars, 85 mg sodium
SteazEnergy Zero Calorie Berry
Canned beverage made with green tea, yerba maté, guarana, and açai; sweetened with stevia.
0 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 35 mg sodium
Van'sTriple Chocolate Muffin Crowns
Just the tops of the muffins, for reduced calories.
120 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 10 grams sugars, 200 mg sodium
Snikiddy SnacksGrilled Cheese Puffs
Like cheese doodles, but lower in calories and fat.
120 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram sugars, 190 mg sodium
So DeliciousOrganic Minis Fudge Bar
Dairy-free frozen treats made from coconut milk.
70 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 6 grams sugars, 0 mg sodium
Calorie-free, stevia-sweetened soda. Available in other classic flavors.
0 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 20 mg sodium
Health Is Wealth Chicken Free Buffalo Wings
A frozen, meat-free version of the popular appetizer/snack.
130 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 690 mg sodium
EvolMini Burritos Veggie Fajita
A slightly smaller version of Evol's full-sized frozen burrito.
160 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram sugars, 280 mg sodium
Slimmed-down versions of the full-fat originals. "Low-fat" means the product contains 3 grams of fat or less per 100-gram serving, while "reduced fat" means the product contains 25 percent less fat than standard versions.
CedarLaneLow-Fat Beans, Rice, & Cheese Style Burrito
Vegetarian burrito made with organic pinto beans, rice, and tortilla.
260 calories, 1 gram fat, 2 grams sugars, 490 mg sodium
Stonyfield FarmAfter Dark Chocolate Frozen Yogurt
Organic and fat-free.
100 calories, 0 grams fat, 18 grams sugars, 55 mg sodium
Amy'sOrganic Low Fat Black Bean Vegetable Soup
Ready-to-eat canned soup.
140 calories, 1.5 grams fat; 7 grams sugars, 620 mg sodium
Guiltless GourmetChili-Lime Tortilla Chips
Baked, not fried, seasoned tortilla chips.
120 calories, 3 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 250 mg sodium
SpectrumLight Canola Mayo
Egg-free, vegan mayo with less than one-third the fat and calories of regular mayonnaise.
35 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 65 mg sodium
Air-popped for less fat.
130 calories, 3 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 140 mg sodium
Better'n Peanut Butter Original
Peanut butter spread with less fat and fewer calories. Also available in low-sodium.
100 calories, 2 grams fat, 2 grams sugars, 190 mg sodium
Annie's NaturalsLight Gingerly Vinaigrette
Low-fat salad dressing, also available in other flavors.
40 calories, 3 grams fat, 2 grams sugars, 280 mg sodium
LightLifeSmart Sausages Chorizo Style
A vegetarian version of spicy sausage with half the fat of the real thing.
140 calories, 8 grams fat, <1 gram sugars, 590 mg sodium
Popchips Sour Cream & Onion
Popped-not baked or fried-potato chips.
120 calories, 4 grams fat, 2 grams sugars, 320 mg sodium
These products all feature less sodium than their traditional counterparts-and many of them are also lower in both fat and calories.
A "low-sodium" designation indicates that the product contains 140 mg of sodium or less per 100-gram serving, while "reduced-sodium" means that the product contains 25 percent less sodium than the "regular" version.
Pacific NaturalsLow-Sodium Chicken Broth
Aseptically packaged and made with organic, free-range chicken.
15 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 70 mg sodium
Amy'sLight in Sodium Indian Mattar Paneer
Organic frozen entrée with about half the salt.
370 calories, 11 grams fat, 8 grams sugars, 390 mg sodium
Fig Food CompanyTuscan White Bean Soup
Organic, lightly salted, and ready-to-eat.
150 calories, 3 grams fat, <1 gram sugars, 200 mg sodium
San-JTamari Reduced Sodium
Gluten-free tamari soy sauce with less salt.
15 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 710 mg sodium
BionaturæOrganic Diced Tomatoes
Low-sodium, canned tomatoes packed in tomato purée.
30 calories, 0 grams fat, 4 grams sugars, 20 mg sodium
Walnut Acres Low-Sodium Pasta Sauce Tomato & Basil
Seasoned with sea salt-only less of it.
40 calories, 0 grams fat, 7 grams sugars, 20 mg sodium
Ezekiel 4:9Sprouted Grain Low-Sodium Bread
Made with organic grains and less salt than the traditional version.
80 calories, <1 gram fat, 0 grams sugars, 0 mg sodium
EdenOrganic Caribbean Black Beans
Organic, seasoned beans packed in a BPA-free can.
90 calories, 0.5 grams fat, 1 gram sugars, 135 mg sodium
Laurie's Buffalo Gourmet Roasted Sesame Medley
Lightly salted tortilla chips with black-and-white sesame seeds.
140 calories, 8 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 75 mg sodium
Edward & SonsLow-Sodium Veggie Cubes
Gluten-free, organic bouillon cubes with about one-fourth the salt.
20 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 135 mg sodium
These products have been naturally sweetened with fruit juice, stevia, dried fruit, raw agave, or other wholesome alternative sweeteners, so they're free of cane sugar, processed sugar, sugar alcohols, processed agave nectar, and other dubious additives found in conventional brands.
NuNaturalsNuStevia White Stevia Powder
Zero-calorie stevia sweetener, perfect for stirring in coffee or spooning on cereal.
0 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugars, 0 mg sodium
Revolution FoodsOrganic Mashups Tropical
Squeezable fruit mash with no added sugar.
60 calories, 0 grams fat, 11 grams sugars, 4 mg sodium
Righteously RawRose Bar
Organic raw chocolate bar sweetened with agave.
120 calories, 9 grams fat, 6 grams sugars, 16 mg sodium
Barbara's Bakery Snackimals Oatmeal
Wheat-free cookies sweetened with fruit juice concentrate.
120 calories, 5 grams fat, 6 grams sugars, 130 grams sodium
Lära Bar Pecan Pie
Energy bars sweetened with dried fruit.
220 calories, 13 grams fat, 18 grams sugars, 0 mg sodium
Crofter's OrganicJust Fruit Spread Wild Blueberry
Sweetened only with fruit juice.
35 calories, 0 grams fat, 8 grams sugars, 10 mg sodium
Graham crackers sweetened with honey and unsulphured molasses.
140 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 6 grams sugars, 230 mg sodium