Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean you have to forgo all convenience foods. You're busy, you're on-the-go, you're the master of your universe, and you sure as hell don't want to be stuck eating McDonald's out of desperation.
Sometimes, everyone just needs to eat something out of a plastic wrapper.
The good news is, not all prepackaged foods are horrible for you. There are healthful vegan eats being made right in our own backyard. Here are our top five:
These range from snack bars to cookies to a granola-like Paleo mix. All are awesome for breakfast, snack time, or postworkout and are acked with protein, safe for food sensitivities, and preservative-free. May you never touch another Snickers bar.
Billed "granola without the grain," this tasty mashup of nuts, raisins, fruit, almond butter, and other good stuff is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, vegan, and, obviously, Paleo. It's chock full of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and yummy to boot, so even picky kids are into it. The four flavors are apple, banana, almond butter, and pumpkin. You can pick some up at the Pinecrest Gardens farmers market, as well as CrossFit Soul, 29th Street CrossFit, Off the Grille, and S & S Diner, among other spots. Or get them online at pale-o-la.com.
Helmed by two local ladies on a mission, this company is churning out healthful bars for on-the-go eaters. Their creations are gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, corn-free, non-GMO, and low on the glycemic index. And they're supersatisfying. The bars come in chocolate coconut, apple cinnamon, cashew nut crunch, and spicy chocolate cherry. Oh, and they deliver locally for free! You can order through their website and find them weekly at the Pinecrest Gardens farmers' market every Sunday.
So who doesn't love a cookie? But even better than the regular waist-widening variety are those of the protein-rich, spirulina sort. The signature Bad Ass cookie is packed with B-12 and a host of phytochemicals. It's natural, non-GMO, and vegan. And yes, it still tastes like a cookie. You can score 'em online, at Choices Cafe, and at Apple-a-Day.
These raw, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO bars are designed to pack a nutritional wallop when you need it most. Forget all that nonsense about vegans not getting enough protein. These have seven grams of protein apiece and come in yummy flavors such as almond energy, cacao power, and goji antioxidant. Founders Ashanty Williams and Lauren Feingold launched the brand to deliver delicious eats that help people achieve a healthy lifestyle. The bars are available all over the place (more than 100 locations in South Florida), including the Juice Spot, Smoothie King, the Biltmore Hotel, Pura Vida, and Joe's Takeaway.
Baker extraordinaire and Miamian Ginny Simon has been cooking goodies for folks with food sensitivities since 2010, but her Love and Nuts bars hit the market more recently, in 2012. They're an organic mix of nuts, seeds, coconut, and fruit. Think almonds, dates, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and lots of other good-for-you goodies. Plus, they're gluten- and preservative-free. You can snag some bars online or at Panther Coffee, Pura Vida, Vita Life, Epicure Gourmet Market, and Canyon Ranch.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.