The Best Store-Bought Meals, Snacks, and Desserts
Some days, we make delicious and nutritious meals from scratch. Others, it’s all we can do to rummage in the freezer for something to fill those hungry tummies. The reality is that homemade isn’t always possible…and it’s not worth beating yourself up over. As parents, we do a good job. If that means that sometimes there are prepared foods for dinner, then that’s totally fine. We do our best—and our best is often achieved because we have help—help like these grocery store meals, snacks and treats that fill in the gaps. Read on for our favourites!
Summer Fresh Spinach Dip
Dip? Delicious. We’re fans of this spinach dip with veggies, pita, on pasta, or even stirred into some scrambled eggs. Also fabulous on top of loaded baked potatoes.
About $4, available at Walmart, Loblaws, Save on Foods, and more.
Kashi Organic Promise Granola
It is very, very hard to find a pre-packaged granola that doesn’t contain tree nuts, which is challenging for those with allergies. And yes, we can make our own….but not at the rate our kids consume cereal! So we’re so pleased with Kashi’s line of granola with no tree nuts. Both the cranberry and the cocoa-coconut varieties are delicious eaten plain, with milk, or combined with fruit and yogurt for a perfect parfait. $5, available at Tops Market, London Drugs, Walmart, and more.
Skinnypasta tastes and looks like regular pasta—except it’s been fortified with extra (vegetarian) protein—making it perfect for ensuring both picky eaters and vegetarians are getting enough protein in their diets. (One 100g serving packs 21 g of protein!) the pasta comes fresh, but freezes up nicely—so pop it in the freezer if you’re unsure of when you’ll use it. Gluten-free teff pasta is also available. $5.99, available at Farm Boy, Fortino's, Foodland, and more.
Kozy Shack Rice Pudding
We like that Kozy Shack uses only a few simple ingredients in their rice pudding. Our friends love that it is gluten-free. Not for an everyday occurrence, given that we’re watching sugar intake, but from time to time this makes a good treat—especially with sliced strawberries on top.
$4.68, available at Walmart, Loblaws, Costco, and more .
Amy’s Kitchen Bean and Cheese Burrito
When we’re dashing out the door in mere minutes for the host of kid activities, we need something—fast! Amy’s kitchen has saved us many times, and the kids love the bean and cheese burrito, especially smothered in a chunky salsa and some sour cream. The ingredients are pretty decent and it gets us out the door without feeling starved or sick from grease. $3.87, available at Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart, and more.
PC Traditional Mini Naan Flatbreads
Naan is one of the best parts of Indian food, but regular ones are massive. We like these mini versions, perfect for small hands. And if the youngsters aren’t keen on the Indian food main course, they quickly turn into mini pizzas topped with whatever happens to be in the fridge. Available wherever President's Choice products are sold.
Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop
The entire popcorn line-up is a winning treat, but lately we’ve been drawn to the dark chocolate-drizzled kettle corn. Salty, sweet, smooth and crunchy—wow. Just about every craving satisfied in one handful. $4.99, available at Well.ca,
Amazon.ca, and other stores.
We’re big fans of the original Larabars, so we were keen to try the Larabar bites. Closer to one of our homemade energy protein balls, these little morsels are almost truffle-like in consistency (and with flavours like double chocolate, mint chocolate and chocolate macaroon). But the ingredients are still simple and healthy, with nuts and dates serving as the main components. Yum!
$9.29, available at well.ca.
Theo Chocolates Peanut Butter Cups
These are truly ethical treats, and are billed as the first ever fair-trade peanut butter cup (no palm oil…yay!). They also happen to be soy-free, gluten-free, organic, kosher, and absolutely delicious.
$2.29, available at theochocolate.com.
We used to only be able to find Bark Thins at Costco, and would stock up mightily at those times. Now we see them at our local grocer in more manageable sizes, allowing us to have two (or three…) flavours on the go at once. Basically a thin bark with sea salt, made from fair-trade ingredients, the real star here is the nuts and seeds. We’re partial to the pumpkinseed as well as the almond varieties. $5.69, available at Whole Foods, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and more.
Nestle Milo Chocolate Malt Beverage Mix
We really love Maltesers…which translates into loving Milo, the chocolate malt beverage. Think chocolate milk powder, but with a malty kick, as well as great levels of calcium and iron. It can be made with milk or water, but we always opt for the milk version. It’s delicious hot or cold. $4.97, available at Walmart, Real Canadian Superstore, and more.
Pinty’s wings bring us right back to wing night at our favourite university gastro pub. They’re full of flavour and absolutely delicious. For a balanced meal, we limit portion sizes and heap the rest of our plates with salad and brown rice. $11.97, available at Walmart.
PC Old Fashioned Dark Chocolate Ice Cream and Dessert Topping
This deliciously thick and fudgy sauce makes for a really special treat on top of vanilla ice cream or as a favourite topping on a build-your-own sundae bar. Kids say that is even better than DQ—and that is certainly saying something. $4.98, available wherever President's Choice products are sold.
Tutti Gourmet Bites and Biscotti
These snack bites and the delicious biscotti are perfect when accommodating a range of dietary realities: the bites are free from corn, dairy, eggs, soy and gluten, with no added sugar or salt. They’re also paleo-friendly. The biscotti are free from corn, dairy, gluten and soy. The kids love the fruit bites, with a base of dried banana, coconut and sesame seeds, while we adore the almond and cacao. Healthy snacks are in our grasp! $6.79, available at Longos, Food Mart, Sobeys and more, and online at well.ca.