And the winners of the @deliciousliving inaugural Best Bite Awards are ...


If you’re a savvy natural foods shopper (and we’re sure you are), you know that choosing the best products from among hundreds in your local store can be fun but overwhelming. That’s why, for our first-ever Best Bite awards, we asked experienced natural retailers, manufacturers, and you to share the picks that make healthy living more delicious. After tasting samples and scrutinizing ingredients, we chose these winners, with a particular focus on specialty diet categories such as gluten free, vegan, and raw. All of them earn distinction for delivering healthy, whole foods using high-quality sourcing standards. We hope you recognize your standbys and discover a few new favorites.

From eco packaging to breakthrough brand

Best Eco Packaging
Quinn Popcorn
A revolution in microwave popcorn that ditches Teflon-patched bags, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavorings for compostable bags and organic, non-GMO corn. We also love the five gourmet flavors using simple ingredients added after popping. Brilliant!
Finalists
Sen Cha Naturals Green Tea Mints
Sol Milk

Best Breakthrough Brand
Epic
We’ve tried a handful of meat “snacks” since Paleo eating went mainstream, but this is the first product to get it right. The 100 percent grass-fed beef, turkey, and bison bars won us over with unique tastes, such as Bison Bacon Cranberry. Each offers 11–14 grams of protein from whole-food ingredients.
Finalists
Love Grown Foods
Lyfe Kitchen

Best Mission-Driven brand
Endangered Species Chocolate
In addition to making mouthwatering confections, this company donates 10 percent of annual net profits (an unprecedented amount) to nonprofits focused on wildlife conservation and habitat preservation. We love the beautiful images of the animals we’re helping to save that are shown on the front of each bar.
Finalists
Alter Eco
Two Degrees

Best New Product
Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Egg Rolls
Flaky and stuffed with flavorful non-GMO ingredients including shiitakes, mung beans, and cabbage, these rolls will woo even devoted Chinese takeout fans, including those who don’t typically eat GF.
Finalists
Bhakti Chai
Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Sour Cream

Best Value
Bragg Liquid Aminos
Any truly natural kitchen keeps this classic on hand. The gluten-free, liquid-protein concentrate, made from non-GMO soybeans, kicks up flavor in soups, pasta sauce, or just about anything. Because dishes only need a drop or two, a bottle lasts for months.
Finalists
Bob’s Red Mill Steel-Cut Oats
Eden Organic beans

Best Single Ingredient Use
Dang Coconut Chips
Made with toasted coconut meat and tossed with a touch of salt, these chips surprised us with their perfectly crisped texture and authentic flavor. Vegan, gluten free, and packing 3 grams fiber per serving, they’re dang near perfect.
Finalists
Henry’s Humdingers spicy honey
Mamma Chia

Best Classic
Organic ValleyAmerican Singles
Forget those floppy, plastic-looking cheese slices we all grew up eating. These are made with real ingredients—organic milk, a little salt, and annatto for color—and will take you back to mom’s kitchen when tucked in a gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
Finalists
Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna

Gluten-Free Favorites

Best Gluten-Free Bread
Canyon Bakehouse Rosemary & Thyme Focaccia
Made in a dedicated GF facility with non-GMO whole grains, this company’s products offer artisan flavor and fabulous texture—still no easy feat with GF foods. Sea salt, thyme, and extra-virgin olive oil flavor this favorite.
Finalists
Rudi’s Original Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
Udi’s Gluten Free Everything Inside Bagels

Best Gluten-Free Cereal
Nature’s Path Qi’a
With the addition of milk (dairy or non), this cereal’s consistency is like a crunchy Cream of Wheat—but way tastier and better for you. Chia, hemp seeds, and buckwheat deliver an impressive 6 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, and a hefty dose of omega-3s. Go ahead, have a second bowl.
Finalists
Bakery on Main Instant Apple Pie Oatmeal
Barbara’s Honey Rice Puffins

Best Gluten-Free Baking Mix
Pamela’s Products Baking & Pancake Mix
Using a mix of flours, including brown rice and almond, this versatile, foolproof blend is our go-to favorite for gluten-free cookies, muffins, and perfect pancakes every time. It’s also non-GMO and carries the Gluten-Free Certified seal.
Finalists
Wholesome Chow Hi-Protein Pancake Mix
XO Baking Co. All-Purpose Flour Blend

Specialty Diet Snacks

Best Raw Snack
Made in Nature Bananas
Rather than harvested green and chemically ripened, these USDA Organic bananas are picked at their flavor peak before drying. The perfectly sweet, sticky, and soft rounds are ideal for smoothies, cereal, or eating straight from the bag.
Finalists
Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale Vampire Killer
Larabar Coconut Cream Pie

Best Vegan Snack
Earth Balance P.B. Popps
It didn’t take long for us to polish off a bag of these certified organic, non-GMO snacks. Salty-sweet peanut butter enrobes fluffy corn kernels, which are then rolled in crunchy gluten-free oats. Yes, please!
Finalists
Beanfields Nacho Bean & Rice Chips
SeaSnax Classic Olive

Best Kids Snack
Plum Kids Organic Fruit & Veggie Shredz Rooty Blues
Remember Big League Chew shredded bubble gum? Here’s a much healthier but just as fun alternative. Made with certified organic apple, pumpkin, carrot, blueberry, cherry, and kale, each pack contains a full fruit serving.
Finalists
Earthbound Farm Organic Dippin’ Doubles Apples & Peanut Butter
Enjoy Life Seed and Fruit Mix Beach Bash

Non-Dairy Delights

Best Nondairy Ice Cream
So Delicious Almond Milk Mocha Almond Fudge Minis
Our love affair with So Delicious began long ago. Now our top flavor comes in bar form, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crunchy almonds. Could it get any better? Yes it can: These bars are vegan, soy free, and gluten free—and only 150 calories each.
Finalists
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss Ginger Cookie Caramel
Nada Moo Java Crunch

Best Nondairy Milk
Califia Farms Pure Almondmilk
This dreamy dairy-free milk reminds us of the 2 percent we grew up drinking. Almonds make it just as rich in calcium but with only 60 calories per cup. Terrific for morning cereal or for dipping your favorite gluten-free cookies.
Finalists
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze almond-coconut blend
Pacific Hazelnut Chocolate

Best Nondairy Cheese
GO Veggie! Cream Cheese
Luxurious and smooth, this vegan spread also has fewer calories and fat than dairy-based options. Try our favorite flavor, strawberry, slathered on a bagel or stuffed in vegan French toast.
Finalists
Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Havarti

Food for Lovers Vegan Queso

Better-for-you beverages

Best Sports Drink
Golazo Mandarina
We love that this light, fruity drink incorporates electrolyte-rich coconut water, half the sodium of many sports drinks, and no GMOs, artificial colors, or preservatives. Score!
Finalists
Cheribundi Tart Cherry Restore
Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water

Best Low- or Zero-calorie Drink
Bai 5 Limu Lemon
Coffee fruit in this stevia-sweetened beverage loads it up with antioxidants. Fun flavors are just sweet enough while still quenching thirst. And each serving has only
5 calories.
Finalists
Dr. B’s Lemon Grass
Honest Fizz Orange Pop

Best Energy Drink
Guayaki Classic Gold Sparkling Yerba Mate
Bubbling with bright tamarind and lime notes, this new beverage delights the tongue. Energy-boosting yerba maté and certified organic and fair-trade ingredients make it one of the cleanest energy drinks you can buy.
Finalists
Blue Buddha Vitality Herbal Tea
Steaz Organic Energy Berry

 

Guilt-Free Treats

Best Raw Dessert
Pure Market ExpressChocolate Truffle Pie
Our taste team couldn’t believe this unapologetically chocolate treat wasn’t homemade. Just ten minutes out of the freezer and it’s ready to enjoy. It’s also gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free and made with organic ingredients.
Finalists
Coco-Roons Vanilla Maple
ZaZa Raw Vegan Chocolate Ganache Cake

Best Vegan Dessert
Hail Merry Miracle Tart Meyer Lemon
This dessert is raw and gluten free, but the
real draw is its incredible sweet-tart flavor. Made with almond flour and coconut cream ganache, this tart surpasses dairy- and gluten-laden options in nearly every way.
Finalists
Earth Café Rockin’ Raspberry Cheesecake
Laughing Giraffe Organics Pineapple Macadamia Snakaroons

Best Splurge
Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate
This perfectly balanced bar (crunchy with just a hint of salt) is our preferred treat after a long day. The love poem inside each bar makes indulging even sweeter.
Finalists
Amy’s Organic Andy’s Dandy Candy Crunchy
Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut candy bar

Best Nut Butter
Once Again Cashew Butter
This certified organic spread tastes sinfully creamy, decadent, and rich. And contrary to their buttery texture, cashews actually have less fat than most nuts. They’re also a great source of copper and magnesium. We call it heavenly.
Finalists
Artisana Organic Cacao Bliss
NuttZo Organic Omega-3 Seven Nut and Seed Butter

 

Healthy entrees

 

Best Vegan Entrée
Hilary’s Eat Well Green Chili & Cumin Adzuki Bean Burger
So tasty you won’t miss the beef. These burgers’ “meaty” flavor comes from organic, nutrient-dense ingredients including millet, quinoa, and adzuki beans. Bonus points for being certified gluten free and Non-GMO Project Verified.
Finalists
Helen’s Kitchen Thai Red Curry
Sukhi’s Vegetable Samosa Street Wrap

Best Vegetarian Entrée
Sweet Earth Natural Foods The Peruvian Burrito
This decidedly epicurean burrito made our taste buds sing. Black beans, red quinoa, sweet potato, goat cheese, roasted corn, and spirulina combine for full, earthy flavor and an impressive 17 grams of protein.
Finalists
Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake
Tandoor Chef Paneer Tikka Masala

Best Vegetarian Pizza
Evol Flatbreads Goat Cheese, Pesto & Portabella
This elegant pizza impressed us with creamy goat cheese, sautéed portabella mushrooms, and basil pesto on stone-fired flatbread. We’re stashing a few in the freezer for a filling snack or light dinner.
Finalists
American Flatbread Sundried Tomato & Mushroom Pizza
Kashi Thin Crust Roasted Vegetable Pizza