This post is sponsored by Paleonola. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for your support of My Healthyish Life!
If this isn’t your first time visiting my blog you already know I’m not an RD or a health professional. If this IS your first time here, thanks for stopping by, please know that I’m not a RD or health professional. However, I am someone who has high-standards when it comes to taste and nutrition of food, particularly packaged foods because they are everywhere, convenient and often unhealthy. In a quest to live my best (aka healthyish) life I have experimented with different brands of packaged foods to find what works for me. Actually, it was my celiac diagnosis (now eight years ago) that started me on this path.
Fact: Many of the gluten-free products available are filled with additives and sugar to make up for the lack of gluten. Unfortunate, but true. There is a time and a place for those products, but they don’t fit my bill for an everyday snack. The “gluten-free” label is such a selling point for some people that the ingredients in the product are often overlooked. In fact, other healthy-sounding labels like “all-natural” and “whole grain” tend to have a similar effect. If I’ve learned anything it’s that you need to take your health into your own hands and judge a product for yourself. Don’t buy blindly.
That being said, I do eat packaged foods because, hello, some are damn good….like Paleonola.
I was introduced to Paleonola last year and it immediately became a staple smoothie-bowl topping. As the name sounds, Paleonola is a Paleo version of granola. Unlike traditional granola, it is grain-free and made only with nuts, seeds and dried fruit. It still has the rich, hearty feel of granola but without the sugars or carbohydrate crash. Plus, it tastes freaking incredible.
For the reasons listed below, Paleonola is a brand I choose when selecting a packaged food.
Not trying to sound preachy (kick me off my high-horse, please) but I think this can be a helpful reminder to find what’s important to you when choosing a product and spending your money.
Ingredients, ingredients, ingredients
You know the “location, location, location” saying? That’s how I feel about ingredients. The ingredient list is the first (and sometimes only) thing I look for on a product. The shorter, the better. The more I can pronounce and already know, the better. I don’t want to eat something I’ve never heard of, especially considering I have a history of stomach issues and sensitivities.
The ingredients in Paleonola’s Original Granola: Almonds, pecans, pepitas, honey, walnuts, coconut oil, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sweetened dried cranberries (cranberries, apple juice concentrate, sunflower oil), dried coconut, vanilla extract, cinnamon.
To me, this is a good balance of nutrient-dense ingredients, healthy fats and natural sweeteners.
Smaller companies with health-focused mission statements
This is a random point but something that is important to me. Very rarely do I buy products from big food companies, we’re talking the most popular boxes that dominate the aisles. It’s not that I don’t always like their products, but I prefer to support smaller, start-up brands found at local speciality and health food stores. I have found that smaller companies, like Paleonola, have specific and customer-focused mission statements with a purpose other than making money.
Paleonola’s mission: PALEONOLA is determined to provide the highest quality grain-free snacks to our consumers using simple, all-natural ingredients. As our business continues to grow and expand we promise to never compromise our quality and to always provide a product that uses only what Mother Nature has given us.
We are constantly striving to be better in all aspects of our lives and Paleonola helps us do just that. While we’re not perfect and will never claim to be, we believe that honesty and simplicity are the keys to meeting the challenges of everyday life. That’s why we created a simple snack that we believe will help encourage you to live a healthier life. You’ll be amazed at how the smallest changes can have the biggest impact. We want you to know that we promise to deliver the best we have to offer every time.
That last paragraph…gold. I like knowing that a company has my best interests in mind and genuinely wants to offer a healthy, delicious product. Plus, Paleonola is based in Rhode Island and most of my extended family lives there. I have a soft-spot for RI companies.
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While calories are important in a general sense, they aren’t something I personally look at immediately. Depending on your health goals, or lack of goals in my case, what you look at will obviously diff. If we’re talking about nutrition facts though, I look for a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats in my OVERALL diet. That being said, I don’t count calories or macros and I couldn’t tell you the specifics of what I ate yesterday. This is just what works for me now. You do you.
I do know that how I feel after eating is important to me, and Paleonola gives the nutrition and energy I need for running, blogging, living, breathing, or whatever -ing I’m doing that day without a crash and burn. I’d 100% rather choose a food typically higher in calories, like granola, that’s filled with good, wholesome ingredients than a low-cal snack bar for no reason other than the calorie count. Not my style.
Flavor options + taste
To state the obvious, I’m not going to buy something that doesn’t taste good…even if it’s super healthy. Paleonola exceeds my requirements for taste AND offers myriad flavors. I want as many flavor choices as moods I have. I know that’s asking for a lot (I can’t even count the moods) so I generally take at least three or four options from brands. Paleonola has six different flavors, enough for every day of the week plus a combo of all six on Sunday.
Paleonola flavors: Original, Chocolate Fix, Maple Pancake, Pina Colada, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie.
My (current) favorites are Maple Pancake and Pumpkin Pie. Depending on your smoothie or snack preference, you have an array of flavor options to choose from.
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Whether you are filling your shopping cart online or in a grocery store, I hope you take the time to choose a snack that suits your taste and lifestyle preferences, whatever they may be at the moment.
For me? It’s healthyish all the way.