Fast & Fabulous: 32 Best Packaged Foods for Families
Tyson Dinner Kit Tomato Herb Chicken & Vegetable Pasta
Heat the kit’s ingredients with water in a skillet for about 20 minutes. The pasta, lightly coated in tomato sauce, sold the kid testers, but they also ate up the grilled chicken, carrots, and other veggies.
Frontera Chicken Fajita Skillet or Chicken Taco Skillet
Warm the grilled chicken and fire-roasted peppers in an oiled skillet for ten to 12 minutes, heat tortillas, and, ta-da, your crowd is fed. The fajita variety features a spicier sauce than the taco version—and kid testers liked a little heat.
Perdue Simply Smart Organics Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Strips
A great transition between chicken nuggets and grilled chicken, these moist, tender strips contain just a single gram of saturated fat. “My kids didn’t miss the extra breading, and I even chopped up leftovers to put in a salad for lunch the next day,” one mom said.
Beetnik Organic Grass-Fed Beef Meatballs
Simmer these 16 fully cooked meatballs (they’re golf-ball-size) in jarred tomato sauce for about ten minutes. Then spoon into toasted sub rolls or serve with pasta. “I’ve finally found delicious frozen meatballs that are made with gluten-free breadcrumbs,” said a mom tester.
Michael Angelo’s Meal Starter Chicken Bruschetta
There’s nothing in this chicken bruschetta’s shortlist of ingredients that you wouldn’t recognize. “My son complimented me on how tender the chicken tasted,” said one mom. “I’ll take it, even though I only popped the tray in the oven and had a glass of wine.”
Outsiders Pizza Company Detroit Style Pizza Three Cheese
Motor City pizza is a thing! Kid testers and parents gushed about this rectangular pie with a crust thicker than New York–style but not as thick as deep-dish Chicago. It’s topped with a blend of fontina, white cheddar, and Wisconsin brick cheese. “I hid the leftovers from the kids,” confessed one mom.
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Ortega Bakeable Tortilla Bowl Kit
Round up your kid helpers to mold the kit’s four flour tortillas into bowls. “My daughter sat in front of the oven watching them get crisp,” said one mom. “She thought they were so much more fun than taco shells.”
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Rao’s Homemade Margherita Pizza Sauce
With ingredients like Italian cherry tomatoes and a little dried oregano and garlic, this sauce elevates DIY pies. Parents editors are obsessed!
Jennie-O Taco Seasonings Turkey Sausage
This ready-to-brown ground turkey sausage in the refrigerated section offers fabulous taco flavor without a lot of sodium. Also available in Italian style.
Barilla Red Lentil Pasta
Hello, protein! Kids score 13 grams’ worth—more than what they’d get in two large eggs—in a single serving of this pasta. Testers ate the brand’s penne and rotini shapes with as much gusto as they eat regular pasta.
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Tillamook Sauce Starter Three Cheese
Combine milk with this kit’s contents: a blend of coarsely shredded Colby Jack, medium cheddar, and Monterey Jack, plus a seasoning packet. Then stir the sauce into your favorite cooked pasta. “My kids also liked using the cheese sauce as a dip for broccoli and other veggies,” one mom reported.
Stacy’s Cheese Petites Parmesan With Rosemary
Flavors like rosemary sound too fancy for kids, but trust us, even toddlers couldn’t keep their hands off these über-cheesy hexagon-shaped crackers.“ The texture and flavor is even better than a Parmesan crisp,” raved one mom.
Angie’s Boomchickapop Microwave Popcorn
The short, easy-to-read ingredients list and the genius packaging that doubles as a bowl melted our hearts. Testers liked both the sea-salt and the real-butter varieties; each has 35 calories per cup. (Serve popcorn only to kids ages 4 and up.)
Lundberg Organic Grounded Snacks Baked Grain Bites
Made with brown-rice and sorghum flours, these puffs come in varieties like aged Parmesan and smoky-sweet barbecue that wowed both parents and preschoolers.
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Classic Snacks We Love
Original Cheerios: We hope that our kids never outgrow their first finger food! They’re whole grain, supply 12 nutrients, and have just a bit of sugar.
Mott's Unsweetened Applesauce Cups: These are a diaper-bag and lunch-box essential thanks to simple ingredients (apples, water, and vitamin C) and a kid-pleasing taste.
Annie's Homegrown Shells & Real Aged Cheddar: Kids get their fave comfort food; we get the peace of mind that it’s made with healthy ingredients, including a natural source of coloring.
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Colors: Ahead of their time, the brand’s cute and vibrant rainbow crackers have always been free of artificial flavors and preservatives.
Amy's Organic Soups Alphabet: Letter-shaped pasta woos little ones to slurp bits of carrots, corn, and green beans in a mild-tasting tomato puree.
Nabisco Triscuit Original Crackers: This three-ingredient, whole-grain wheat cracker makes the best mini PB sandwiches.
Kellogg's Eggo Mickey Homestyle Waffles: A quick breakfast can feel special.
Athens Phyllo Shell
The cute little cups we’ve long used for savory apps now come in graham-cracker and chocolate flavors. Crisp them in the oven for a few minutes and spoon in a sweet filling, like marshmallow crème and mini chocolate chips.
Duncan Hines Wilderness Simply Strawberry Pie Filling & Topping
We tried it because it doesn’t have any artificial colors.We were hooked because it’s an easy and delicious shortcut for shortcakes, hand pies, and other bake-sale faves.
Nestlé Toll House Simply Delicious Chocolate Morsels
Rock a no-nut bake sale with these semisweet or dark-chocolate chips that are free of eight major allergens.Our kid testers liked them as much as the originals.
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Dole Slawsome! Kit Fiesta Lime
Our kid testers were way more into this twist on coleslaw—found in the refrigerated section—than the classic. A zesty cilantro-lime dressing that you mix into the shredded cabbage and carrots is the magic ingredient. High praise from a 6-year-old: “It’s even better than ranch.”
Alexia Mexican-Style Street Corn
You’re going to want to microwave this tray of frozen roasted corn every Taco Tuesday. Kid testers questioned the look of the Parmesan and mild red chile topping at first, but they ultimately dug in!
Taylor Farms Cheddar Ranch With White Meat Grilled Chicken Chopped Kit
Bite-size greens, shredded cheddar, grilled-chicken cubes, and uncured bacon elevates this blend above bagged-salad status. “My 5-year-old doesn’t normally eat salad, but she liked this,” said one mom, who served it with grilled cheese. Save leftovers for lunch.
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Birds Eye Veggie Made Broccoli Fries
Kid testers couldn’t tell that these baked fries, found in the frozen-foods aisle, contained more broccoli than potatoes. They only knew that they wanted seconds.
Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Yogurt Pouch
Clever combos, like blueberry-apple-carrot and pear-spinach-mango, helped this pouch stand out from the sea of options. It contains about half the sugar of the average yogurt and is fortified with bone-building vitamin D.
Sun-Maid Mixed Berry Sour Raisin Snacks
Kid testers raved about the sweet-sour contrast of these berry-flavored raisins. We found ourselves nibbling too.
Quaker Kids Organic Blueberry Whole Grain Bites
These bites have the texture of cookies and the aroma and flavor of blueberry muffins. And since they’re made with whole-oat and whole-wheat flours and not so much sugar, they definitely qualify as a healthy-ish treat.
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Skippy P.B. & Jelly Minis
This pouch of three tiny sammies—made with whole-grain bread, natural creamy peanut butter, and grape jelly—defrosts in your kid’s lunch box. “I worried that the bread might get soggy, but my daughter told me it was yummy,” said one mom.