Nutritionist

Kara Swanson

Kara Swanson is a certified nutritionist and the founder of Life Well Lived. She is married to her best friend and the proud mother of three. Her passion is to make nutrition simple+easy+delicious!

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Collaborated Articles

  • Top 10 Best Healthy Pastas in 2021 (Explore Cuisine, The Only Bean, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Pastas in 2021 (Explore Cuisine, The Only Bean, and More)

    For a lot of people, pasta is an easy go-to meal, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. Most conventional store-bought pasta is filled with artificial ingredients, so we’ve decided to figure out what makes a good, healthy pasta. While researching, we found that the best pastas are made from just a few whole ingredients and feature nutrient-packed bases like beans or whole grains. They cater to personal dietary restrictions and have a balanced macronutrient profile. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve handpicked our favorite healthy pastas, including Explore Cuisine's Edamame Spaghetti. We also prepared a buying guide with tips from nutritionist Kara Swanson if you want to pick your own.
    Food and drinks
    1,222 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Chips in 2021 (Terra, Bare, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Chips in 2021 (Terra, Bare, and More)

    When it comes to snacking, nothing beats the crunch of a chip. But most conventional chips leave much to be desired in terms of health. That’s why we’ve decided to figure out what makes a great healthy chip. While researching, we found that the best chips are made from whole foods ingredients aside from white potatoes, have a good balance of macronutrients, and cater to your dietary restrictions. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favorite healthy chips available online. Our top pick is Terra's Original Chips with Sea Salt. They're made from real root vegetables and contain no artificial flavors or preservatives. If you want more options, keep reading! We've also compiled a buying guide with tips from nutritionist Kara Swanson to help you choose the most scrumptious and healthy snacks that suit your tastes. 
    Food and drinks
    1,037 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Pancake Mixes in 2021 (Bob's Red Mill, Simple Mills, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Pancake Mixes in 2021 (Bob's Red Mill, Simple Mills, and More)

    Nothing beats a stack of pancakes for breakfast, but traditional pancakes can be full of refined grains and artificial ingredients. But there are healthier options out there. We found that the best healthy mixes use whole food ingredients and often incorporate grains other than just white wheat. Some mixes only require you to add water, while others take a bit more effort. In either case, the best pancake mix for you will cater to your macronutrient and dietary needs. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve picked our favorite healthy pancake mixes, including our favorite, Bob's Red Mill Organic 7 Grain Pancake Mix! We've also compiled a handy buying guide with tips from nutritionist Kara Swanson if you want to choose your own mix.
    Food and drinks
    3,480 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Chocolates in 2021 (Endangered Species, Equal Exchange, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Chocolates in 2021 (Endangered Species, Equal Exchange, and More)

    Chocolate is often thought of as a guilty pleasure, but in fact, some chocolates can be outright good for you! That means you can satisfy those sweet cravings without sacrificing too much of your health. To help you feel a little better about your cocoa addiction, we decided to look for the best healthy chocolates.In our research, we found that the best chocolates have less ingredients but more cocoa, are low in sugar, and fit your dietary restrictions. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve put together a list of 10 of our favorite healthy chocolates available online. We've also included a buying guide with tips from nutritionist Kara Swanson to help you weed out the healthy chocolates from the not-so-healthy ones!
    Food and drinks
    1,044 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Jellies in 2021 (Crofter's, Nature's Hollow, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Jellies in 2021 (Crofter's, Nature's Hollow, and More)

    Breakfast is hardly complete without a large shmear of jelly, but most conventional jellies are full of preservatives, stabilizers, and excessive sugars. That’s why we decided to figure out what makes a great healthy jelly!In our research, we found that the best jellies contain just fruit, sugar, and pectin, fit your macronutrient needs, and are non-GMO. They might not even be jellies at all but jams and preserves instead. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve come up with a list of our favorite healthy jellies available online, including our top pick by Crofter's. We've also prepared a handy buying guide with extra tips from nutritionist Kara Swanson.
    Food and drinks
    16,185 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Oatmeals in 2021 (Bob's Red Mill, purely elizabeth, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Oatmeals in 2021 (Bob's Red Mill, purely elizabeth, and More)

    Oatmeal is normally thought of as a pretty healthy breakfast, but most pre-packaged oatmeals can be full of unnecessary sugars and artificial ingredients. That’s why we’ve decided to figure out what makes a great healthy oatmeal.We found that the best oatmeals often contain extra nutritional ingredients like nuts and seeds. And depending on your tastes and health preferences, you may want to look for oatmeals that are specifically gluten-free, rolled, or steel-cut. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favorite healthy oatmeals, with Farm to Table Foods taking first place. We also have a buying guide at the end, prepared with help from nutritionist Kara Swanson.
    Food and drinks
    1,726 views
  • Top 9 Best Healthy Honeys in 2021 (Kiva, Three Peaks, and More)

    Top 9 Best Healthy Honeys in 2021 (Kiva, Three Peaks, and More)

    Honey is a fantastic natural sweetener for your tea, baking, and more; and it's full of healthful benefits if you know what to look for. We’ve put together this guide to help you figure out what makes a great healthy honey. In our research, we found that the best honeys are raw and unfiltered, contain nothing but pure honey, and are preferably organic. We also learned that honeys from different flowers or a variety of flowers can have different qualities, which might affect your choice. Keeping these things in mind, we handpicked a list of our 9 favorite healthy honeys available online. Our favorite was Y.S. Organic Bee Farms' 100% Organic Raw Honey because it has some rare and enticing sources, and it tastes great! Read on for nine other great options and our buying guide, prepared with help from nutritionist Kara Swanson.
    Food and drinks
    2,918 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy BBQ Sauces in 2021 (Jack Daniel's, Stubb's, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy BBQ Sauces in 2021 (Jack Daniel's, Stubb's, and More)

    Barbecue sauce has a history that stretches as far back as the 1800s and is a common ingredient in many American foods today. From Sweet Chuck’s All Natural Barbecue Sauce to Annie’s Original Original BBQ Sauce, choosing the right sauce that’s healthy and that also complements your food can be a tough choice.In this article, and with the advice of nutritionist Kara Swanson, we’ll show you how to choose the right healthy barbecue sauce, tell you which ingredients to avoid, and recommend some delicious, healthy barbecue sauces. Whether you’re looking something sweet and subtle or something bold and spicy, there’s a healthy barbecue sauce out there for you; for us, it's Annie's Original BBQ Sauce!
    Food and drinks
    20,718 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Breads in 2021 (Dave’s Killer Bread, San Francisco Boudin Bakery, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Breads in 2021 (Dave’s Killer Bread, San Francisco Boudin Bakery, and More)

    While bread may have a bad reputation for causing weight gain, not all breads are bad for you. And to prove it, we’ve rounded up some of the best breads available online and did all the research about how to find healthy options for you. These include sandwich bread, English muffins, and more! We found that the best healthy breads include only unprocessed, whole-food ingredients and fit into your diet or lifestyle–whether that be vegan or keto, there’s a bread for everyone. Keeping these things in mind, here are some of our favorite healthy breads, with Dave's Killer Bread taking first place. We've also prepared a buying guide at the end with the help of nutritionist Kara Swanson to help you pick your own bread!
    Food and drinks
    2,072 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Snacks for Kids in 2021 (Annie's, GoGo squeeZ, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Snacks for Kids in 2021 (Annie's, GoGo squeeZ, and More)

    Childhood is when bodies are built and taste preferences are made, so it’s important that kids eat healthy–including snacks. That’s why we’ve decided to figure out what makes a great healthy snack. We found that the best snacks include whole food ingredients and are free from overly processed and artificial ones. They’re also low on added sugars and cater to any allergies or dietary restrictions. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite healthy snacks for kids, with FreeYumm taking first place. We also created a buying guide with the help of nutritionist Kara Swanson to help you evaluate your choices. Read on for more!
    Food and drinks
    1,336 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Peanut Butters in 2021 (Smucker's, Peanut Butter and Co., and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Peanut Butters in 2021 (Smucker's, Peanut Butter and Co., and More)

    About 94% of American households have peanut butter somewhere in the house, with 297.06 million Americans consuming the product in 2019. Peanut butter is great for all sorts of preparations, but with so many brands out there, and with more awareness of additives and stabilizers, choosing a healthy peanut butter with the right consistency and taste has become more difficult. Since there are various factors to take into consideration when choosing an option that's guilt-free, we've researched extensively and prepared a buying guide with the help of nutritionist Kara Swanson to help point you in the right direction. We've also made a top 10 list of peanut butters, with our favorite being Crazy Richard's 100% Natural Creamy Peanut Butter—it only has one ingredient, making it absolutely healthy and still delicious.
    Food and drinks
    3,395 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Ketchups in 2021 (Primal Kitchen, Sir Kensington’s, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Ketchups in 2021 (Primal Kitchen, Sir Kensington’s, and More)

    If you think that ketchup is healthy just because it’s made from tomatoes and doesn’t have too much fat, then you might want to double-check that label on the back of your bottle of Heinz. Unfortunately, although ketchup has the potential to be really quite healthy, most commercial varieties are full of preservatives, artificial flavors, and sugar.Luckily, if you do a little digging, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a healthier ketchup. With advice from nutritionist Kara Swanson, in this guide, we’ll go over the things to look for when figuring out just how good for you ketchup is. We’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search, with Portlandia Foods taking our number one spot.
    Food and drinks
    7,169 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Mayonnaises in 2021 (Sir Kensington’s, Chosen Foods, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Mayonnaises in 2021 (Sir Kensington’s, Chosen Foods, and More)

    Gone are the days of low-fat everything. Full-fat products are back, and as a result, mayonnaise is having a bit of a moment. But we’re a little more conscious now—a bit warier of the kinds of mayonnaise that we’re eating, and luckily there have arisen a number of healthy options to cater to our needs.With so many options, though, it can be overwhelming to choose which to buy. So in this guide and armed with advice from nutritionist Kara Swanson, we’ll talk about the differences between various mayonnaises, how to find one that’s actually healthy, and how to choose one that’s best for you. Our favorite was Sir Kensington's Organic Mayonnaise. Read on for why!
    Food and drinks
    10,028 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Gift Baskets in 2021 (Oh! Nuts, The Good Grocer, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Gift Baskets in 2021 (Oh! Nuts, The Good Grocer, and More)

    Gift baskets are an easy way to show thanks or appreciation—particularly if they’re filled with food. And nothing says “I care” like a basket full of healthy treats. That’s why we’ve decided to figure out what makes a great healthy gift basket. In our research, we found that the best gift baskets are full of whole food snacks or packaged treats made from all-natural ingredients. Of course, they should also meet dietary restriction needs and take flavor preferences into consideration. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite healthy gift baskets available online, with Oh! Nuts' option taking first place. With the help of nutritionist Kara Swanson, we've also prepared a buying guide to help you choose your own healthy basket!
    Gifts
    9,145 views
  • Top 10 Best Smoothie Recipe Books in 2021 (Women's Health, Julie Morris, and More)

    Top 10 Best Smoothie Recipe Books in 2021 (Women's Health, Julie Morris, and More)

    Smoothies can get boring pretty quickly, especially when you’re using the same combinations over and over. That’s why we set out to find the best smoothie recipe books available. After pouring over reviews, we found that the best recipe books match your goals, include ingredients you can eat and find easily, and offer more information than just ingredient lists.Many books feature recipes that include vegetables as well as fruits and focus on health benefits such as weight management, anti-aging, and gut health. Keeping these factors in mind, we picked out 10 amazing smoothie recipe books, with Green Kitchen Smoothies taking first place. We've also prepared a buying guide and some amazing health tips from nutritionist Kara Swanson to help support you on your health journey!
    Books, CDs, DVDs
    15,534 views
  • Top 10 Best Healthy Popcorns in 2021 (Pop Zero, SkinnyPop, and More)

    Top 10 Best Healthy Popcorns in 2021 (Pop Zero, SkinnyPop, and More)

    Snacking is a hard habit to kick, and not all snacking options are healthy; popcorn, unfortunately, is one of them. Even though popcorn is mostly air, many conventional options are full of fats, preservatives, and artificial flavors. That’s why we decided to look into healthier options.In our research, we found that the best popcorns contain only whole foods ingredients, have limited fat and sodium, and may be organic or gluten-free. Both pre-popped and microwave popcorns can be equally healthy. With these things in mind, we handpicked our favorite healthy popcorns available online and prepared a handy buying guide with the help of nutritionist Kara Swanson.
    Food and drinks
    3,811 views
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