NEW YORK — Nature’s Pride bread, Nature’s Path cereal and Thomas’ bagels were among the brands recognized by Fitness magazine as part of the publication’s 3rd annual Healthy Food Awards. The annual feature appears in the July/August issue.

Launched in February of this year, Nature’s Pride bread was selected as "Best Sliced Bread." The bread is baked without artificial flavors or colors and has no trans fats, no artificial preservatives and no high-fructose corn syrup.

"When we began to develop the Nature’s Pride recipe, our goal was not only to bake an all-natural bread that tasted good — it was to bake the best tasting bread available," said Rich Seban, chief marketing officer at Interstate Brands, baker of Nature’s Pride. "The recognition by Fitness validates the steps we’ve taken. We are thrilled that the brand was included on this year’s award list."

Past winners in the category include Arnold 100% Natural Whole Wheat Bread in 2008 and Arnold Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat in 2007.

Taking home the top prize in the cereal category was Nature’s Path Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon. Past winners include Fiber One Honey Clusters cereal in 2008 and Kashi GoLean Crunch! in 2007.

Thomas’ Hearty Grains 100% Whole Wheat was recognized as the "Best Bagel" because of its portion size and high protein and fiber content, according to Fitness. Past winners in the category include Thomas’ Whole Wheat Mini Bagels in 2008 and Thomas’ Mini Bagels Cinnamon Raisin in 2007.

Other award winners in 2009 include:

• Best Breakfast Bar — Kashi TLC Pumpkin Spice Flax

• Best Oatmeal — Holly’s Wickedly Plain

• Best Waffle — Van’s All Natural Multigrain

• Best Muffin — Fiber One Apple Cinnamon Bun.

The Fitness Healthy Food Awards are based on the recommendation of a panel of four Fitness advisory board members who select products based on healthy criteria for each category (such as the number of calories and grams of fat each food should contain; that deli meats be low in sodium, bread and cereals high in fiber, and so on). The top three to five brands in each food category are then taste-tested by dozens of Fitness magazine employees.