When choosing healthy ingredients for cooking and baking, it’s not always easy knowing what to buy. As I come across recipes, I usually see a few ingredients that make my toes curl. The following are some that come to mind, please add any more that I may have forgotten.
As you read through these, please don’t jump all over me saying, “Well, we can’t afford to buy all this stuff!” I’m not saying you’re a bad person or a bad Mom if you don’t follow all these suggestions or if you don’t buy everything local and organic; I still buy some things conventional or from far away, too. These are hard times, and all we can do is all we can do. Not only that, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all this. This list is just a reference to help you learn more. Do the best you can, and go easy on yourself!
Ingredients that make me squirm:
- Egg Beaters or another fake egg product – real, pastured eggs are so good for you, especially the yolk!
- Vegetable oils – one of the real causes of heart disease.
- Velveeta or the “American” cheese slices – both labeled as a “cheese food product” – ewwww, the opposite of real food. (More about better cheese choices.)
- Canned fruit pie filling – instead use fresh fruits or this homemade pie filling.
- Low fat or fat free anything – it’s just not natural; it’s full of fake ingredients and who-knows-what side effects.
- Sugar free – scary. Use small amounts of more natural sweeteners instead.
- Oleo or Shortening (Yikes!) – use just butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil (or the no-flavor coconut oil), or palm shortening. Read more about fats.
- Bouillon or Soup Base – these usually are full of MSG or trans fats. Real stock is so nutritious (full of minerals!) and easy, too!
- Canned gravy – don’t do it (see above)! The real thing is just too yummy, too nutritious, and too simple to pass it up!
- White flour – I use less than I ever have, but it’s still in a few of my recipes and almost always along with whole grain flours.
- Low fat milk – go back to full fat milk, is so much more nutritious! Which milk choices are best.
- Conventional meats – read about better meat choices, and have you seen this short video?
- White rice – I use organic brown rice, or we also love this extra nutritious and good-tasting germinated brown rice!
Here are a few more substitutions I make, but skip them for now if you’re feeling overwhelmed…
- I use organic vanilla to avoid the rotten ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.
- For Baking powder I use “aluminum free” since aluminum has been strongly linked to certain health issues.
- Peanut Butter – regular brands often are full of pesticides and still have trans fats, so I buy organic.
- Instead of regular soy sauce, use a fermented soy sauce – sounds small, but there’s a big difference in nutrition.
- Wonder which fruits & vegetables are heavy on pesticides?
What are some recipe ingredients that make you squirm, and how do you adapt them?