12 More Real Food Ingredient Swaps To Instantly Add Nutrition To Your Life
I want to make your life simpler…
That’s one of the main reasons I have this website.
I know what it’s like to change the way you eat. I know how difficult it can be, financially AND emotionally.
I’ve “been there and done that”, so now I want to help you do it too!
And the easiest way I know of to change your family’s life and health is to start swapping ingredients, one at a time. No deprivation, no regrets.
Trust me — after you make some healthy, Real Food swaps, your body will crave the real stuff — and you’ll be able to spot a phony from a mile away. Just wait until you’ve been without processed food for a significant amount of time and can recognize the difference in taste — Real Food just tastes BETTER.
In many cases, these ingredient swaps will also save you money! Win!
Because there are so many ingredient swaps, I’m breaking these posts up. I don’t want to bore you with long posts, and you don’t need to feel overwhelmed, right?
Check out the first post, 16 Ingredient Swaps To Instantly Add Nutrition To Your Life — #1 through #16 are there.
Let’s continue with 12 MORE ingredient swaps today!
#17 — Swap Boxed Cereal With Oatmeal Or Homemade Granola
Boxed cereal is ex.pen.sive, dude. And for the very little nutrition and few number of servings you get out of one box, they’re not a very good deal for your health or your wallet.
Homemade oatmeal or granola, on the other hand, can be custom-made to be as nutritious as you want. You can change things up simply by changing your toppings or add-ins.
Don’t want cinnamon-raisin? Switch it up with maple syrup and dried apples. Or toasted coconut and chopped fair trade chocolate. (Here’s a round-up of 33 oatmeal recipes I put together for Traditional Cooking School.)
The sky’s the limit when it comes to homemade granola! Grain-free, with oats or without, coconut, dried fruit — endless possibilities!
You can even add superfoods to your granola — something you WON’T get in a boxed breakfast cereal. Try these yummy granola recipes: No-Bake Chocolate Orange Quinoa Granola, Protein-Packed Hemp Heart Granola, and Chunky Coconut Granola.
#18 — Swap Agave Nectar With Raw Honey Or Maple Syrup
Most people assume agave nectar is a health food; it’s not. It has almost the same chemical structure as high fructose corn syrup. If you must have a liquid sweetener, raw honey or real maple syrup are your best bets.
Want proof? Read this excellent article by Dr. Axe: Is Agave Nectar Good For You?
#19 — Swap Commercial Soy Sauce With Fermented Soy Sauce Or Coconut Aminos
Almost all commercial soy sauce (think Kikkoman) is not made with only soy; it’s also made with wheat and a whole host of other nasty ingredients, including MSG.
#20 — Swap White/Wheat Bread With Sprouted Or Sourdough Bread
Hard to digest, empty calories, void of nutrition, scary ingredients — that’s how I describe 95% of store-bought loaves of bread.
If you don’t want to bake your own bread (I don’t!), more and more stores are beginning to carry sprouted and traditional sourdough loaves. The Ezekiel bread with the red label is our favorite of the sprouted breads because it is soy-free. We buy traditional sourdough from local bakers.
Venture into the world of making your own sourdough with ancient grains, such as spelt and einkorn! My friend Wardee has some great freebies. So, if you want to begin a sourdough starter, here’s how! Or if you want to try baking no-knead sourdough with ancient einkorn, download her free recipe.
#21 — Swap Canned Beans With Dried Beans
Dried beans are pennies on the dollar compared to canned beans! And they’re so easy to cook — no need to feel scared!
Give your dried beans a good, long soak in water with apple cider vinegar before you cook them to make them super easy to digest (ie. no toots!).
#22 — Swap Pre-Grated Cheese With Blocks Of Cheese
Again, another swap that’s not only healthier, it’s a money-saver too. Pre-grated cheese is coated in cellulose powder (wood pulp) and/or potato starch to keep it from sticking together.
Buying blocks of cheese and grating them yourself is a bit more work, but you also avoid wood pulp in your cheese, which I think is pretty great.
Do this with all kinds of hard cheeses, including Parmesan! Here’s how to powder your own Parmesan cheese and quit buying the green can stuff!
#23 — Swap Whole Sweeteners With Alternative Sweeteners
If you made the switch from white sugar to whole sweeteners a long time ago, but you’re ready to cut out sugar completely for gut health, weight loss, or blood sugar issues, alternative sweeteners to the rescue!
Here are 5 Reasons Why I’m Using Alternative Sweeteners, plus my thoughts on sugar alcohols: Sugar Alcohols: Are They Really Sugar’s Sweetest Alternative? If you’re not sure if alternative sweeteners are for you, I wrote a post about When You Shouldn’t Use Sugar Alcohols.
#24 — Swap Store-Bought Dressing With Homemade Dressing
Store-bought dressings (even “organic” ones) are almost always made with rancid and/or GMO vegetable oils and contain preservatives and hidden ingredients like MSG and sugar.
It’s super easy to make your own with ingredients you have complete control over! In fact, it take me less than 10 minutes to whip up my Caesar Dressing With No Icky Ingredients. If Caesar isn’t your thing, my Quick Probiotic Ranch Dressing can be whipped up faster than you can run to the store for a bottle of ranch.
#25 — Swap Denatured Whey Protein With Grass-Fed, Non-Denatured Whey Protein or Plant Protein
Many people, our family included, use whey protein powder as a quick and easy protein source — especially for growing 13-year-old boys who eat non-stop (ahem.).
Most brands of whey protein contain many ingredients, synthetic vitamins, and lots of sugar or artificial sweeteners.
You can use whey protein powder, just go for a grass-fed, non-denatured version that contains very few ingredients. Our whey protein powder contains 1 ingredient: grass-fed, non-denatured whey protein concentrate.
If you’re avoiding dairy and still need a quality protein source, I just adore Perfect Plant Protein with it’s blend of brown rice protein, hemp, and medicinal mushrooms. Use my coupon code TODAY10 to get 10% off Perfect Plant Protein!
#26 — Swap Potato Chips With Veggie Chips
Our family’s favorite are my Spicy Chipotle Kale Chips. I have never tasted a potato chip as full of flavor as my kale chips.
Sweet potato chips, beet chips, and dehydrated zucchini also make great potato chip substitutes.
We also love to buy bags of plantain chips that are just plantains, oil, and salt.
Don’t know how to dehydrate? My friend Wardee offers a Dehydrating eCourse to teach you how!
More veggies for the win!
If you absolutely must have potato chips, there’s no better kind than Jackson’s Honest!
#27 — Swap Vegetable Shortening (Crisco) With Palm Shortening Or Lard
Full of unhealthy and inflammatory trans fat, I’m not actually sure how Crisco was ever recognized as food. Yet, I admit: it does make good pie crusts and pastries and is excellent for frying.
A healthier option is palm shortening — no trans fats, not inflammatory, and not made of rancid vegetable oils that have to be bleached and deodorized!
#28 — Swap Microwave Popcorn With Stovetop Popcorn
Talk about saving some money and your health!
Making popcorn on the stovetop is super, duper easy, and buying organic popcorn kernels in bulk is super, duper cheap! #winning
You’ll avoid the damaging effects of the microwave, plus all the chemicals and junk that’s in the flavorings and bag of microwave popcorn.
Don’t forget! If you haven’t checked out the first post full of swaps, it’s right here: 16 Ingredient Swaps To Instantly Add More Nutrition To Your Life.