Convenience food has a way of being inconvenient for your health. Processed foods can contain hidden sugars, salt, preservatives, saturated fats and some pretty gross stuff while depleting the nutritional value of the good ingredients.
Surprisingly, many of these convenience foods don't save us that much time. Here are 5 foods you should be making from scratch.
1. Kombucha. Okay, admittedly, this one takes a bit of time and planning to get started but the actual 'making it from scratch' part is as simple as steeping tea. Kombucha is super healthy for your gut but when you buy in the store, it can sometimes contain a lot more sugar (which can be bad for your gut), artificial flavours and colouring. Get yourself a SCOBY and DIY your bucha.
2. Salad Dressing. If there is one thing universally synonymous with a healthy diet, it's a salad. Sadly, we all too often douse it in super-unhealthy-goop (to use a scientific term). Commercial salad dressings have been known to contain undesirables like trans fats, sugar, gluten, MSG, artificial colours and flavours. Keep your salad fresh and healthly with a salad dressing from scratch – try this vegan mayonnaise as a base or just whisk-up some oil and vinegar with citrus or fresh herbs or berries…the options are endless.
3. Nut Butters. You take some nuts (roasted or raw), you put them in your food processor or blender, whiz and done. Seriously. What you don't do is put sugar, preservatives and extra salt – don't get us started on the crazy zebra striped stuff! This is one that is truly just as easy to make from scratch and you can even substitute the nuts with seeds. p.s. the jam that goes with the nut butter is better when made from scratch too.
4. Beans. We're talking about going for the dry bean over the canned beans route. Soaking beans doesn't require your attention (you just have to remember to get them in the water early) but the difference is that you avoid the preservatives and sodium that you get from the canned form – not to mention any of the BPA that may have leached in from the can liner. If that doesn't get you, the massive cost savings might!
5. Energy Bars. Grab and go food is essential for day hikes and other excursions but don't be fooled by the seemingly healthy promise of granola, protein or meal bars. Many of them are laced with trans fats, sugar, preservatives and are really nothing more than re-marketed cookies! Fuel your adventure with easy to make protein-packed energy bars or balls from scratch. Some you can even make in big batches and pop in the freezer so they're still grab and go!
When you take a step back and see how easy it can be to DIY your convenience foods using nothing but good, whole food – life starts to feel conveniently healthy.
By the way, if you love whole food the way we love whole food check out our Instagram Giveaway (running until March 30, 2014). Share your whole food photos and you could win.