Not all packaged foods are bad for you, and most of us are way too busy to make everything from scratch.
Still, the more you make yourself at home, the healthier your diet tends to be—and the more money you save. (Oh yeah, you’re definitely paying for the convenience of “convenience foods.”)
So whether you’ve finally got a minute to dig into the DIY lifestyle or are a regular homemade pro, start with these recipes that make it easy to make common packaged foods at home.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)
7 Recipes for Common Packaged Foods
Instead of buying: Jelly
To make your kids’ PB&Js healthier, make this four-ingredient chia jam, which has no added sugar (compared to most jarred jellies, which are filled with the sweet stuff). It also has protein and healthy fats thanks to the powerful chia seeds, and you can make it with fresh or frozen berries.
Instead of buying: Granola
Granola is one of those foods that is basically as healthy as the recipe, and yes, a lot of bagged brands are loaded with sugar and unhealthy oils. The healthy ones, on the other hand, are pricey. If you make your own, you can choose nutritious, delicious ingredients—like this grain-free granola that includes honey, nuts, coconut oil, and lavender.
Instead of buying: Nut Milk
Nut milks contain additives (some harmless, some not so much) for flavor and texture, and they’re often expensive. You could make your own almond milk, but we suggest choosing cashew milk. Unlike almond, you can skip the soaking and straining steps and have fresh, creamy “milk” ready in just a couple of minutes.
Instead of Buying: Bottled Salad Dressing
Salad dressings are notoriously unhealthy. Here’s the solution: Memorize how to make Keri’s Lemon Dressing in five minutes, and then use it as your go-to. When you’re craving something creamier—like Ranch for French—whip up this Avocado Kefir blend.
Instead of buying: Protein Bars
It’s possible to choose healthier protein bars, although most at the grocery store are more akin to candy bars. Making them at home is an option but can be time-consuming. Instead, these chocolate protein balls are much simpler and portion-controlled. Plus, how many recipes lead to a food that can be eaten as dessert, breakfast, or a post-workout snack? They’re so easy to make you just throw some ingredients in a blender, shape them into balls, and then put them in the fridge to firm up.
Instead of buying: Popsicles
That Good Humor Toasted Almond Dessert Bar? Ingredients include artificial flavors, colors, and high-fructose corn syrup. To get (or give your kids) a taste of the icy, almond treat, make these fresh, healthy vanilla almond popsicles instead. No more ice cream truck needed.