14 Foods you shouldn't buy - make your own!
Want to cut your weekly shopping bill in half and eat healthier too? There are some foods you just shouldn't bother buying at the supermarket. You can make your own versions at home quickly and easily - and the best part is you know exactly what ingredients are in them too. We've got 14 foods you should never buy and some recipes for you to try; give them a go this week!
#1. Almond milk
Almond milk is a great, dairy-free alternative to regular milk and we like to use it in smoothies and protein shakes, as well as serving it with porridge and granola. But some store-bought almond milk can have other, unwanted ingredients such as sugar, stabilisers and carageenan. Making your own means you know exactly what's in it, and it's pretty simple too. Try this recipe from Oh She Glows - the step-by-step instructions and pictures make it really easy.
#2. Chocolate spread
Shhhh, don't tell anybody, but we love Nutella! Creamy, chocolatey, hazelnutty spread on toast is one of the best things around, but the palm oil Nutella contains is less than ideal. Making your own chocolate spread at home means you can leave the nasty palm oil out. Chocolate Covered Katie's healthy recipe uses cocoa powder, raw hazlenuts, sugar, maple syrup and milk - you could even use almond milk if you're keeping things dairy-free. Delicious!
#3. Cereal bars
Shop-bought cereal bars, even the so-called healthy ones you've picked up in your local health food store, can be packed with sugar, salt and additives. Making your own is the only way to control the ingredients and you can add extras such as protein powder, to turn your bars into a protein-packed post-workout snack. We don't have just one favourite cereal bar recipe - there are hundreds out there to choose from! These 5-ingredient granola bars are pretty special and we're fans of these chocolate, cashew and almond bars too, packed with protein and vitamin E from the nuts.
#4. Vegetable crisps
Those yummy vegetable crisps you can pick up at the supermarket usually come with a premium price tag too, but it's really easy to make your own, and you can use a variety of different vegetables, so you'll never be bored! This recipe for parsnip, sweet potato and beetroot crisps is a hit with kids of all ages and uses heart-healthy olive oil. We also love this recipe for beetroot and carrot crisps made in the microwave! Really simple, healthy and delicious - it's also a great way to replace less-healthy snacks in your diet.
#5. Nut butter
Almond butter, cashew nut butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter - what's your favourite nut butter? Spread on toast, added to porridge or even blended into a smoothie, nut butters are loaded with protein and a great addition to any healthy diet. Yet the ones you find on the supermarket shelves can contain salt, sugar and additives, and the healthier varieties are often quite expensive. Making your own is fairly easy to do - give this recipe for almond butter a try. All you need are some almonds and a food processor! Of course, you can add your own flavourings too, such as vanilla, salt, maple syrup etc. Fancy making some super-healthy nut and seed butter? Then this recipe is for you,
#6. Tomato sauce
Buying a jar of tomato sauce at the supermarket might seem like a healthy option, but many store-bought tomato sauces can contain loads of sugar, and that's not what you want to be eating. Making your own takes minutes and is super-healthy. With immune-boosting onions and garlic and loads of antioxidants from the tomatoes, this recipe is our favourite - it tastes great on pasta, bruschetta, chicken - or how about topping some veggie noodles with it?
#7. Salad dressing
A quick glance through the list of ingredients on most salad dressings is enough to put us off - many contain more than 15 ingredients, and we have to say, they're not all that good for you! Making your own vinaigrette or creamy salad dressing is fun to do and a basic vinaigrette like this one uses just a few ingredients - we use white wine vinegar, but you could also use balsamic. Fancy making an Asian-inspired salad dressing? Try this recipe with peanut butter, ginger, sriracha sauce and lime juice - amazing served over a kale salad.
We're huge fans of making our own pesto, and you can play around with substitutes for the traditional basil. Try pepper pesto, kale pesto or even rocket pesto for a bit of variety. Pesto can be expensive to buy, but make a big batch at home with fresh basil, cheese, pine nuts and olive oil and you can freeze it in batches in ice cube trays, so you'll always have some fresh pesto to serve with courgettini or as a sandwich spread. This vegan pesto recipe cuts out the dairy and is just as delicious as the real thing, or try the classic pesto sauce with this recipe here.
There's really no excuse for not making your own houmous, as it takes minutes in a food processor or high-powered blender. Great served with toasted pitta chips or fresh vegetables for dipping, we love these recipes from Bodybuilding.com - fancy some pesto houmous anyone? Low in fat yet high in fibre and protein from the chickpeas, houmous is a great post-workout snack, or anytime snack!
Did you know that many supermarket tubs of guacamole list double cream amongst the ingredients? Hmm, not the healthiest option! Made at home, guac is actually one of the healthiest things you can eat - all you need are avocados, salt, lime juice and some chilli and you have a super-healthy dip, topping for vegetables or even sandwich spread. This recipe is one of the most traditional we've found, but to add some extra protein to your guac, try adding some 0% Greek yoghurt to the mix, as suggested in this recipe here.
As a healthy breakfast to set you up for the day, nothing beats granola served with some Greek yoghurt or almond milk and fresh fruit. But buying granola in the supermarket, or even your local health food store, you'll often find it's got added sugar and vegetable oil. Make your own with this super-simple yet amazingly tasty recipe from Oh She Glows, that's packed with goodness. Chia seeds, oats, almonds, millet, flax and a whole host of other yummy ingredients make a breakfast to remember - you'll be satisfied until lunchtime.
Packed with sugar - bad news for your teeth - jam isn't something you want to be eating regularly. Even sugar-free jam can be bad news with its artificial sweeteners and additives. Make your own Blueberry Vanilla Chia Seed Jam - it's every bit as delicious as it sounds and it's packed with protein from the chia seeds and vitamin C from the blueberries. Chia seeds are a great way to thicken up sauces, smoothies and jams and because they are high in protein, they're ideal added to post-workout snacks.
#13. Pancake mix
There's a difference between being busy and being lazy - and if you buy readymade pancake mix, that's lazy! Making pancakes at home is so easy and requires so few ingredients that there's no reason to pick up pancake mix which often has preservatives and additives in it. Why not try some dairy-free pancakes this weekend? We love these dairy-free mango pancakes with loads of fresh fruit and coconut oil, a source of healthy monounsaturated fats. Banana pancakes are pretty good too and they're gluten-free!
Hansel and Gretel may have used them to lay a trail, whilst you're probably more likely to top fish or chicken with them - but whatever your uses for breadcrumbs, there's no need to buy them pre-packaged. It takes just a few seconds in a food processor to turn stale bread into breadcrumbs that can be used to top a variety of healthy dishes, and you have total control over the type of bread you use. You can even use a box grater! Get some advice on how to make your own breadcrumbs here.