I feel like the most common question I get asked is HOW & WHERE do I start with trying to live a healthier lifestyle. To be honest, I get so sad when this question comes up. Not at the person, but mainly at the society we live in. I’m angry because we’ve been taught that it is SO HARD and unsustainable to live a healthy lifestyle in this day and age. People feel trapped and discouraged before they even get to start dipping their toes into this because we’ve been told too many times that its “all or nothing” when that simply isn’t true. What if there’s a way that we truly can have the best of both worlds? This is what my hope is for you. That by reading this, you’re encouraged that there is no do or die to this method. This is the most fool proof way of living a full life, that is also a life with better alternatives in it. I’m going to start a “Swap It Out” series where each week, I’ll blog the easiest swaps within your home. This week I’m talking CONDIMENTS. Something that our kids cannot live without and something that is basically a food group to them. I don’t blame them though, who lives a childhood without dipping their nuggets in honey mustard? NOT I! I hope this is a tool where your kids can have their cake and eat it too, if ya feel me.
Ok, so down to the nitty gritty shall we. First, let’s start with some super helpful apps that will make your life a million times easier as you’re doing the big swap.
- Thrive Market. This is one of my favorites. I can shop my pantry/fridge and add stuff to my cart all at the same time. They’re even having a holiday baking sale just in time for you to order some healthier alternatives before you bake that pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
- Sift Scanner. Ok, I JUST started using this one. It hasn’t been long at all but I love the idea behind it so much that I had to try it. Basically, the idea is that you can scan the barcodes on your food items in you pantry/fridge and it is going to tell you what the bases of the food is, what herbs and spices are in it, what nuts and seeds are in it, what sweetener is used, etc. You get the point. They even have the option that allows you to choose for $3 a month if you want to go dairy free, sugar free, whole 30, etc, that you can opt into that and it will give you alerts when something is not compatible with the program you’re using. I still have alot to learn from this one but so far, I like it. I just use the free version because I’m so used to reading labels.
Now for my big swaps, which also is so so easy. Invite your kids into the fun with you. Open your fridge and check how many things on the back of them have sugar or high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. (it’ll scare you, but don’t be discouraged… we got this!)
15 Fridge Swaps that are easy peasy:
- Ketchup. Most have high fructose corn syrup in them. Which is absurd. It doesn’t even need it. We’ve used one thats sugar free and it tastes the EXACT same. My kids don’t know a difference at all. Neither does mom. And this would be the better yes. Better Swaps: Thrive Market brand (I am not an affiliate, I just love their prices), the ever so famous Heinz (which even has less sugar per serving than Thrive Market’s brand), Tessemae’s (This actually might be my absolute FAV! because they use dates to sweeten it and not sugar).
- Ranch Dressing. Better Swaps: Primal (big fan of this one), Tessemae’s (we are a huge fan of her brand), Annies.
- Honey Mustard. One of my favorite staples to have on hand. Annies (you’ll see alot of the same names on here), MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE Tessemae’s (sweetened with honey. this one beats the competitors every time in my book).
- Gluten Free Flours. We did away with these years ago and haven’t looked back. I use these to thicken homemade gravy, bake corn-less corn breads, make banana bread… you name it. Better Swaps: Almond Flour, Cassava Flour, Coconut Flour.
- Crackers. I don’t wanna live in a world without crackers. I refuse. So of course, this was a HUGE one for my family. Because we are a bunch of cracker eating fools. I did away with the goldfish despite their salty goodness and made some changes and haven’t looked back. Better Swaps: Simple Mills Almond Flour crackers (you CAN NOT convince me there is a better salty cracker on the face of this earth. And the ingredients list, it’s heavenly.) This where my list ends because every single flavor they make is THE BEST. It’s all my hearts desires. The end.
- Tortilla Chips/Wraps. We really love a good tortilla chip around here. Paired with Salsa or with chili, it’s a no-fail solution to getting my kids to eat various things in this house. My go to line is “just dip it” and alas, mom wins. Siete is my go to. Again, the ingredients list. It’s SIX things. And they’re all REAL food sourced from REAL things. Pro Tip: Get the lime one’s, you’ll never go back. Yes and Amen. For my corn allergy little lady, these ones have been a winner for her. And they’re pretty DANG DELICIOUS. From the ground up (pro tip: the Nacho flavor is FIRE!) For wraps we live by 2 brands because the ingredients list I just cannot get enough of. Really, these wraps are so soft and they kind of fall apart so I might not make a taco with them (just go the siete hard shell route for that) but I would and have made enchiladas with them and THEYRE THE MOST HEAVENLY TEXTURE FOR IT. Also, enchiladas freeze well, so there ya go- win, win. Mikey’s (I buy these at Kroger and 14 Carrot) and Siete (I get these from Kroger, 14 Carrot or Publix).
- Cheese. I looooooove cheese. But I could not stomach processed cheeses. Honestly, the amount of ingredients in them that I didn’t even understand what they were made me cringe enough to toss it out and search for a better solution. Better Swaps: We really love Tillamook over here if we are being honest. I’m sure there are better brands, but this is still a better yes than most. We love the organic cheese sticks sold in bulk from Costco. They’re a real winner in this house and easy peasy when the kids are pulling at my leg for a quick snack. To be honest, the best cheese I’ve ever tried was raw cheese from 14 Carrot. This is probably the best yes I can make and it is THE BOMB. But for the life of me I cannot remember the name. It’s a local farm here in SC. When I find it, I will add it in here though.
- Bread. We live in the South, ya’ll. Grab ya bread and milk for your bread and milk sandwiches. If you know, you know. If we are going gluten free, we really love this brand. And trust me, I’ve tried them ALL! We get it from Costco and it’s incredibly cost effective. But we really love us some Dave’s. We also love the mission it stands for. Look it up if you aren’t familiar.
- Bacon/Sausage. My kids are no strangers to eating bacon and sausage for dinner so this is a must have staple in our house. At all times. My favorites are: Applegate and Jones. I buy the no sugar kind and its still as amazing as the rest! And of course the best sausage EVER. Applegate and Jones.
- Mayo. Here’s two better swaps: Primal and Sir Kensington.
- Soda. This is probably one of the most important swaps there is. Honestly, you should be drinking a gallon of water a day and drinking a soda maybe once a month, but I do know that this is a serious attachment to some and I want to offer a better solution. These Zevia sodas are all natural and maybe the most crucial “YES” you’ll make.
- Eggs. I don’t technically know if this is a swap. But we do have two brands we LOVE! Mainly because anytime I’ve cracked the eggs open, the yolks are this golden rich color. So I know they’re coming from a well-dieted chicken. The richer the yolk, the better the health benefits. Our two favorites are Nelly’s (I buy from Publix) and Pete & Gerry’s (I buy from Kroger or Publix).
- BBQ Sauce. Our tride and true: Tessemae’s. No sugar, just dates.
- Teriyaki Sauce. The ingredients list on this just makes my heart swoon. YAS!
- Butter. We live for Kerrygold. That’s all she wrote.
I hope this swap list has been helpful for you. The places I shop at the most that I find are the best at keeping these alternatives in stock are Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods and 14 Carrot. Maybe Lowe’s but we don’t shop there enough to know.