I recently spoke to students in the Philadelphia area about how to make better food choices in partnership with Grassland and thought you might enjoy what all I shared! We went with an “Eat This, Instead of That” theme, and I put A LOT of thought into the examples. I’ve been working with Grassland to help promote their new Non-GMO butter. When a product is “Non-GMO Project Verified” it means they can trace the absence of GMOs from seed to feed to table. Definitely a better choice for butter!
By the way, I bought every single item you see here at a convenience store in downtown Philadelphia. No fancy health food store required, AND the prices of the “eat this” items were almost all comparable to what I am suggesting they replace. :)
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Eat This, Instead of That
- Roasted Nuts instead of Peanut Butter Cracker Packs
I know these peanut butter crackers are convenient, but instead of white flour (which is listed as “wheat” on the ingredient label rather than “whole wheat”), refined oils (that are probably GMO), added sugar, and corn syrup, choose your favorite roasted nuts instead. Bonus if they are dry-roasted (i.e., no refined oils as well).
- Cheerios instead of Honey Bunches of Oats
Cheerios are not perfect, but they are 100% whole grain and a much better option than a cereal like Honey Bunches of Oats that contains five different types of sugar AND, a deal-breaker for me, artificial flavors! And that used to be my cereal of choice before I cut out processed food. :( Now, I can’t imagine starting my day without homemade granola. But, if you don’t have it in you to make cereal, Cheerios is a better option than most!
- Brown Rice Cakes instead of Deep-Fried Potato Chips
Any potato chip is pretty much going to be deep-fried in refined oil. The food takes on so much of the oil when it’s cooked this way, so it’s a lot of what you end up consuming. Instead, how about some crunchy, whole grain (brown rice) cakes? You can top them in so many different ways. My daughter’s favorite is peanut butter and raisins. Hey, another alternative to those peanut butter crackers above! :)
- Plain Oatmeal (that you flavor yourself) instead of Flavored Packets of Oatmeal
These Quaker Instant Oatmeal packs lead you to believe they’re flavored with strawberries, but the ingredients sadly tell a much different story. Take a quick look at the back of the package and you’ll see it actually contains dehydrated apple pieces covered up with artificial strawberry flavor and red dye!! I can’t think of anything more deceiving. A good rule of thumb, whether it’s oatmeal, popcorn, or yogurt, is always to buy plain and flavor it yourself (naturally, of course)!
- Whole Grain Crackers instead of Refined Crackers (such as Ritz)
Triscuits aren’t perfect, but they’re made with only three ingredients and are 100% whole grain AND are also Non-GMO Project Verified. Definitely a more “real food” choice than Ritz with their refined white flour (listed as “wheat flour” without the word “whole”), sugar, partially hydrogenated oil (i.e., trans fat), and high-fructose corn syrup. No, thank you!
- Raisins or Applesauce instead of Fruit Cups in Sugary Syrup
It’s definitely better to choose an on-the-go fruity snack with only one ingredient (i.e., raisins or apple sauce) than one that is sitting in a liquid made from high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and regular corn syrup! Of course, there’s always the option of a piece of fresh fruit as well. :)
- Whole-Wheat Pasta instead of White or White “Plus” Pasta
Real food pasta should only have one ingredient … whole-grain flour! It’s usually listed as “Whole Durum Wheat Flour” or something similar. This simple whole-grain choice is often cheaper than the “plus” versions of pasta they offer these days, which contains a bunch of manufactured vitamins that you don’t even need if you’d just choose the real thing instead!
- Butter instead of Margarine
Avoiding processed foods means focusing on the real foods our ancestors have survived on for centuries before us. And one thing is for sure, they were not eating margarine (sometimes called “plant butter”), which is manufactured from refined vegetable oils and artificial flavors! Butter (made from just cream and salt) is a traditional food that’s been around for ages, and most definitely a staple in my real food home cooking. And if it’s Non-GMO Project Verified like Grassland, even better. :)
Do you see any examples here that you could easily switch out at your house? Please share in the comments!