Minimize processed foods, cook more meals from scratch…we know, we know. But let’s be honest, making the transition away from packaged, processed foods is tough - they’re convenient and comfortable, I get it. However, homemade versions are often cheaper, almost always taste better and really aren’t difficult to make.

Start Small

Don’t try to recreate everything in your pantry and fridge overnight. Instead, focus on perfecting one swap at a time. Start with something you use regularly that can easily be re-created at home (e.g. taco seasoning). Once you feel comfortable with the first swap and have it in your routine, move on to something else. Over time, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come (and it’ll hopefully feel like second nature and not so much of a chore).

Check out the recipes below for healthy homemade alternatives to some store-bought staples.

Homemade versions of store-bought foods are often cheaper, almost always taste better and really aren’t difficult to make. Try these DIY versions today! #saslife Click To Tweet

Seasoning Blends

Sure, stores offer a variety of premade seasoning blends, but they often contain sugar, MSG or other additives. When you make your own blends, you get to control exactly what goes in and make use of some of the spices that are already in your cabinet. Plus, you’ll be amazed at how much better your homemade versions taste! Here’s a few favorite multi-use blends to get you started:

Enchilada Sauce

Get authentic Mexican flavors in less than 20 minutes with this simple enchilada sauce recipe. While you’re at it, make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for future use.

Cold Brew Coffee

Stop spending $4 per cup at your local coffee shop and try cold-brewing coffee at home. All you need is good quality coffee, water, a glass jar, a strainer and a little bit of patience.

Microwave Popcorn

Enjoy the warm, fluffy goodness of freshly popped popcorn without all the additives or preservatives. All you need is a brown paper bag and popcorn kernels (plus a microwave of course!). It’s really that easy!

Trail Mix

Most store-bought trail mixes are loaded with sugar, hydrogenated oils and even candy. Follow this basic formula for building a better trail mix and store in single-serving containers so you can easily grab one when you need a quick snack.

Next Level DIY

Once you mastered the simple swaps, think about other items you and your family consume regularly – bread, milk, yogurt, etc. While these may seem daunting to even consider making at home, you don’t need a culinary degree or tons of free time to make it happen. The fresh, clean taste of the homemade versions alone should convince you to ditch the store-bought versions once and for all.

Nut Butters

Nut butters are a secret weapon for making fruits, raw veggies and oatmeal more satisfying. If you’ve branched out beyond peanut butter, you know store-bought nut and seed butters can get expensive and often contain added sugar and oils, so why not make your own? If you have some nuts, a sheet pan, and food processor or high-powered blender, you already have everything you need!

Non-Dairy Milk

There are tons of non-dairy milk options on the market but unfortunately, many contain less than ideal ingredients like added sugar, gums, stabilizers or other fillers. Plus, they are not cheap! Instead, make your own non-dairy milk out of just about any nut, seed or grain with just a few simple steps for a fraction of the cost with exponentially more flavor.

Greek Yogurt

Making yogurt can be intimidating, but once you try it, you’ll never go back to store-bought. All you need is 2 ingredients, an Instant Pot, the push of a button and a little patience.

Whole Wheat Bread

Homemade bread is another intimidating item to think about making, but this recipe is ridiculously easy to make and freezes well. It calls for the leftover whey from straining homemade yogurt, but water will work just as well.


Ghee is a type of clarified butter with a nutty-caramel flavor and darker color. It has a higher smoke point than butter which means it works well for higher heat cooking. You can find ghee at just about any grocery store, but you can make it quickly and easily at home for a fraction of the cost.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is becoming more popular and while there are a few good quality store-bought brands out there, many contain additives like MSG, artificial flavors or preservatives. For a fresh, clean bone broth, save up leftover chicken/beef bones, toss them in a pot with a few other ingredients and let it simmer away.




About Author

Ashley Bailey, MS, RDN, LDN, IFNCP


Ashley is a Nutritionist at SAS Institute in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner, Certified Biofeedback Instructor and also has a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys crafting, cooking, walking and spending as much time as possible at the beach. Follow @abaileyRD on Twitter.

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