Food swaps: making your old recipes into whole foods recipes

One of the biggest challenges about “going whole foods” is finding family-pleasing recipes.  These recipes need to taste good AND be comprised of whole-food ingredients.  In my opinion, this goes hand-in-hand…these recipes taste good BECAUSE they’re comprised of whole food ingredients! 😛

Before you toss your old recipes out the window, STOP!  That may not be necessary.  Most recipes can be turned into good, whole-food recipes by substituting ingredients.  Find below a list of my favorite substitutions:

  • Sub coconut oil or butter for vegetable oil:  depending on what you are doing-baking vs cooking, but they are basically interchangeable:
  • Sub whole wheat flour for regular flour: I tend to up the water ratio a little bit (or don’t add quite as much flour) as you would when using the white all-purpose flour variety.  Wheat flour is thirstier. 🙂
  • Sub brown rice for white rice: This just requires a little planning, as brown rice takes 3x as long as white rice to cook on the stove. (50 minutes for brown rice vs 15 minutes for its white counterpart.)
  • Sub honey or 100% maple syrup for sugar: I use honey instead of sugar for most baking.  On rare occasions when I do use sugar, I use the raw, organic, non-GM kind (available at Costco…you may begin to notice my love for all things Costco-
  • Start preparing your own beans vs using the canned kind.  For more on how to do this, see my post entitled Freeze Your Beans
  • Substitute store-bought bread for bread you make yourself!! (Super easy if you have a bread-maker, and still not too incredibly hard even if you don’t.)  Plus, then you can make your own home-made bread crumbs for recipes that call for breading, etc.
  • Substitute home-made creamed soup recipes for store-bought creamed soup (cream of mushroom, cream of celery, etc).  (The recipe link is for cream-of-mushroom soup, but my family personally doesn’t care much for mushrooms, so I just leave the mushrooms out and it’s still a great sub!)
  • Make your own chicken, beef, and vegetable stock vs buying it at the store!
  • Make your own tomato products such as tomato paste and tomato sauce, which can later be made into pizza sauce, pasta sauce-whatever you need! (Tomato paste is easy, just quarter tomatoes, boil them on the stove for 15-20 minutes, and then transfer to the crockpot on low for 6-7 hours, or until desired consistency is reached.  I like using roma tomatoes, but any tomato will do.)
  • Make your own whole wheat tortillas vs buying them at the store.  Here is a basic tortilla recipe that can easily be made whole wheat.
  • Buy meat locally, where you know it won’t be processed with all kinds of chemicals.  (Plus, when you buy in bulk, such as buying a quarter of beef, you end up paying a lot less in the long run.)  Craigs list is a good place to start your search for local meat (plus, you get to help support the local economy, always a plus)!
  • Make your own ice cream vs store-bought.  (There are a TON of ice cream recipes out there, and that way you can know you are eating real cream instead of a bunch of chemicals!)
  • Make your own frozen-yogurt popsicles vs store-bought popsicles.

Admittedly, it does take a little bit of work and a lot of planning, but it’s worth it because you know your family is eating good, healthy food that is chemical free!!  What I like to do is build up my pantry staples and freeze ahead, so I don’t have to scramble last minute.  (So I will often make large batches of beans, or tomato sauce, or whatever I am making so I won’t have to make it again for some time.)

The moral of the “story”?  Make Your Own and Freeze Ahead!! 🙂


V helping out in the kitchen. We have been trying out new recipes for granola and energy bars using medjool dates…look for a post on that to come!!



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