For homemakers who wish to convert their household to healthy eating, the dilemma is always where to start, how to switch, and what to do. Committing to eating healthy can be overwhelming, but it can be doable. Here are some entry-level tips for switching pantry staples for a healthier household.
- Refined sugar to better sugars
If you are still using refined sugar, it’s time to switch to healthier alternatives. White sugar is basically sugar that is stripped of any trace minerals. Muscovado or coconut sugar are great alternatives that are locally available. While most people opt for brown sugar, the reality is, brown sugar is just refined white sugar with molasses added back in. Stick to the sugars that are less processed.
- Chemical-filled soy sauce to real soy sauce
Believe it or not, your pantry soy sauce may be one of the unhealthiest things you are using. Always read labels. With soy sauce, the ingredients should be soybeans, water, salt, and sometimes wheat. Any soy sauce that has extra ingredients like caramel color, Tartrazine, MSG, Sodium Benzoate should be swapped out. This also goes for other pantry staples like vinegar and fish sauce. The fewer ingredients, the better.
- White rice to unpolished rice
It may take some getting used to, but unpolished rice like brown, red, and black rice is the better option over white rice. Unpolished rice retains trace minerals and vitamins and provides more fiber than white rice. Plus, since white rice is highly processed, it has a high glycemic index and gets converted in the body as sugars faster than unpolished rice.
- Instant mixes to real ingredients
Are you still using bouillon cubes or instant mixes? Almost all of those mentioned are high in sodium and have MSG. Instead of relying on instant mixes, use real ingredients instead. For example, in making sinigang, use a real ingredient like tamarind or kamias. For stir-fry mixes, use real garlic, onions, and real spices/herbs like turmeric, basil, or oregano. It may be more tedious but your body is definitely worth the extra work. The key here is to use real ingredients instead of pre-packaged stuff.
- Sugary drink to water
If your household has a habit of drinking sugary drinks, especially during mealtime, it is time to kick that habit. If quitting cold turkey is too hard, then devise a plan to slowly wean off sugary drinks like sodas, iced teas, and instant juice drinks. More often than not, people who depend on sugary drinks already have an addiction to the sweet taste, thus weaning off is required. Start by minimizing the frequency of sugary drinks, then go longer by not having any for days. Depend on the water for your thirst-quenching needs instead.