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The Perfect Fridge: 9 Healthy Food Swaps to Make Today

Posted by Torie Borrelli on

We love how the first month of a new year gives us the opportunity for fresh starts and trying new things. Oftentimes, these come as personal changes or professional challenges we set for ourselves, but it doesn’t have to be limited to just that. As big fans of all things refrigerated (that’s where our favorite snack lives, after all), we thought ‘why not give the ol’ fridge a fresh start, too?’ Our friend Torie, Integrative Holistic Nutritionist from health blog The Vida Well, helped come up with some healthy fridge swaps for you to try and kick off the year with a cool, clean start.

Fridge Swap #1: Mayo

What to Ditch: Best Foods or Other Conventional Mayo Brands

Torie Explains: “We love mayo for its creamy consistency and flavor–I mean, what else are you gonna pair with an artichoke? The thing is, mayonnaise brands like Best Foods don’t even contain eggs, so the jury is still out on what actually makes it that creamy. We’d rather not have to guess what’s in our food. Also, conventional mayo brands use rancid or inflammatory oils like canola oil which can wreak havoc on our body. No room for this in the fridge.”

What to Replace It With: Chosen Foods Mayo

Torie Explains: “With simple, clean ingredients like avocado oil, which reduces inflammation, this is an easy, healthy alternative that still packs a lot of flavor and maintains the consistency we love about mayo. Plus, they have amazing flavors like Harissa and Black Garlic.”

Fridge Swap #2: Soy Sauce

What to Ditch: Kikkoman or Other Conventional Soy Sauce Brands

Torie Explains: “Soy is, in fact, a hormone disruptor—have you ever noticed how it can stay out in the open, unrefrigerated at restaurants for months (or even years) on end? That’s a major red flag. Imagine what that does to your insides once you ingest it. Traditional soy sauces also contain gluten, which isn’t commonly known, so if you have gluten sensitives, this is a definite no-no.”

What to Replace It With: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

Torie Explains: This product is made of just soybeans (that have not been genetically modified) and water. Did you know that out 94% of soy used in the United States comes from genetically modified plants! Bragg Liquid Aminos is a natural alternative to conventional soy sauces, without the additional table salt, monosodium glutamate, preservatives or gluten that is found in may of the other soy sauces. Bragg’s contains 16 of the 20 amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Our bodies use these amino acids for repairing the body, digestion, and to rebuild tissue. Nine of the 20 amino acids cannot be produced by the body and need to be consumed through the diet. Use Bragg’s just as you would soy sauce. I like to use it for marinades, stir-frys and salad dressings.”

Fridge Swap #3: Deli Meats

What to Ditch: Oscar Meyer or Other Conventional Grocery Store Sandwich Meats with Nitrates

Torie Explains: “Nitrates, the ingredient found in most conventional grocery store packaged deli meats, is used to extend shelf life. Why is that so bad, you ask? A few reasons, to be honest, but we think the fact that nitrate is also used in rat poison is a good place to start.”

What to Replace it With: Any Organic, Nitrate-free Chicken Breast or Wild Caught Tuna

Torie Explains: “As long as you know what you’re looking for, it’s relatively easy to find cold cuts that are nitrate-free at your local Whole Foods or Sprouts. Buying organic is also a good way to make sure you’re eating clean meat. Chicken or tuna salad is a great lunch option (make sure you buy wild BPA free cans), and can be easily enjoyed with crackers or as an open face melt—add avo, obviously.”

Fridge Swap #4: Sour Cream

What to Ditch: Daisy or Other Conventional Sour Cream Brands

Torie Explains: “Stay away from dairy that is not organic, it is loaded with hormones, antibiotics and the animals are fed GMO corn and soy—no thank you!”

What to Replace It With: Stoneyfield Whole Fat Greek Yogurt

Torie Explains: “Whole fat Greek yogurt is loaded with probiotics and protein that add complexity to a sauce and also add the same flavor. Try Greek yogurt in place of sour cream on tacos, dips, or on your favorite winter soups!”

Fridge Swap #5: Peanut Butter

What to Ditch: Jif or Other Conventional Peanut Butter Brands

Torie Explains: “Jif should have 2 ingredients right? Peanuts and salt. Well, it doesn’t. Peanut butters are most often processed with hydrogenated oils and artificial sugars, neither of which are good for you, so make sure you check the label carefully when buying.”

What to Replace It With: Justin’s Peanut or Almond Butter

Torie Explains: “Organic peanut butter is not sprayed pre- and post-harvest with petrochemicals (very toxic) and is a potent source of protein, fiber and good fats. Organic peanut butter, unlike the usual commercially manufactured peanut butter, does not contain hydrogenated fats that transform into trans-fatty acids.”

Fridge Swap #6: Milk

What to Ditch: Alta Dena Cow’s Milk or Other Conventional Dairy Brands

Torie Explains: “Did you know cow’s milk is actually the most common food allergy in the world? Humans weren’t made to process another mammal’s milk (besides our mother’s), and we are actually the only animal on earth to do so. Because our bodies weren’t built to process dairy consumption this way, it can cause inflammation in the gut, constipation, and acne. Not to mention, most conventional grocery store milk is pumped full of antibiotics that were used on the cows it came from.”

What to Replace it With: New Barn Almond Milk

Torie Explains: “Healthy milk alternatives are much more accessible these days, and there are plenty of options (like coconut or almond milk) depending on your taste. With these plant-based milk beverages, calcium is better absorbed into the body than it would be by drinking cow’s milk—and isn’t calcium intake one of the main reasons we drink milk to begin with? One of my favorites is New Barn (and I also love Califia), both of which can be found in the refrigerated section at health food stores or online. Whichever option you choose, it’s always important to read the ingredients and understand what you’re putting in your body.”

Fridge Swap #7: Cream Cheese

What to Ditch: Philadelphia or Other Conventional Dairy Cream Cheese Brands

Torie Explains: “Like I mentioned above, grocery store cow’s milk tends to come from unhealthy cows and contains preservatives and antibiotics. The same applies to conventional grocery store cream cheeses, which makes sense if you think about it since the dairy is coming from the same place.”

What to Replace It With: Kite Hill Cream Cheese

Torie Explains: “One of my favorite dairy-alternative cream cheese brands is Kite Hill, a delicious line of plant-based products. I made my own until finding them because most other nut-based products out there use ground nut pastes, stabilizers, and artificial ingredients to make cheese-like products. With 6 grams of protein per serving, this is a great addition to any snack.Kite Hill makes their cream cheese with almonds so it’s great for kids or anyone who has dairy allergies. The best part is that it maintains the same consistency and creaminess as real cream cheese—just without all the bad stuff. Not to mention, it comes in some pretty tasty flavors.”

Fridge Swap #8: Sports Drinks

What to Ditch: Gatorade or Other Conventional Sports Drinks Brands

Torie Explains: “If you think you’re doing your body good by ‘hydrating’ post-workout with a Gatorade, think again. The health benefits of sports drinks are basically equivalent to drinking a soda! Loaded with processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup and food dyes—both of which have been proven in studies to cause cancer—these colorful beverages aren’t doing you any favors.”

What to Replace it With: Harmless Harvest Coconut Water

Torie Explains: “While water is always the best way to hydrate, sometimes we crave a little flavor and/or need that extra electrolyte boost. Did you know that most conventional coconuts are dipped in formaldehyde? When you reach for a coconut water, makes sure it’s raw, organic, unpasteurized, and low-sugar, like Harmless Harvest. If it’s been heated, that means most of the nutrients have been killed and you’ll miss out on the potassium and antioxidants. There are tons of coconut water options on the shelf these days, so it’s important to read the ingredients before you buy. For an at-home remedy, try adding some Himalayan sea salt to your water, which contains naturally occurring minerals that hydrate and boost your electrolyte count.”

Fridge Swap #9: Salad Dressing

What to Ditch: Kraft or Other Conventional Salad Dressing Brands

Torie Explains: “Most salad dressings are packed with sugars, rancid oils, gums, artificial colors, and ionized salt. By pouring these conventional salad dressings on your healthy salad you’re just counteracting all your hard work by exposing your body to harmful ingredients! If you have any processed salad dressings, do me a favor right now and look at the ingredients! If you can’t pronounce what’s on that label, it probably shouldn’t be in your body. Throw them away and make your own. After all, you eat salad to be healthy, so why top off that organic green goodness with something that isn’t?”

What to Replace it With: Organic Girl or Homemade Dressings

Torie Explains: “Brands like Organic Girl, Primal and Bragg’s make their dressings with organic, non-GMO ingredients that you can actually pronounce. They don’t last long in the fridge, but that’s a good thing—trust me. It means no preservatives. If you’re feeling adventurous, and want to make sure you know exactly what’s going on your salad, try making your own dressing at home.”