8 ‘Staple’ Foods to Avoid at the Grocery Store

A lot of so-called “staple” items that we buy at the grocery store are loaded with unnecessary and sometimes harmful ingredients. They are simply not as essential as we’ve been lead to believe, and can easily be recreated (and improved upon) in your home kitchen. Check out the following list to help you and your family save money and live more healthfully. (Two birds. One stone.)

Frozen waffles. A seemingly inconspicuous treat, these guys are usually loaded with preservatives, additives, or excessive sugars. It’s easy enough to make a big batch of waffles or pancakes one Sunday morning to freeze for later. Plus, you’ll have complete control over the flavor, texture, and ingredients. They’ll probably be the best frozen waffles you’ve ever had… your friends may even try to buy some off you!

Healthy Banana Bran Pancakes

Non-dairy milks. Most non-dairy milks are rife with carrageenan, a thickener derived from seaweed. It sounds harmless enough, but this additive can cause digestive distress in some and is considered an inflammatory agent in the body. Keep some on hand for non-dairy milk emergencies, but otherwise try concocting your own.

Trail mix. Does high-fructose corn syrup really need to be in trail mixes and bars? The answer is a resounding “no.” Stop buying trail mixes with preservatives, artificial food coloring, and unhealthy sweeteners. Make your own with nuts, chocolate bits, currants, seeds, and perhaps a bit of coconut. If you prefer a bar, try this awesome raw recipe.

Salad dressing. Salad dressing is really easy to make and store. Add a little olive oil, some lemon juice, and some spices of your choosing into a jar; swirl together, and viola! Pop it into the fridge for storage and you’re golden. Store-bought dressings are loaded with unexpected allergens (many salad dressing actually contain gluten), preservatives, and inessential ingredients that probably don’t belong in anyone’s body — especially not the bodies of your loved ones. If you are a ranch fan and think store-bought is the only option, try this recipe for buttermilk garlic ranch dressing!

Canned soups. It’s like a BPA stew, seasoned with plenty of salt and preservatives. There are BPA-free, health-conscious alternatives, but why not make your own and freeze a batch for those days that you just don’t feel like cooking? Your freezer is your friend.

Coffee creamer. Cream would probably be healthier. If you take a gander at the ingredients list on you average coffee creamer, it is loaded with all sorts of unpronounceable nasties. If you must have your hazelnut flavored creamer, or maybe your pumpkin spice creamer, try some homemade recipes. Your creamer will be much tastier and better for you.

Table salt. With absolutely no nutritional value, table salt has been utterly refined, destroying any trace minerals or nutritional value it once contained. Pink salt, sea salt, and Celtic salt are all vastly better choices that will nourish your body with essential minerals while flavoring your food.

Margarine. By this time, most of us know that margarine is not good for us. But, in case you’ve been living in a margarine-laden cave for the past few years, margarine is man-made and hydrogenated. This means they are loaded with trans fats, which are not nearly as friendly to your body as their saturated and unsaturated counterparts. Pastured butter, ghee, and even lard are all vastly better choices.

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Being conscious of what is in your food is important. Staple items should have a very short ingredients list, and shouldn’t be confused with highly processed convenience staples. Stick to buying mostly oils, butter, grains, nuts, fruits, veggies, meats, et cetera, and admire how many of these so-called “convenience staples” you can actually make at home with relative ease!


Christine Jones
Christine J2 years ago

Some good advice but I disagree with a couple of the points.

Most Western countries don't actually have "margarine". We have plant-based spreads, which are perfectly safe and healthy and better for your heart and arteries than butter or lard.

Cow milk is far more likely to cause inflammation and digestive distress than the plant-based alternatives such as soy/oat/rice/coconut milks. That's why the dairy industry is busy marketing all sorts of modified cow milk, because they recognise that fact.

Magdalena J.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thank you!

Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

I was looking at 7 Biggest Grocery Store Mistakes. It had a link to come her for 8 "Staple Foods to Avoid..." Come on C2 put this together so we don't have to toggle back and forth...

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

I don't like waffles, and milk products don't like me. But, I do love a little Ranch dressing on my salad.

Jana DiCarlo
Jana DiCarlo3 years ago

I can turn away from all, but have a hard time with salad dressings , because I like salads and oil and vinegar is my least favorite of all dressings - so I cheat a little :))

Nicole L.
Nicole L3 years ago


Carmen Baez
Past Member 3 years ago


Monica Collier
Monica C3 years ago

I never considered frozen waffles a staple item. Butter yes, spices deffinitely, a can of soup here and there for cassaroles yup. Waffles, no!!!

Wolf G.
Wolfgang Geiger3 years ago

We have been eating and cooking with non-hydroginated margarine (Becel light) for more years than I can remember. It carries the Heart & Stroke Health check and it has omega 3 and 6 in it. It also has only 0.5 gram of saturated fat per 2 tsp, it has no trans fats, it has only 4 gram of fat, of which 1g is polyunsaturated and 2g are monounsaturated per 2 tsp What is bad about this product? I really would like to know.