3 Better Tasting & Better for You Foods You Can Make at Home

Pesticides. Chemicals. GMOs. The toxins that lurk in mass-manufactured, processed foods today is astounding. Additives like artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, along with MSG and benzoate preservatives have been linked to allergies, asthma, poor metabolism, and in some cases, even cancer, according to best-selling author Brett Blumenthal.

We actually pay money for these health risks when we purchase overpriced foods of little or no nutritious value, and many these dangerous additives are not easily spotted and hide in plain sight, especially in several of our favorite snacks. An elegant solution to this food dilemma is to simply make it yourself. With the right tools and recipes, you can ensure that you enjoy healthy, raw foods made from fresh ingredients for less than you would pay in a grocery store.

Trail Mix

A classic snack packed with nutrients, trail mix can seem like a fairly inexpensive food to purchase when looking at the small $1.99 bags in stores, but when you do the math, the unit price of those little packets found in the candy aisle can equate to upwards of $10 a pound. Plus, those snack packs often include candy-coated chocolate cloaked in trans fats and empty calories. You can make your own trail mix for much less and control the ingredients that go into it.

Use dry roasted peanuts, raisins, almonds, granola, dried fruit, and whatever other fresh nibbles your taste buds desire. If you store your custom mixture in a sealed container, it will keep for up to three weeks. To prepare your trail mix ingredients, you'll need a food dehydrator to dry the fruit. You will certainly get your money's worth when making your favorite foods from scratch. It's and an investment that will keep on giving, especially is you are a beef jerky fan.

Beef Jerky

A favored food for literally hundreds of years (dried meats are rumored to date back to the Native Americans' preservation of buffalo meat) the store-bought jerky of today is, more often than not, teeming with sodium nitrate and artificial colors and flavoring. Beef jerky is made by drying meat at at 130-170 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended amount of time.

Due to these processing conditions, it is easy for the meat to accumulate bacteria or yeast, so a reliable dehydrator is a must and following drying directions to the tee is imperative. If done correctly at home, you'll have a high-protein, low-additive snack that will keep for a long time.

Guacamole

The avocado is a nutrient-rich superstar. Considered a fruit, not a vegetable, the monounsaturated fats of the avocado are easily burned for energy. Avocados have 30 percent more potassium than bananas and are a steady source of fiber as well. But something magical happens when avocados marry tomatoes in holy homemade guacamole matrimony.

Combining avocados and tomatoes can boost the body's ability to absorb lycopene, an antioxidant compound, which has been found to aid in the prevention of age related diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Guacamole is less expensive to make on your own, and you can limit the sodium level, which can sometimes be off the chart in store bought brands.

There are many hazardous additives hiding in the shadowy corners of the ingredients list on the backs of some of our favorite, and often overpriced foods. Take your food nutrition into your own hands, and save a few bucks, too, by making your most enjoyable treats at home.

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