8 “Staple” Foods from the Grocery Store That May Be Harmful

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Shopping Cart in 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’re 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 of “staple” foods 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!

Non-dairy milks.

Trail mix 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 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 soupCanned 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.


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’re 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.

Being conscious of what’s 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 and meats and admire how many of these so-called “convenience staples” you can actually make at home with relative ease!
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Adapted from Care2’s “8 Staple Foods to Avoid at the Grocery Store” by Jordyn Cormier. Published with permission.

With over 25 million members, Care2 is the largest online community empowering people to take action on important causes and inspiring people to lead healthier, more sustainable lives. Visit today! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Shopping cart image via shutterstock.
Trail mix image via shutterstock.
Canned soup image via shutterstock.

About the author / 


With over 25 million members, care2 is the largest online community empowering people to take action on important causes and inspiring people to lead healthier, more sustainable lives. Visit today! Follow care2 on Facebook and Twitter.

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