If your New Year’s resolution centers around physical wellness, the pantry is the number one place to start. Cayla Atha, who authors healthy comfort food blog The Savvy Spoon, says a few key swaps can make a big difference. Here are her top pantry (and fridge!) substitutions that can have you feeling better this year.
Replaces: Semolina wheat pasta
Favorite brands: Banza Chickpea Pasta and Jovial Cassava Fusilli*
“So many brands are making easier-to-digest, gluten free pastas made with chickpeas, lentils, and other grain-free flours that are easier on tummies,” says Atha, who notes that even if you don’t abide by a gluten-free diet, the added nutrients in bean- and veggie-based pasta make it worth the swap.
Replaces: All-purpose flour
Favorite Brand: Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour
Again, Atha prefers to use gluten-free flour for not only digestive but nutritional benefits. “Almost all of the nutrients are stripped out in your standard all-purpose flour,” says Atha, adding that choosing a trusted brand ensures consistency.
Replaces: Vegetable and canola oils
Favorite Brands: Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil and La Tourangelle Avocado Oil
Atha loves this “deliciously light- flavored” cooking oil as an alternative to refined varieties, which she says “are extracted with high heat—killing nutrients—and then treated with a chemical process that sometimes involves bleach.” Avocado oil also has a higher smoke point than olive oil, making it better for high- heat cooking.
Replaces: White rice, couscous, rice pilaf
Favorite Brands: O Organics and Ancient Harvest
Atha says of this healthy ancient grain: “It cooks quickly, is naturally gluten-free, and adds a deliciously nutty heartiness to any dish,” she says. “Pro-tip: Cook the quinoa in broth versus water for extra flavor.”
Liquid or Coconut Aminos
Replaces: Soy sauce
Favorite Brand: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Notoriously high in sodium, soy sauce is also a no-go for those with soy allergies. Instead, Atha says, “Swap your soy sauce for just-as-savory liquid or coconut aminos to instantly boost your amino-acids and lessen your sodium intake.”
Replaces: Whey protein
Favorite Brands: Vega and Ritual
Atha suggests ditching whey protein in favor of an organic and plant-powered alternative for additional nutrients. “Many plant protein powders source their amino acids from peas, which are easily digested and a great source of iron,” she says. Plus, Atha notes, “Plant-based protein sources are more unsaturated than animal, which lowers LDL cholesterol.”
Replaces: Dairy milk
Favorite brands: Mooala** Vanilla Bean Almond Milk (local!), Califia Farms, and Malk
Even if you’re not lactose intolerant, Atha says, “Dairy can be harder for your body to process. Switching to an alternative milk made from almonds, cashews or even coconuts offers a lower-calorie alternative to dairy that still tastes rich and creamy.”
Replaces: Inorganic berries
Though choosing organic fruits and veggies is best whenever possible, Atha says it’s especially true when it comes to berries. “Inorganic berries carry a surprising amount of pesticides, with strawberries in particular topping the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ list,” she says.
*A previous version of this story misidentified Jovial’s Cassava Fusilli as red lentil pasta. This has been corrected.
**A previous version of this story misspelled Mooala. This has been corrected.