Food & Nutrition

14 Grocery Store Items You’re Better Off Just Making at Home

Powdered iced tea mixes or prepared flavored iced tea

grocery store items iced teaMmeEmil/iStock

Powdered and gourmet ices teas are really a rip-off. It’s much cheaper to make your own iced tea from actual (inexpensive) tea bags and keep a jug in the fridge. Plus, many mixes and preparations are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and other sugars, along with artificial flavors. To make 32 ounces of tea, it usually takes 8 bags of black tea or 10 bags of herbal, green, or white tea. Most tea-bag boxes have recipes, so just follow along. Here’s how you can make your food healthier without even trying.

Bottled water

grocery store items bottled waterjurisam/iStock

It’s a bad investment for so many reasons. It’s expensive compared to what’s coming out of the tap, its cost to the environment is high (it takes a lot of fossil fuel to produce and ship all those bottles) and it’s not even better for your health than the stuff running down your drain. Even taking into account the cost of the filters, water from home is still much cheaper than bottled water, which can run $ 1 to $ 3 a pop. If you have well water and it really does not taste good (even with help from a filter), or if you are pregnant or have a baby and you haven’t had your well water tested recently, buy jugs of distilled or “nursery” water at big discount stores. They usually cost between 79 cents and 99 cents for one gallon (as opposed to $ 1.50 for 8 ounces of “designer” water). You can reuse the jugs to store homemade iced tea, flavored waters, or, when their tops are cut off, all sorts of household odds and ends.

Salad kits

grocery store items saladanandaBGD/iStock

Washed and bagged greens can be a time-saver, but they can cost three times as much as buying a head of lettuce. Even more expensive are salad “kits,” where you get some greens, a small bag of dressing, and a small bag of croutons. Make your own croutons by toasting cut-up stale bread you would otherwise toss, and try mixing your own dressing.

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