There is a series of books with the title "Eat this, not that." This is my real food version of eat this, not that. Some are really simple changes- just throwing something different in your cart at the store, and some take a little more work.
Sea salt, not iodized salt
Iodized salt is washed, stripped of minerals and bleached. Then, to restore some of what was lost in that process, potassium iodide is added back in. Sea salt has trace minerals, including naturally occuring iodine that is more readily absorbed by the body. Unfortunately, not all products called "sea salt" are unrefined. Look for salt that is a light grayish color that has not been bleached.
Plain yogurt, not commercially flavored yogurt
I'm not saying that you have to eat all your yogurt plain, but if you are adding in your own sweeteners and flavorings, you will add less sugar than a corporation would (unless, of course, you're my Dad and you add sugar to your Cap'n Crunch). You also get to control what kind of sweetener goes in, allowing you to use maple syrup instead of high fructose corn syrup or other highly processed sugars.
Maple Syrup or fruit syrup, not maple flavored pancake syrup
Real maple syrup is a naturally occuring product that comes from a tap directly in the maple tree. Since it can be pricey, we alternate between maple syrup and fruit syrups. But we have completely eliminated the fake stuff from our diets. Usually the number one ingredient in the fake stuff is HFCS, followed by other processed foods, none of which have any redeeming nutritional value.
Homemade bread, not store bought bread
With store bought bread, there is usually a long list of unpronouncable ingredients. When you bake your own, you know exactly what goes in it. You can even do things to increase the nutrition and digestibility, like soaking or sprouting your grains. Besides all the health reasons, homemade bread tastes so good, and costs much less than store bought.
Daisy Sour Cream, not store brands
Daisy Sour cream has one ingredient: cultured cream. Other brands I've seen have around 10. Daisy sour cream is delicious, and I'm sure their short list of one ingredient has something to do with that.
Rumford baking powder, not Clabber Girl
Clabber Girl baking powder, along with most store brands, contains sodium aluminum sulfate. Aluminum is not something we need more of, so it's best to avoid a product that is adding extra.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, not pure olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is cold pressed, and keeps all the nutrients. "Pure" olive oil is what they make after
they make EVOO. They use heat to get the rest of the oil out of the olives. It destroys some nutrients and
also causes it to become rancid, so they sometimes have to add in some virgin olive oil just to make it
taste decent. EVOO is the way to go for health and for taste.
Homemade Broth, not Swanson's
Broth is the simplest thing to make: Add water, bones, and veggies to a pot. Simmer for hours. Drain out the veggies and bones. That's it! Unfortunately, most broth that you buy in the store contains autolyzed yeast extract or soy lecithin. You can find brands without added ingredients. If making broth seems too much of a chore and you are going to buy it, look for a brand that contains: chicken (or beef), vegetables and maybe some salt. That's really about all that should be in there.
Pastured Meat and Poultry, not Factory Farmed
This can be a hard one, because it costs more to get the good stuff. But it's better for the animals and better for us. They have happier, healthier living conditions, resulting in healthier meat on the animals. Their health depends on what they eat (like grass for cows), and their environment. Pasture raised animals don't need routine antibiotics and are generally allowed to grow without any added growth hormones.
This is far from a comprehensive list, but hopefully it will get you thinking. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
Note: I got some feedback from my family that my giveaway post was confusing, so let me clarify: you don't have to do ALL those things to get an entry- each one is good for one entry, for a total of up to five. So click here and head on over to enter!