10 Foods You Should Be Making Not Buying

Cut your grocery list in half and reduce excess packaging by making delicious and healthy versions of your favorite foods at home.

It's always a good idea to make homemade food items rather than buying them in a store. When cooking yourself, you avoid the addition of unnecessary amounts of sugar and other sometimes harmful ingredients. Also, many of the products you buy are made by companies or bought in stores who don't necessarily respect the environment, and often come in loads of plastic or excess packaging.

Leave this behind, and every time you go to reach for a packaged product, I encourage you to leave it on the shelf and ask how you can make it yourself.

Here are 10 ideas for easy homemade foods to get you started...

1. Scrumptious Peanut Butter has to be one of the easiest things to make at home, and its 10,000 times more delicious and healthier too. Watch the video DIY below...

2. Chewy muesli bars are usually filled with sugar when bought from a store. Make your own at home by following this super simple recipe.

3. Pesto tastes best when it's fresh and homemade. You could try a classic basil pesto using your own herbs grown at home, or even a different kind like this rocket, cashew and parmesan option .

4. Homemade dips are always a winner, and so easy to do yourself. Plus dips are often expensive to buy. Try making your own hommus, or guacamole or this Baba Ghanoush.

5. Homemade breadcrumbs are a great way to use up old bread so it doesn't go to waste. Place cubes of day-old bread into a food processor and pulse until the bread has formed a sand-like consistency. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and toast in a 200°C oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Gourmet croutons are another idea for old bread . Dice day-old bread into large cubes, and coat lightly with extra-virgin olive oil. Toast in a 200°C oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Sauces for pasta, or others like sweet chili sauce , don't take very long to make, and are the perfect chance to recycle old jars you might have lying around. Try this marinara sauce which uses up overripe tomatoes, or this homemade sweet chili sauce, or for something more exotic this caribbean jerk sauce .

8. Chicken stock made at home means not letting any part of the food you bought go to waste. And it's simple. You'll need a chicken carcass and bits of vegetables you may have thrown away, like all your washed peelings and trimmings. Think onion skin, celery or carrot ends, celery leaves, beetroot leaves or chopped carrots, onions, leeks etc. See how to do it here .

9. Vegan chocolate , yep that's right, you can make a vegan chocolate alternative in your very own home using the simplest of ingredients! Just mix - ¼ cup coconut oil, liquefied; ¼ cup almond butter, softened; ¼ cup cocoa powder; 2 tbsp maple syrup; 1 tsp vanilla - in a blender, pop in chocolate mould or muffin tin and freeze for 20 minutes. YUM.

10. Vegan Cheese is another thing you can do yourself at home. Eating dairy-free doesn't have to be expensive or difficult – in fact this vegan cheese is cheap to make, planet-strong and delicious! We know being vegan is not for everyone, but if you've made the commitment this idea is great for you. Get the vegan cheese recipe here.

READ THIS NEXT: [Recipe] Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

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