Ingredients

Eating healthy meals at home is a well-intentioned effort that many people don’t get enough credit for. Busy schedules and hectic lifestyles often make it nearly impossible to make a home-cooked meal, thus our time in the kitchen can feel more like an obligation rather than an opportunity to be creative. However, by trying to make these home-cooked meals quickly, corners are often cut and ingredients are used that prove to be more damaging than beneficial.

Are you using any of these bad ingredients in your food? If so, you should stop! Here are 21 ingredients you should discontinue using to make your foods healthy and tasty the next time you fire up the stove.

21. Vegetable Oils

Vegetable Oil

Soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils are highly processed and contain high amounts of essential omega-6 polyunsaturated fats and a type of fat known as linoleic acid. If eaten in moderation, omega-6 fatty acids can lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. But consuming too much of it can cause a negative imbalance with omega-3 fatty acids. Try to swap out vegetable oils for avocado or extra-virgin olive oil to ensure you get enough omega-3s.

20. Fake Butter

Margarine

“Some margarine tubs contain artery-clogging saturated fats and are made with processed oils that may be pro-inflammatory,” said Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition. Inflammation can eventually lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. For a healthier alternative, try switching to grass-fed butter or use products like Earth Balance, which contains a mix of less processed oils.