I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I've done some research on things that are healthy and definitely not! Here is a list of things that you'll probably not find in my recipes (unless they're hidden deep into some product in an insignificant amount):
high fructose corn syrup (or as it's now called "corn sugar")
hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils
...so what the HECK do I use to cook/bake with?! You are about to be introduced into the wonderful world of substituting ingredients! Once you know what substitutes are "healthy choices" (as my 4-yr-old would phrase it)...you will be able to use all of your favorite family recipes, with a healthier twist!
-Sugar Substitutes are not hard to come by:
-sucanat or coconut sugar are great in cookies
-agave nectar is so awesome on pancakes, in breads, muffins, sauces, salad dressings...ect...versatile and low glycemic...use it!
-100% Maple syrup and honey are also choices that some may use...I personally think there are healthier options
-Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain flour (amazing!) it's finely ground so it's great for baked goods
-King Arthurs White Whole Wheat Flour (it's not white flour, it's wheat flour made from a white wheat berry, rather than the red) It's more delicate in texture, so it won't be as heavy as a regular wheat flour
-King Arthurs Whole Wheat Flour
-Unsweetened Almond milk (Blue Diamond)...this is great in mashed potatoes, gravies and sauces, or creamy soups because there are no sweeteners
-Regular Almond milk (I don't typically use the vanilla for anything)
Now, soy milk can be used interchangeably with Almond milk, but for unresolved conflicts over soy, I choose Almond...I personally am not a huge fan of rice milk, but if you like it, you can use it!
-Coconut Milk (I think Thai Organic in the can is what I use, but any organic brand works...The canned kind is SUPER creamy and not watered down at all...so use that kind)...this one I'll use in a lot of Indian recipes, curries, and smoothies!
-Egg Replacer....there are 2 kinds that I've used: Ener-G and Bobs Red Mill...both have produced amazing results in my kitchen...so whatever you can find, you can use :)
-Applesauce (sounds weird I know), but if you're striving to bake something low fat...cookies, bread, muffins, brownies...this stuff is a miracle! Note: this will slightly change the texture of your baked goods...not too much in breads, but especially in cookies (I'll typically do half applesauce and half coconut oil for cookies)
-Coconut oil (do get organic here)...this little beauty is an amazing oil substitute...use it in baking, frying (if you must), stir frys, homemade garlic bread, on top of bagels, pancakes...basically anywhere you'd use butter!
-Earth Balance Buttery Spread (I get the soy free...it has the red label, not the green)...Warning: this stuff is DANGEROUSLY amazing! Use in any recipe that calls for butter for amazing taste and texture...just know that there are healthier alternatives...you've been warned!
-Tempeh (a fermented soy product...that no matter what people say bad about soy, somehow this product is still healthy!)...I'll used this as a ground beef substitute, not because it tastes like it, but because when it's crumbled and cooked into what you'll be cooking, the chewy texture will be an amazing (super high protein) surprise, even to the toughest critic.
So those are the basic substitutions that you'll find in my recipes...as for meat, most of the time you can just leave it out, but for those who need to transition away from meat, there are a few soy-based products that I have experimented with, and they'll be noted in my recipes where applicable!
Having the tools and knowledge to eat healthy is like having a cheaters guide to a test! Learn these, and commit them to memory, then have them on hand in your kitchen...that way you'll never be "forced" to cook something unhealthy, when what you intended was to produce something healthy!