6 Foods You Should Never Skimp On That Aren’t Sushi


Life is short. Sometimes you just need to rip off the band-aid and treat yourself to the finer things in life. If you’re on a budget and have trouble deciding between a new bottle of olive oil and those fancy almonds from TJ’s, it’s a good time to figure out your priorities. One of the more obvious foods that you shouldn’t skimp on is sushi. There are plenty of opportunities to gamble in life, but raw fish isn’t one of them. When you feel like ordering a spicy tuna roll, give some thought to the source. Aside from sushi, here are six foods you shouldn’t skimp on.

1. Ground Beef


When you’re craving a cheeseburger, there’s not a whole lot that can stop you. It might be tempting to head over to the meat aisle and get whatever ground beef is on sale, but you should really look to grass-fed instead. Sure it’ll be a little pricier, but when you’re cooking, ground beef is one of those ingredients where you can clearly taste the difference. Poor quality beef is also a common source of deadly bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella. No matter what age you are, being exposed to this bacteria can cause serious illness. Grass-fed beef comes from cows that spend their time grazing on green pastures and eating grasses like wild onions and clover, which happens to be rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. We hate to say it but, happy cows tend to make for more flavorful burgers.

2. Maple Syrup


It’s all about to how you were raised when it comes to maple syrup. Some people swear by thick pancake syrup like Aunt Jemima. Maybe it was on the table throughout your childhood and it’s all you know. Then, there’s pure maple syrup, which is a whole new world. The silky consistency and maple flavor are enough to convert you to the real thing. Plus, it’s magical when you look at the ingredient list and there’s only one thing listed and it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. Pancake syrup usually has ingredients listed like high fructose corn syrup, caramel color and artificial flavors, which are pretty bad for your health. Spend those couple extra dollars on the real deal maple syrup and you’re life will become infinitely better, we swear.

3. Coffee


A crappy cup of coffee is probably the worst way to start off your day. Even if you think you’re being economical by drinking that free coffee at your office, it can’t last for too long. Eventually, you’ll give in and head over to the coffee shop around the corner and buy yourself that overpriced iced latte that you’ve been craving all along. Instead of learning this the hard way after weeks of watered down office coffee consumption, invest in a quality bag of your favorite blend and make it for yourself at home. It’s worth it in the end. You don’t have time for crappy coffee.

4. Bread


Bread is on the hot seat right now with people developing all sorts of stomach issues and going back and forth on different gluten-free diets. Despite all the hate, if you eat the fresh bread, you can minimize the effects it’ll have on your health. Commercial brands like Pepperidge Farm are tempting with all the right packaging, but in reality, this kind of bread has a grocery list of ingredients that are kinda scary. Some people buy the bagged bread hoping it’ll last them a while, but it’s so worth it to buy fresh bread. Head to your local farmer’s market or bakery and get a loaf of sourdough or a fresh baguette. Take your sandwich game to the next level.

5. Parmesan Cheese

Flickr/Graeme Maclean/CC BY

There’s a huge difference between the parmesan you find in tubs or pouches at the grocery store and real Parmigiano-Reggiano. You might’ve heard some horror stories about certain brands of grated parmesan, that in reality are a salty cheese-flavored substance containing wood pulp or cellulose. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, buy yourself a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano and you’ll fall in love and never turn back. Real parmesan, which is aged for at least a year, can do way more than coat a pile of spaghetti. It can elevate pretty much any dish with its bold piquant flavor and you should treat it like gold. If you do splurge for the good stuff, it’ll be worth it.

6. Olive Oil


Don’t skimp on your olive oil. A good extra virgin olive oil will be your best friend in the kitchen. Buy the olive oil in a size that you know you’ll finish since it should be used up within the year that it’s pressed, and make sure to store it in a cool dark location. Extra virgin olive oil is just about the most important ingredient in Italian cooking and you’ll definitely taste the difference. If you’re someone who likes to cook, treat yourself to the good stuff, but if you just need an oil to avoid food sticking to the pan, then the cheap stuff should do the trick.