What are single-ingredient foods?

fruits and veggies single ingredient foods

If it came from the earth, or if it had a mother, it is probably a single-ingredient food.

There are almost no processed foods that are single-ingredient foods.

Processed foods, with their engineered ratio of fats, salt, and sugar, have been shown to light up the addictive centers in our brains.  We literally become addicted to certain processed foods, leading to overeating and obesity.

Additionally, processed foods with their unpronounceable ingredients, potential toxic ingredients or substances that are known to be injurious, are creating a science experiment of our eating.

What can we do to help assure that the food we eat is GOOD for us (not harmful)?


  • If it looks like its name, it is probably a single-ingredient food
    • A steak is a steak
    • A broccoli is a broccoli
    • A pineapple is nothing more than a pineapple
  • Read the label. How many ingredients are there?
    • Guacamole might have avocado, tomato and salt. This could be considered a single-ingredient food because of the simple combination of whole foods, and the limited number of ingredients, each being a natural, single ingredient
    • But, if guacamole had soybean oil as its first ingredient, several other fillers and chemicals, with guacamole seasoning, it certainly would not qualify!
  • It doesn’t HAVE a label!
    • Fresh produce seldom has labels. There are no ingredients other than the food
  • If it came from the earth or had a mother, it most likely is a single-ingredient food
  • There are thousands of single-ingredient foods
  • Single-ingredient foods do not have additives, preservatives, fillers, dyes and colors, flavorings, unpronounceable chemicals,
    • If a “single ingredient food” has additives, it has now lost its position as a single ingredient food.
    • When you eat a single-ingredient food, you basically KNOW what you are eating

When preparing food, it is permissible to combine several single ingredient foods.

  • Make your own tomato sauce by combining fresh tomatoes, olive oil, onions, peppers, garlic and some red wine. . . all made with single ingredient foods.
  • Take a skillet, spoon of macadamia oil (one of the best healthy oils for cooking), slice fresh, organic mushrooms, and saute.  Set them aside and using the same skillet, saute fresh onions.  Then incorporate some of the above in an omelet with feta cheese, herbs, etc.  Single ingredient breakfast . . . most delicious.
    • No, putting bacon into the omelet means adding pork, nitrites, etc….as bacon isn’t a single-ingredient food.
    • Substitute processed meats (to be avoided particularly) with veggies is always a healthy move!

By Dailey Grainger, PhD, ARNP, founder and CEO of Next Health Now, a Nurse Practitioner in the forefront of helping make America healthier.