At first, searching for new recipes might not sound like a typical family activity. But think about it. Everyone has opinions about what to eat, and making the process a bit more democratic might be a genius idea – it's fun too. Once you agree on new recipes, change your shopping and try an Asian grocery store or other specialty markets. When you add some tasty fresh ingredients to your cooking, you'll love the flavors—making alternate versions of many recipes can improve them for your family's preferences. Cooking at home saves money and is healthier when carefully selecting the ingredients.

A surprising number of ingredient alternatives can be found at an Asian grocer, several of the most popular ones from Korea, China, and the Philippines. For example, if you enjoy barbecued foods, try a bottle of Korean BBQ sauce and marinade. You may love its spicy, vibrant flavor as an alternative to traditional American-style barbecue sauce. Korean mustard paste is another one to try in place of conventional mustard. It's a way to change things and enjoy tastes that add variety., Old favorites take on exciting new flavors that your family will love when you use them in your cooking routine.

Healthier versions of beloved ingredients like soy sauce also abound on the shelves of Asian grocers. One of the most interesting ones is wheat-free and has as much as 85-percent less sodium than the traditional product. It's ingeniously made from aged coconut sap and mineral-rich sea salt. If you love and understand umami, it has 17 umami-producing amino acids that bring out a deliciously savory flavor in many foods. It's easy to see why your favorite recipes will be enhanced by new condiments and sauces designed to make foods taste better naturally. Don't be shy about trying new things.

If your family's recipe search leads you to indulgent foods that have conventionally included ingredients you need to avoid, today's product alternatives are delicious. Which one do you need? Is it sugar-free, lower sodium, gluten-free, dairy-free, or less fat? Whichever one it is, do some searching online and find out about good substitutions. For example, tofu can replace dairy ingredients in many recipes and add more protein in many cases. The only way to find out what alternates you like the best is to begin trying them. It's better than skipping recipes you love because of certain ingredients you shouldn't eat.