The more you cook at home this year, the more you’ll find yourself in need of stock. While it can be satisfying and even meditative to make your very own stock from scratch, it’s also a good idea to keep some shelf-stable options on hand.
But with all the fillers and additives added to some stocks these days, it can be challenging to know which brand to buy. We talked to chefs and nutritionists to find their favorite choices for taste, convenience and nutrition.
What to look for
First, you need to read a few labels, beginning with a search for brands that keep sodium levels in check. Full-sodium broths are one of the top 10 saltiest foods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, registered dietician nutritionist Amanda Frankeny told HuffPost.
Once you’ve checked out the sodium, you’ll want to find out what else is — and isn’t — in that stock. “More studies continue to show the inflammatory impact of excess preservatives, fillers, artificial sweeteners and flavors,” chef Marshall O’Brien said. He suggested looking for brands that are preservative-free and do not include “natural flavors.”
“Look for brands made just with simple ingredients like vegetables, meat, bones herbs and spices,” O’Brien said. Once you start looking, you’ll realize there aren’t a lot of store-bought stocks that fit those qualifications.
Food coach Jen Smiley, founder of Wake Up and Read the Labels, said you’ll want to be just as aware of what’s not in the stock. ”Avoid stocks that have preservatives, fillers, gums or artificial ingredients,” Smiley said. “Most broths have added sugar and wheat flour, which causes you to become tired, hungry and bloated.”
And if you’re sensitive to MSG, beware of an ingredient called “yeast extract” that’s just a different name for MSG.
Ready for more suggestions from the experts? Here are some of their top picks.
HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Prices and availability are subject to change.
Bluebird Provisions bone broth cubes
Kettle & Fire Bone Broth
Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable Broth
Pacific Foods Bone Broth and Vegetable Broth
Rachel Ray Stock-In-A-Box