Let’s face it: it’s difficult to stay away from junk food and its oh-so-tempting taste and flavor. Be it lack of time, willpower or sheer craving, there are times when nothing seems better than eating junk food, regardless of its effects on our health!
To help you make healthier choices but still enjoy delicious, junk food-like flavors, we’ve come up with these healthy junk food replacements that will help you savor your food and feel better than ever!
When you want something salty:
Swap French fries for roasted veggies
There are no other vegetables out there that Americans like to eat more than potatoes. Which is not really a bad thing, given that potatoes are quite nutritious. The problem is America’s most popular form to consume potatoes is French fry, drowned in excessive amounts of oil that increases the risk of clogged arteries.
The healthy alternative would be to swap the unhealthy French fries with roasted veggies. These can be as crispy and delicious as fries but way healthier! Put sweet potatoes, parsnips or carrots in the oven and enjoy their unaltered benefits. Simple as that!
Try kale chips instead of potato chips
Same with fries, chips are also very oily and can have adverse effects on your health. With 1.2 billion potato chips consumed every year, no wonder Americans have cholesterol problems, among other things.
To avoid unwanted health problems, skip the chips full of fat, salt, sugar, and calories and try kale chips. They’re quite delicious and have the same texture as their unhealthier counterparts, less fat and higher nutritional value. Not to mention you can add the flavor of your choice (salt, paprika, garlic) and make them even tastier and perfect for a healthy snack on the go!
Swap unhealthy snacks for jerky
Snacks are recommended in between meals for energy and satiety but not when they don’t add any value to your health and diet but on the contrary. Take pretzels or muffins, for example.
There are low-fat or free-fat versions out there, but they’re usually made with white flour instead of whole grains. This means it takes longer to digest but, just like, sugar, they give you an energy burst that dissipates faster, leaving you depleted and hungry.
The better option: protein-packed jerky. It is not only low-calorie, but it also makes you feel fuller until your next meal.
When you want something sweet:
Try frozen fruit yogurt instead of ice cream
Ice cream is delicious, no doubt about it. But it is also packed with fat, calories and sugar. Not exactly health-friendly ingredients.
Fortunately, ice cream is not the only way to enjoy a frozen dessert. You can always swap it for frozen fruit yogurt. Just mix some fruit with your favorite yogurt and put it in the freezer for a few hours and voila! You’ve got yourself a frozen delight!
If you’re more into chocolate, try freezing bananas in melted dark chocolate. The result will leave you in awe!
Swap milkshakes for homemade smoothies
Milkshakes and smoothies are liked by pretty much everyone. But one is healthier than the other. Want to take a guess which one?
Primarily based on milk and ice cream, milkshakes are richer in fat and sugar (due to being sweetened by all kinds of flavored syrups). Smoothies, on the other hand, rely mostly on blended fruits and vegetables, ice and the occasional yogurt (should you want any). They are quite filling and full of minerals and vitamins and thus can be consumed as healthy meal replacements, unlike milkshakes.
I think it’s pretty clear who the winner is.
Switch to chocolate-dipped nuts instead of candy
Sometimes, the kid in all of us just can’t say no to candy. But the adult should know better! Because candies are full of calories, solid fats and added sugar that’s digested and most likely stored as fat.
If the combo of flavors is what you’re after, then you should know chocolate-dipped nuts or fruits can be just as delicious and tasty. Take some homemade chocolate and dip the nuts or fruits (or you can try melted dark chocolate and raisins), put them in the freezer and let them harden.
If you’re short on time but high on sugar cravings, you could simply dip the fruits in warm chocolate and eat them like that. They’re delicious either way!
When you feel like eating fast food:
Make homemade Chinese food instead of Chinese takeout
Taking the easy route and going for some Chinese dinner takeout seems like the perfect ending to a long, tiring day at work. But takeout is not the healthiest option.
Let’s make fried rice and sour-sweet chicken, for example. The fried rice is generally white rice, which is the least nutritious of all the rice types out there, being stripped of fiber, vitamins and minerals and antioxidants. Whereas the chicken is completely drowned in off the charts sugar-rich sauce and bathed in oil abounding in calories and fat. Need I say more?
The healthier alternative? Avoid all of the above and opt for cauliflower rice instead! And steamed chicken! It’s a much healthier version of the fried one.
Swap takeout pizza for homemade
Pizza is one of the all-time favorite junk foods, but did you know that one slice provides 23% of your daily saturated fat and around 270 calories? Besides, no one ever stops at one slice, so the calories keep adding up.
You can avoid this by using healthier ingredients such as cauliflower or zucchini to replicate the crust and say goodbye to calories from the traditional pizza dough. In addition, tomato sauce, eggplant or mushroom make great, nutrient-rich toppings you can easily prepare and enjoy. Everyone will want more than a slice of your guilt-free pizza!
Try bunless burgers instead of the traditional ones
Nothing beats a good burger and consumers eat them in record numbers. Unfortunately, most fast food burgers include high amounts of trans and saturated fats which are main factors in increasing the risk of heart diseases such as coronary artery disease.
To prevent this and still enjoy some tasty burgers, you can healthify them by replacing the buns with lettuce, or sweet potato rounds, for starters. You get fewer carbs and an interesting taste on top of that!
Moreover, opt for lean protein such as chicken, turkey, salmon as a heart-healthy and low-calorie burger meat. You’ll be so thrilled by the result you’ll never want traditional burgers ever again! Learn also to maintain satiety by using the right amount of quality proteins every day, by reading this detailed page about protein powders usage and the linked articles. This way you will have a second advantage: your carbs cravings will diminish a lot.
When you’re thirsty:
Swap soda for sparkling water
Drinking soda can be quite tempting when you want to quench your thirst. But is it effective? The answer is a big fat no.
Apart from making you even thirstier due to its sugar content, sodas are also full of chemicals and dyes that do your body no good. Swap it for sparkling water. It’s still bubbly and is able to give you the refreshing satisfaction that you need on a hot day. You can also add some fruit and there you have it, your very own naturally sweet drink!
If you’re really interested and want to find out more about this post about healthy eating and balanced nutrition, it can provide interesting and useful information to live longer and healthier!
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