Junk Food Alternatives Done Right
Do you still struggle a bit with junk food? You’re not alone…but the good news is that not all easily snackable foods are bad for you! In fact, many can give you your dose of fat, salt, or sugar to help make it through the day, but in a way that’s healthier and still helps you lose weight. Here are the top options.
Kale Chips and Other Vegetable Crisps
You have probably heard of kale chips by now, and you are probably already on one side of this dish or the other. However, we encourage you to experiment with kale chips – a few additions, like sesame oil or cayenne pepper, can add a lot of kick to this “junk” food while still keeping it low calorie. You can snack on these for days. Of course, if you don’t like kale, there are plenty of other vegetables that you can “crisp” or even buy packaged that still have low calories and taste great.
Low Sugar Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is definitely a give and take. Drying out fruit tends to remove most of the nutrition while leaving most of the sugar, which is a bad deal for your body. But some dried fruits are healthier than others and can do a lot of good if you use them to replace other worse junk foods (after all there’s no salt, no transfat, and no carbs). Try choosing options like dried apricots or dried blueberries. When possible experiment with adding pepper or other options to make your eating a little slower.
Jerky gets a bad rap because it tends to have a whole lot of preservatives in it, plus a pretty high calorie content for how small the serving is. However, this junk food can actually be a healthy option, especially if you snack on it before or after leaving the gym. It’s filled with hard-hitting protein, and doesn’t encourage your body to store fat. Look for organic versions of jerky to stay away from the worst preservatives.
Pita chips tend to have lower calorie counts than average junk food chips, and are also a lot healthier for you…and often less expensive than other options to boot. However, if you do choose pita chips, you may want to take it easy on the dips, which can easily add lots of other calories. There’s a reason it’s so popular with the relatively low-calorie hummus. Use this as a replacement for a bad junk food that you want to get rid of.
Flat-crust pizza, especially the homemade or artisan versions, have several things going for it. First, that flat crust hides a lot less oils and carbs, which drastically reduces the calorie content. Second, flat-crust pizzas are made with a focus on flavor and less focus on high levels of cheese, another calorie dropper. Third, flat-crust pizzas are more likely to use lots of vegetables, chicken, and other healthier ingredients. This is one junk food that is far, far healthier than the traditional version, so don’t be afraid to buy it from time to time.
If you’re still looking for a great substitute for your junk food, consider coconut chips. Yes, coconut does have a lot of fat in it, but there are still reasons it’s a healthy alternative. The fats in coconut are healthier than many processed fats. Also, coconut flakes or chips pack in a whole lot of flavor with just a little taste. You can eat them slowly, appease your taste buds, and still not absorb that many calories.
Dark chocolate is in the same boat as coconut, except it also has healthy antioxidants. Pick truly dark chocolate with low sugar and lots of cacao to make every taste powerful and lower your intake.