We all love to indulge our cravings, eating our favorite junk foods to our hearts’ content. After all, it’s just a little treat. What could the harm be?
Unfortunately, however, the big problem with having little treats is that most people have trouble keeping them little. Our hearts’ content could possibly mean overeating. Junk food is unhealthy food, no one disagrees. And eating too much unhealthy food isn’t, well, healthy. It gets even worse when you eat unhealthy food on the regular. In that case, you can look forward to a high risk of getting certain lifestyle diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and maybe even a stroke.
According to the NHS, the average healthy man needs to consume a maximum of 2500 calories, which is equivalent to about 10,500 kJ per day in order to maintain their weight. Of course, those 2500 calories must be from a healthy, balanced diet that contains enough quantities and proportions of all the nutrients that the body needs. For the average healthy woman, the recommended amount is 2,000 calories a day, which is equivalent to about 8.400 kJ.
This is all good, but there’s a bit of a problem. While we all know that healthy food is good for us, not that many people would pick a celery stick over a pack of fries. Milkshake or a cup of Starbucks are certainly better tasting for most as compared to a kale smoothie.
And that’s the real dilemma here. It seems that what’s most obviously bad for us just tastes so good, and what’s good for us, is about as attractive as a blank white wall.
The trick, then, might be to find healthier alternatives to your favorite junk food, that taste just as good, potentially even better, without seriously compromising your health. That way, you can swap one for the other, keep enjoying the benefits, and dump all of the costs.
That’s exactly what this article is about. We’re going to look at the 10 healthiest alternatives to the most common junk foods. Ready? Let’s go!
fries are among the most popular comfort foods out there. They’re just so easy to binge on! And they’re also very tasty. However, we know they’re not good for us, and they pack a serious punch, with a small pack having as much as 500 calories.
A good alternative to fries are sweet potato wedges. They have plenty of beta-carotene, and increase the levels of vitamin A in our blood. They also have other vitamins, such as B6, C, and D. B6, in particular, protects you from heart attacks.
If you love chocolate a lot, then the good news is that you can keep eating it, so long as you eat the right kind of chocolate. Rather than go for white or milk chocolate, try organic dark chocolate. It’s much healthier. It contains lots of micronutrients, including selenium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium, iron, and plenty of fiber. You’ll also get lots of antioxidants from dark chocolate, which will protect you from inflammation and keep you looking young and fresh.
Beer is great! It helps us overcome our inhibitions and have a good time with friends over sport or just some friendly banter. As an essay writer, I like the way beer can sometimes make me creative while writing. However, beer is also jam packed with calories. If you drank just 5 pints of beer in a week, which certainly isn’t inconceivable, you would end up consuming more than 44,000 calories in a year. Do you know what that is equivalent to? That’s equivalent to eating 221 donuts!
A single pint of beer has 180 calories, but a single serving of spirits has just 61. So you can replace the beer with spirits. If you serve it up with some fresh lime juice and soda water, you’re consuming far fewer calories. You could even do wine, which has just 159 calories in a glass, plus lots of healthy antioxidants.
4. Ice cream
While no one disputes just how delicious ice cream is, the fact that it’s nothing but churned and frozen sugar and fat makes it the least healthy thing you can eat at any time.
Why don’t you try frozen yogurt instead? Frozen yogurt has far fewer calories than ice cream and also contains probiotics, which drastically improve the digestive process.
That said, you should be careful. If you mixed your frozen yogurt with things like melted toffee, you would negate all of its health benefits since you would be consuming lots of calories. Instead, pair it with healthy toppings, like nuts or fresh fruit.
5. Margarine and butter
There is lots of debate out there over which is healthier, butter or margarine. A lot of that debate claims that butter is healthier when you consider all of the additives that are contained in margarine. But butter isn’t exactly low in calories.
I propose an alternative to both: olive spread. If you get good quality olive spread, you can use it for baking as a replacement for butter or margarine. It’s also very low in calories, and I think it tastes even better. Your cupcakes will also have a better shade to them.
Burgers, as admittedly delicious as they are, pack quite a punch when it comes to calories. A single standard burger contains about 350 calories.
Instead, you can try a chicken burger. A large chicken burger with 150 grams of chicken in it contains just 220 calories. Go for a smaller one and you get even fewer calories!
Chips are quite delicious, but then again they’re also quite full of saturated fat and salt. It’s also really hard to keep track of how much you’re having since they are often put in a bowl, especially during times when you’re engrossed in your assignment writing.
To avoid consuming too many calories via chips, consider replacing all those potato chips with popcorn. Plain or very lightly salted popcorn is a great replacement. Also, buy the popcorn and cook it yourself for best results. Not only is popcorn low in calories, but also has plenty of antioxidants and fiber.
Pizza has thick starchy dough, multiple layers of cheese, and a ton of processed meat. It’s delicious, but not very healthy. Instead, try making some homemade pitta pockets. Whole-wheat pitta breads are best, and you can fill them with lots of spicy chicken and salad.
Cakes taste fantastic, but most of them aren’t very healthy. If you’re trying to go for something that tastes just as good but is also healthy, whole-wheat banana bread is the way to go. It has fiber, zinc, magnesium, and potassium.
Candy tastes good and comes in such deceptively small sizes that we’re tricked into eating too many. However, lots of sugar will add no nutritional value to your body. If you’re going to eat something sweet, you might as well eat something rich in micronutrients. Dried fruits like apples, cherries, mangoes, and berries will provide plenty of those. Dried goji berries, in particular, are filled with nutrients.
And with that we come to the end of our little review. There are plenty of healthy alternatives to your favorite junk foods. All you have to do is look. This list is a good place to start, though there are plenty more out there. Nobody said staying healthy can’t be fun!