Love Junk Food? Here are 10 Healthier Snacks to Try Instead
Junk food cravings are admittedly an easy addiction to fall into, and snacking repeatedly could lead to serious health issues in the long run. Whether it’s snacking on potato chips while you’re catching up on your current TV show on Netflix, or reaching for some candy while you’re cooking dinner, it’s easy to fall into a junk food binge. But now that the New Year just begun, make it a goal to transition out of these poor snacking habits. Studies have proven that if you replace one unhealthy snack a day with a healthier alternative, it will increase your overall health! Rather than kicking out these habits cold turkey, start off your new year right with these 10 recipes that will replace some bad snacks without skimping on flavor.
Junk Food Addiction: Movie Theater Popcorn
We all love popcorn. It’s delicious, addictive, and you can’t help reaching for more, especially when it’s covered in butter and served with a movie! But mindlessly reaching for buttery popcorn can be really bad for you. To get all of the addicting, crunchy taste of popcorn with the added health benefits of more fiber, less sodium, and less fat, try popping your own kernels and adding in your own butter. Doing this puts you in control of the amount of butter you add, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
Try This Instead: Skinny Buttered Popcorn
Junk Food Addiction: Candy
Who doesn’t love candy? It’s sweet, colorful, and delicious. However, candy contains artificial sugars and absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. Fresh fruits, on the other hand, make a great alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth while giving you fiber and protein in your diet. Fruits are packed with all-natural sugars and they include several vitamins and minerals. We love this quick and easy recipe that includes fruits, yogurt, and honey. What more could you ask for?
Try This Instead: Rainbow Fruit Kebabs
Junk Food Addiction: Ice Cream
No one can resist a scoop of ice cream. Even though ice cream contains milk which is packed with calcium, it also contains just as much saturated fat. Natural fruit ice cream can be easy to make using just a couple of fresh ingredients. By taking fresh fruits, blending them, and freezing them, this recipe provides that same sweetness found in ice cream without all the unnecessary additives.
Try This Instead: All-Natural Banana Ice Cream
Junk Food Addiction: Chips and Dip
You’re watching a Friday night movie, and the first thing in reach always seems to be chips and dip. Reaching for chip after chip doesn’t seem so bad, but it adds up quickly, especially when you’re munching on queso dip or guacamole. For a tastier alternative, try pita chips and hummus, which include a good amount of protein and less saturated fats. Made with chickpeas, olive oil, and garlic, hummus is a heart-healthy and inexpensive snack. And the best thing? You can customize it to your liking by adding cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, or anything you’d like to give it a kick. To make it even healthier, be sure to portion out what you’re going to eat, rather than sitting down with a whole bag of chips.
Try This Instead: Red Pepper Hummus with Toasted Pita Triangles
Junk Food Addiction: Cocktails
After drinking a couple of cocktails, not only are you left with a terrible hangover, but you’ll also have consumed way more calories than necessary.. Cocktails can be anywhere from 100 to 1000 calories. Not really the first thing you had in mind when reaching for that extra whiskey sour, huh? Ditch the martinis and the sangria, and opt for a low-cal refreshing drink, like a mojito or a vodka tonic.
Try This Instead: Slushy Watermelon Mojito
Junk Food Addiction: French Fries
French fries drenched in ketchup is always amazing. But the problem with french fries is that they contain a ton of saturated fats, and of course a lot of sodium. For an easy substitution that still gives you the same delicious taste, turn to sweet potato fries instead. Sweet potato fries have more vitamins and less sodium than your regular french fry, and you can make them salty, savory, or sweet.
Try This Instead: Sweet Potato Fries
Junk Food Addiction: Buffalo Wings
Spicy and packed with a kick, buffalo wings are great for parties and sporting events. But for every 6 wings, you’re consuming roughly 600 calories. To curb your cravings for buffalo sauce, try cooking up some buffalo cauliflower instead! Buffalo cauliflower offers all the crunch and flavor of wings while providing a snack filled with minerals and antioxidants that’s completely meat-free.
Try This Instead: Cauliflower Buffalo Bites
Junk Food Addiction: Fruit Juice
For some strange reason, most “fruit juices” don’t actually contain much fruit at all. In fact, most of your favorite fruit juices probably say somewhere on the bottle that they “contain 2% fruit juice” or something like that. The other 98% is a solid dose of fructose. Although a glass or two won’t hurt, drinking too much juice is just as bad as drinking pure sugar. An easy substitute is fruit-infused water, which has a tang to it, looks great, and is packed with less calories and less sugars. We love this fruit infused water recipe that adds fresh fruit and mint for a complex, refreshing beverage that’s healthy and simple.
Try This Instead: Fruit Infused Water
Junk Food Addiction: Chocolate
Instead of eating milk chocolate or white chocolate, start reaching for dark chocolate instead to curb your sweet tooth. Dark chocolate (in moderation) can actually be good for you! It is rich in antioxidants. In fact, there are proven studies that claim that dark chocolate improves overall health, with benefits like helping decrease stress and increase metabolism and blood flow. Dark chocolate gives you a much-needed energy boost, so don’t feel guilty when you’re munching on this recipe during your breaks at the office!
Try This Instead: Homemade Melt-In-Your-Mouth Dark Chocolate
Junk Food Addiction: Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is packed with tasty flavors and seasoning. However it’s usually high in sodium and loaded with preservatives. Instead of beef jerky, try this recipe that is simple and uses lean turkey as a substitute. Homemade turkey jerky contains less carbs and sugar, and more protein overall versus your standard beef jerky.
Try This Instead: Homemade Turkey Jerky