Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Five Healthier Alternatives to Your Favorite Junk Foods #Healthy2021 #healthysnacks #eatwell #healthyfood

Face it: most of us enjoy eating fast food now and then! While it's fine as an occasional treat, a steady diet of fast food is definitely not healthy. As part of my #Healthy2021 series, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing five healthy alternatives to your favorite junk foods. Making a few key changes can allow you to enjoy your favorite foods in a much healthier way. This article may contain affiliate links.

Did you know that 53% of men and 42% of women report eating fast food regularly? While junk food may be delicious and easy to consume, it also comes with a few negative consequences. Most of your favorite junk foods are classified as not so healthy due to specific unhealthy ingredients. Fortunately, you can easily replace unhealthy junk foods with healthier alternatives. Here are some ideas to get you started.

(1) Use Gluten-Free or Whole Wheat Flour for Your Pastries and Baked Foods

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Baked foods are generally high in fat and cholesterol. They also tend to be hard to digest due to their high gluten content. To make your baked foods healthier, you can replace the recipe's regular flour with gluten-free options like brown or white rice flour...and coconut flour. You can also replace butter and oil with lower-fat options to reduce fat and cholesterol.

(2) Healthier Snack Replacements

Research shows that cravings sometimes arise because the body needs particular nutrients it may be lacking. Healthy foods contain nutrients that our bodies search for in junk foods. For example, chocolate cravings usually occur because of a drop in a person's magnesium levels. Understanding this, you can consume raw nuts in place of chocolate to provide your body with needed magnesium. Low potassium levels can also result in a craving for potato chips and other salty foods. Bananas are a healthy source of potassium.

(3) Bake Instead of Frying 

Chicken wings are a go-to foods to enjoy while watching ballgames and binge watching TV shows. However, they may not be helping your waistline. Most people love the crispiness of wings, but traditional fried wings are high in unhealthy fat. A better option is to bake your chicken wings; they'll come out just as tasty, with all the flavors you know and love. You can also make cheese fries with a lowfat cheese sauce and bake your fries in an oven or air fryer instead of frying them.

(4) Replace Soda and Soft Drink Beverages 

The best replacement for soda and soft drinks is water. The transition to water may not sound great, because water does not give the same satisfaction as a fizzy, sweet beverage. Fortunately, this satisfaction can be achieved by using sparkling water. Simply squeeze in a bit of citrus or other fruit juice for a naturally sweet drink -- without chemicals and dyes, which are bad for the body.

(5) Choose Healthy Options for Pizza and Burgers

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When it comes to pizza, you can easily replace your regular crust with one made from cauliflower -- resulting in few carbs and calories. You can also make healthy burgers by using extra-lean ground beef or turkey breast as substitutes for fatty ground beef. To up the health quotient, finish the burger with a whole wheat bun. Even if you can't make whole wheat buns yourself from scratch, most grocery bakery sections sell them. Also try to buy the leanest ground beef you can find, then cook healthy burgers at home using a grill.

It's okay to occasionally treat yourself to your not-so-healthy cravings during your transition to healthier eating. That's because outright denial/deprivation in the beginning may actually cause you to return to eating junk food nonstop. The key is to create a healthy balance -- also known as moderation -- and know when to give yourself a treat while you still eat healthily overall.

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