If you’re a busy person (and who isn’t these days?) looking for healthy snacks alternatives to junk food, you’re in the right place.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some shocking estimates.
About 36.6 percent of adults consume fast food in the United States of America. That’s approximately 84.8 million people.
How junk food causes health problems
In 1972, Michael Jacobson coined the term “junk food” to describe foods of useless or low nutritional value.
These are foods that contain a high level of refined sugar. They also are loaded with trans fat and polyunsaturated fat salt.
But that’s not all.
Also, junk foods have a high amount of food additives. For examples such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and tartrazine.
These additives have none or little protein, vitamins, and fiber. They are unhealthy.
And it’s not surprising that junk food, in the long run, harms our health.
High in cholesterol levels, junk food also causes heart diseases. And we should avoid them.
Here comes the good news: There are healthy snacks alternatives to junk food.
In the rest of this article, we will share those healthy foods you can eat when you’re in a hurry. Let’s dive in.
1. Dark chocolate instead of chocolate
Milky or white chocolates are delicious. They are also easy to come by especially if you want to have a snack.
Despite its undeniable sweet taste is it also undeniably bad for you in so many ways. Diabetes and hypertension are just to mention a few.
Dark chocolate is highly nutritious and a better healthy snack alternative to the ordinary chocolates. Here’s why.
It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber. And it’s packed with nutrients just right for your body including:
It also has moderate amounts of monosaturated and saturated fats with little amounts of polyunsaturated fats.
They also contain antioxidants which help you looking young.
2. Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream
Frozen yogurt is great source of protein and calcium.
It is a frozen dessert made with yogurt and sometimes other dairy and non-dairy products.
Think of more tart than ice cream, but also lower in fat.
The biggest nutritional difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream is the fat content.
One cup of regular vanilla ice cream contains 275 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 9 grams of saturated fat.
But one cup of regular vanilla frozen yogurt contains 221 calories, 6 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat.
3. Red wine instead of beer
It is general knowledge that red wine protects us against heart diseases.
Almost every wine or beer has some amount of calories.
But the option of making a better choice as to which one to take solely rests in our hands.
In taking good care of ourselves, it is highly recommended that we opt for red wine. Let me explain.
A study in one of the medical journals found antioxidants found in many red-purple berry fruits (grapes of red wine).
These antioxidants are categorized as individual polyphenols. These polyphenols help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Also, wine polyphenols could be effective in preventing cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Clinical studies show that CVD can be influenced by moderate wine consumption. Say cheers to the wine.
4. Popcorn instead of crisps
Popcorn is a type of corn kernel. When heated, it pops and becomes light and fluffy.
It contains plenty of nutrients and vitamins when people make it in the right way.
Popcorn can either be good or bad for a person’s health, depending on what goes into making it.
On its own, without any added sugar or salt, popcorn makes a nutritious, healthy snack.
Air-popped popcorn with no oil provides the best health benefits. People can air-pop popcorn by heating popcorn kernels in a popcorn maker or on a stovetop.
It provides benefits such as high fiber, minerals and vitamins, low in fats and sugar. It contains no cholesterol.
But potato chips (often just chips), or crisps, come with its baggage.
They are thin slices of potato that have are deep-fried or baked until crunchy. They are commonly served as a snack, side dish, or appetizer.
Chips are typically served salted or flavored, giving them a high sodium content.
Too much sodium can cause various health issues, like increased blood pressure and heart disease.
The sodium in a small bag of potato chips may not seem excessive.
But it’s important to watch the salt in your diet. All these and more make popcorn a better and healthy snack for everyone and anyone.
5. Dried fruits instead of sweets
What tastes better in the middle of meals? Sweets, of course.
But sweets cause so much harm to us and we know it. Maybe we choose to ignore that fact because we don’t know any alternatives to them.
Dried fruits such as mangoes, apples, granola, or cherries are healthier. Plus, fruits are cheaper healthy snacks for you at any given time.
6. Banana bread instead of cake
Nothing in this world compares to the pleasure of eating any type of cakes brings.
But the problem is that it’s high in calories and fats. That’s not good for our health in the long run.
The good news is that there is a healthy snack as the perfect alternative: banana cakes.
Banana bread is a good source of protein, magnesium, fiber, healthy fats.
It helps you get full quickly. This effect can help you eat less and increase weight loss.
7. Margarine instead of butter
Butter is a dairy product containing a large amount of edible fat.
You prepare it by churning the cream obtained from milk.
Or you can get it in a semi-solid form by whipping the cream. The standard proportion of butter to milk is 1:20.
Butter also contains fats which can cause many undesirable problems if you overeat.
These problems include obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer.
In general, white flour together with butter is a primary cause of obesity and other weight complications.
On the other hand, margarine contains vegetable oils.
These are unsaturated “good” fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These types of fats help reduce cholesterol.
8. Homemade smoothies instead of milkshakes
Our list of healthy snack alternatives will not be complete without smoothies!
Just as the name suggests, smoothies are smooth and full of nutrients that help your body in so many ways.
Smoothies help with dehydration. This is because it extracts lots of water from the fruits itself.
Smoothies can be made with bananas, kiwi, and oats.
They provide calcium and magnesium in good amounts. This helps you fall asleep naturally and helps maintain healthy sleeping patterns.
A chocolate milkshake may be bliss for your taste buds. But it’s not so good for your blood vessels.
A small new study suggests confirmed the effects of a high-fat meal like a milkshake. It may lead to unhealthy changes in your blood vessels and red blood cells.
9. Whole wheat bread instead of white bread
White bread is the most common bread type most people eat.
As human as we are, anything sweet is our go-to. White bread is starchier than wheat bread.
And the bad news is that it can lead to a drastic spike in our sugar levels.
But whole-wheat bread can be a healthy alternative. Whole wheat bread contains fiber, which is a nutrient essential for giving you a regular digestive system.
Switching to whole grain bread would give you more vitamins B6 and E, zinc, magnesium, and folic acid.
The high fiber content can lower heart disease risk.
10. Fresh fruit juices
Any juice from fresh fruits replace almost every other junk food. This includes:
- Mango juice
- Orange juice
- Lemon or lime juice
- Apple juice
Another benefit of fruit juices is that they don’t take too much time to make. It’s perfect for people in a hurry all the time.
If you’re like me, oatmeal as breakfast is regular on your eating schedule.
(And I also believe there’s a special place in hell for people who hate oatmeal).
But oatmeal can be so much more than just a breakfast item. You can have it at any time of the day.
Even as a healthy snack alternative at work, during your travel or after safe CrossFit workouts.
Oats are one of the highly nutritious whole grains on earth. They are rich in nutrients that work magic in our bodies.
Oatmeal also can replace any kind of unhealthy snack imaginable.
They are gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
And all these promote weight loss, promote blood sugar levels and reduce the chances of any heart disease.
Bonus 12: Flavored Water
I know what you’re thinking: what does drinking water have to do with healthy snacks alternatives to junk food?
Here’s the thing: there are a lot of people out there who just cannot take in water — simply because it tastes like water.
You could be one of them too. And that’s OK.
But there is a simple solution. A slice of lime or lemon or orange in a glass of water is the trick.
The added taste helps us to drink more water, helps improve diet, and helps with weight loss.
And to put the icing on top of the cake, it adds a natural flavor to your water. Simple, isn’t it?
Choose healthy snacks alternatives today
Are you ready to make that switch to an even healthier lifestyle with regards to your snack choices?
Then these should be easy to follow through for everyone, especially you, who is always in the hurry.