On National Junk Food Day, Angela Nyp, RD, LD registered dietitian with Life Time Fitness shares tips on how to indulge -- without over-indulging. She also shares tips on how to choose your splurges and and how ways to replace junk food with superfoods that will help your health.
Typical junk food is considered to be candy, pizza and soda, but there are plenty of other contenders in those grocery aisles that carry a very similar and poor nutrition profile. These seductive products not only call out your name with their brightly colored and stamped packaging, but they are loaded with sugar, artificial colors, flavorings, and preservatives. Many parents might purchase them for convenience for their kids or even themselves because they are often pre-wrapped, travel well and are marked as "healthy" snacks.
• Chips – under 200 calories and 2 grams of protein, problem is who can eat just 1 oz of chips? SERVING SIZE 1 OZ.
• Donuts – over 200 calories per servings with only two grams of protein, again who can eat just 4 of those little donuts? SERVING SIZE 4 DONUTS
• Typical candy bar – 210-250 calories, 3-4 grams of protein.
• Sodas and Candies – 100-200 calories per serving with NO protein. These as a snack will cause your blood sugar to rise and fall and just make you more hungry.
There are some healthy snack ideas that can serve as alternatives to junk food. See below.
• Oranges with cinnamon & walnuts– starting simple, a regular orange with a sprinkle of cinnamon. It may seem like an odd combination, but it almost tastes like candy. The orange has great vitamin C and the cinnamon has some believed health benefits as well. (240 calories – 8 g PRO)
• Apples or Bananas with fresh ground almond butter - Using the almond butter as a substitute for regular peanut butter. It cuts out a lot of sugar and it adds protein to your snack. As an afternoon snack for the kids, let them decorate with almonds, sunflower seeds or even some dark chocolate pieces. (260 calories – 8 grams PRO)
• Fruit kabobs in Greek Yogurt – Here again, we are mixing fruit with a source of protein. The kabobs are fun if you are at home, but if you need a simple snack at work, just pack it in your lunch box. (130 calories – 7 g PRO)
• Homemade Trail mix – Store bought trail mix can have a lot of unpronounceable ingredients. Try making your own. Start with your favorite nuts and seeds. Again you can add some dark chocolate chips and maybe some dried fruit. The thing to remember is serving size. Trail mix can pack a lot of great nutrition, but it is calorie dense. (200 calories – 7-8g PRO)
• Homemade protein bars or bites – Simple base recipe is 2 cups of quick oats; 1 cup of local honey; 1 c fresh ground almond butter; 1 cup chia seeds or ground flax seed; 1 cup dark chocolate chips and one scoop of 100 percent whey protein. Optional additions include some dried berries, nuts, or seeds, I have found it best to mix the almond butter and the honey together first. Mix the remaining ingredients together and then combine the two. You can either press them into a pan or create little bite size pieces. They are perfect as an afternoon snack or something to keep on hand for those hunger emergencies. (300 calories – 10 g PRO)