You’re hungry, but dinner is still two hours away. You head to the kitchen in search of a snack, and what do you find in the cabinets? Processed foods high in calories and low in nutritious goodness? Or healthy, low-fat options for optimal health and weight loss?
Whatever you’re craving—whether salty, sweet, sour, or savory, there are alternatives to junk food.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on healthy alternatives to replace the junk in your kitchen. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Salty and Savory
If you’re in the mood for potato chips, beef jerky, or microwave popcorn but want to cut back on sodium, trans fats, and empty calories, there are healthy alternatives. Go with tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole, turkey jerky or low-sodium beef jerky, or unroasted and unsalted mixed nuts.
You can also opt for air-popped popcorn seasoned sparingly with salt and low-fat butter, raw vegetables dipped in hummus (it’s good—promise!), low-fat, whole-wheat crackers with pesto sauce, or flavored rice cakes.
The Sweet Stuff
When you’re hungry for a handful of cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth, the thought of raw veggies may cause you to ditch your best dieting efforts. Don’t lose heart, there are plenty of healthy sweet snacks. If your diet is most in danger because of candy, cookies, and cakes, you’re not alone. Craving a sweet snack or wanting to finish your meal with a sweet taste in your mouth are common desires. But don’t give up your diet yet! You can still have that sweet taste from healthy foods.
So keep the candy bars, ice cream, and soda pop out of the house and replace them with the following:
- Greek yogurt mixed with fruit slices, berries, or honey
- naturally sweet fruits such as apples, bananas, or grapes
- small pieces of dark chocolate
- dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, apricots, or dates
- low-fat frozen yogurt or soft serve yogurt
- granola bars or energy bars (be careful that you don’t eat too many of them if you’re not working out)
- sparkling water with a splash of 100-percent juice
Sour or Bitter
If your taste buds are craving something tangy and tart, you don’t have to tiptoe to the candy jar. Learn how to redirect your cravings by picking up healthier alternatives. What healthy options are at your disposal? Great question. And here’s the answer.
You can go with…
…a handful of frozen cranberries,
…a green apple or apple slices that have been soaked in lemon juice,
…lemon or raspberry Greek yogurt,
…a homemade cherry slushy in lime juice,
…salad spritzed with raspberry vinaigrette dressing,
…citrus fruit such as an orange and grape fruit,
…or low-fat, whole-wheat crackers with Feta cheese or Brie.
Make the Switch
By now, you should be convinced that there it’s possible to trash your unhealthy foods and go for something healthy and tasty at the same time. Maybe you’re even inspired! To make the switch a success, you’ll need to create a plan. Get a piece of paper and write down your weight loss and health goals. Then write down all the health reasons for why you should avoid junk food (lose weight, lower cholesterol, control blood pressure, keep your heart healthy, control your blood sugar, etc.) and post them on your fridge or inside a cabinet door to remind you and stay motivated.
And remember: an indulgence every once in a while is okay. Attempting to completely eliminate your favorite foods from your diet may result in binge eating or overindulging when you get the chance. Don’t feel guilty about that candy bar you had yesterday or the chips you ate at lunch, but just remind yourself that those are rare occasions and then get back to your healthy diet. So eat them when you must, but do your best to limit the times you must eat them!
If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.
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