There are many healthy alternatives to your favorite not-so-healthy foods. The food you consume greatly affects your physical and mental health in the long run. To lead a healthy and happy life, good nutrition is essential. While physical activity plays an important role in maintaining your health, you can’t rely on it solely. You have to combine it with good nutrition to experience and enjoy the results.
Research shows that unhealthy eating habits are the major contributors to obesity not only in the US but also around the world. Approximately 33.8 percent of adults and 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese in the United States.
Even if you have an ideal weight, consuming junky food can lead to serious illness and death. Some of the illnesses associated with poor diets include hypertension, heart disease, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes to name a few.
Adult chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension are being seen in children and adolescents today thanks to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain. Dietary habits are not easy to change.
Start Teaching Alternatives Young
A child who is used to consuming junk food is highly likely to continue doing this in adulthood. Therefore, it is important to teach your children how to consume healthy diets as early as you can. By doing this, you’ll help them maintain or improve their health and fitness levels throughout their lives.
It’s easier to start eating healthy today like never before. All you need to do is make a few adjustments and take baby steps for your body to get the nutrients it needs. Today, we are going to discuss ten healthy alternatives to junk food. Let’s get started!
Organic chocolate is way better than white or milk chocolate. Dark chocolate contains nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, and potassium which are all essential in the body. It’s also rich in fiber and full of antioxidants which eliminate free radicals and improve your looks.
Consider consuming frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Ice cream is simply frozen sugar and fat that has been churned. Frozen yogurt contains a low amount of sugar and fat. It also has probiotics which are good for the digestive system. However, you should consume it in moderation as it is high in calories. Consume it with fresh nuts and/or fruits.
Sweet Potato Wedges
Instead of consuming chips, you should go for something healthier and tastier. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and they raise the levels of Vitamin A in blood. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin B6, C, and D which all reduce the risk of degenerative diseases, diabetes, and heart attacks.
Did you know that drinking five pints of beer a week accumulates to 44,200kcal in a year? This is equal to consuming more than 200 doughnuts. A pint of beer contains approximately 180 calories while a single measure of wine contains only 60 calories. Couple this with soda water or lime water and you have a healthy solution. Apart from the calories, red wine is also rich in antioxidants.
There have been heated debates on the health benefits of margarine versus butter. Margarine is lighter and nutritious compared to butter. Instead of using butter all the time, consider baking your cupcakes with margarine.
Instead of consuming crisps, consider swapping it with popcorn. Crisps are full of saturated fats and salts. Since they are usually served in a bowl, it’s difficult to determine how much you’re eating in one sitting.
Instead of putting your health at risk, replace them with popcorn. The best thing about popcorn is you can cook it at home and measure the amount of salt you need. Popcorn is packed with antioxidants and fiber. It’s also low in calories.
While cakes are delicious and addictive, they aren’t healthy. If you want to give them up, consider whole wheat banana bread. It is rich in magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It also contains lots of fiber. Or better yet, try this recipe using protein powder!
According to NSBroker, consuming sweets that contain lots of sugars is unhealthy. If you are addicted to sweets, consider replacing them with healthy dried fruits such as cherry, mango, and apple to name a few. Dry goji berries are also super healthy and packed with nutrients. Be sure to look for dried fruits that do not contain any added sugars.
A typical pizza contains cheese, thick dough, and salty sausages. While it will help bring joy in your mouth, it’s not healthy. Instead of ordering pizza, consider making homemade pitta pockets. Use whole-wheat pitta bread and fill them with salad and spicy chicken for a delicious dinner.
Baked Veggie Fries
Instead of consuming French fries, go for roasted veggie fries. Veggie fries have a similar crispy texture just like traditional French fries. Apart from that, they are packed with nutrients that will improve your health and vitality. Put them in your oven for a few minutes and let your taste buds do the rest.
Advantages of consuming healthy Alternatives
- Weight loss: As we said earlier, healthy diets promote weight loss. And this reduces the risk of developing complications such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer which are expensive to treat. Consuming vegetables and fruits regularly will help you maintain your health.
- Strong bones: Healthy diets rich in calcium and magnesium promote strong bones and teeth. These nutrients prevent osteoporosis. Some of the foods rich in calcium include cabbage, low dairy products, legumes, broccoli, and canned fish.
- Better mood: Research shows that there is a link between the foods you consume and your mood. A diet rich in sugar was reported to increase symptoms of fatigue and depression. Some of the foods with loads of sugar include cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, and white bread. On the other hand, whole grains and fruits have a low amount of sugar and this improves overall mood.
- Boosts memory: A healthy diet prevents cognitive decline. Research shows that vitamin C, D, and E, omega 3, fish, and flavonoids boost memory and reduce the risk of getting degenerative diseases.
Change is a Process
You don’t have to change everything about your diet tonight. If you’ve formed a habit of consuming junk food, it’s going to take some time to give them up completely. It’s important to take baby steps during this process.
Start by consuming alternatives to junk foods whenever you can. Also, avoid stocking your house with unhealthy food choices to avoid temptation. If you have children, start teaching them the importance of healthy diets. Since they look up to you, it’s important to walk your talk.
About the Author
Donna James is a high skilled freelance essay writer and proofreader from Michigan, United States who currently works on various projects focused on the IT&C industry. She is interested in everyday development and writes blog posts on various topics, such as marketing and technology.