They say that you are what you eat, and it definitely says something when you classify your favorite nibbles as “junk food!” Despite usually being very high in calories, junk food isn’t exactly the most satisfying. When you eat it, the refined carbohydrates and added sugars spike your blood sugar and insulin. Your “sugar high” will eventually end in your energy levels crashing, leaving you groggy and probably hungrier than you were before. Junk food is also likely to be high in trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol. having high cholesterol increases your likelihood of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, liver, and kidney diseases.
Consuming junk food once in a while doesn’t hurt, but we could all afford to get in more whole foods into our diet and less refined sugars and salt. By making careful adjustments and a few clever swaps, you can turn your regular treat into a healthier one. Here are some ingredients you can use to help you snack smarter:
Can’t seem to quit your soft drink habit? Try infusing your water with fresh fruits and herbs. Not only is it a delicious way to up your hydration, it also contains significantly less sugar and calories than soft drinks or juices. You can use any fruit combination you like, but we enjoy watermelon and lime, strawberry and lemon, mango and pineapple, or cucumber and mint. Place sliced fruit and herbs in a pitcher or large bottle, press down on fruit with a spoon to release juices, then pour four cups of water and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Can’t wait that long? Even popping in a few fruit slices to your water before sipping will give it some fruity flavor!
Avocados are packed with healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids, but did you know that they’re also the secret ingredient for deliciously moist cookies and brownies? Use a cup of ripe avocado in place of a cup of butter when baking! It works beautifully with chocolate, and we promise, you won’t taste the avocado!
Beat the heat by making banana nice-cream! Blend two chopped frozen bananas, a splash of milk, flavoring, and sweetener of your choice (we recommend chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter, or cacao powder and agave syrup). Pour the mixture in a tall glass for a milkshake, or freeze it and scoop it out for some traditional “nice cream.”
If you’re looking to cut down on simple carbs, cauliflower will be your new best friend. The surprisingly versatile vegetable serves as a low-carb stand-in for everything from rice to pizza crust! Craving Chinese take-out? Try making stir-fry cauliflower rice or even breaded Kung Pao cauliflower.
Text by Cristina Sebastian.