Everyone loves junk food. Who doesn’t enjoy savoring the taste of a slice of pizza, a handful of fries, or a bowl of multi-flavored ice cream? It’s so tempting to reach for that very tasty but very unhealthy treat.
But wait healthy junk foods? Is there even such a thing as healthy junk food?
Well, let’s see if there is, and let’s see how we can make your favorite foods healthier without compromising on taste? Believe it or not, there are many ways to enjoy your favorite snacks without turning yourself into a human garbage bag. You will find out more about this as you read further.
I know this article will be so darn exciting for many, especially if you’re anything like many who probably have been told that eating a lot of junk food will make you gain weight and feel awful. And, if you’re also anything like those people, you’ve probably ignored that advice and eaten all the junk food anyway—and loved every second of it. 🙂
Well, let’s see how to turn that disobedience into obedience with our list of healthy junk foods. But before all of that, let’s shed some light on what junk foods truly are, and why your body doesn’t need this type of food.
What Is Junk Food?
Junk food is typically defined as high-calorie and low-nutritional value foods, they generally have little nutritional value but lots of calories. They are often called “empty” because they don’t provide much in the way of vitamins or minerals (although there are exceptions).
Examples of junk food include candy, cookies, chips, cake, and ice cream. Other examples are sodas, fast foods, and other foods that do not provide much nutrition. These types of foods may also be high in salt, sugar, or fat which makes them even less healthy for you.
Healthy vs. Junk Food
Foods that are considered healthy are often defined by their lack of junk food ingredients. These foods contain very good nutritional values, and they help the body’s metabolism and growth. They can include fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and other unprocessed sources of protein.
In contrast, foods that are considered to be unhealthy often contain lots of salt, fat, or preservatives—or all three, and as defined earlier, junk foods are high in sugar, fat, or salt with little nutritional value. They include chips, cookies, and candy bars—but also some foods that you may not even consider unhealthy! For example, ice cream made from skim milk or low-fat yogurt with artificial sweeteners could still be considered junk food since they’re high in sugar (which increases calorie intake).
Healthy Junk & Alternatives to Junk Foods
Healthy junk foods are hard to come by. They’re usually overpriced, under-flavored, and loaded with chemicals and preservatives. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find healthy junk food options that will help you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals!
Here are some tasty healthy junk food options that will keep you feeling satisfied while helping you lose weight and stay fit all the way:
Popcorn’s a whole grain food with a lot of fiber. It is a great snack because it’s low in calories, high in fiber, and has a ton of antioxidants! Plus, as long as you don’t eat too much of it at once (which could lead to bloating), popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks around. If you want to avoid all those extra calories from butter or oil (and who doesn’t?), air-popped popcorn is your best bet. Air-popping eliminates all the extra calories from butter or oil—so get ready to crunch away!
- Dark Chocolate
While not technically a vegetable (or even a fruit), dark chocolate contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals caused by stress and pollution, which can damage cells in your body over time if left unchecked by antioxidants such as those found in dark chocolate!
Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than red wine and green tea, which makes it a great way to get your antioxidants on the cheap (or free). It also has magnesium and iron—two nutrients that are essential to maintaining a healthy weight and metabolism.
- Trail Mix
Trail mix is a combination of nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. This is another great snack because it has a lot of protein from nuts like almonds and cashews (which have less fat than peanuts). Plus, trail mix contains plenty of healthy fats which help keep your metabolism running smoothly throughout the day so that weight loss happens more quickly. Try trail mix for lunch instead of chips or cookies from the vending machine at work. You’ll get all of the salty-sweet satisfaction without any added sugar!
Most people think of trail mix as being healthy because it is made up of a wide variety of foods that have high nutritional value, but it can be unhealthy if eaten in excess.
- Granola Bars
Granola bars are usually made with oats and other grains mixed with nuts or seeds like almonds or cashews. You can also find granola bars that contain dried fruit or chocolate chips as well as other types of candy such as M&M’s! Granola bars may seem healthy because they contain whole grains like oats or wheat bran, but they are still high in calories from sugar and fat which can lead to weight gain if eaten too often!
- Fruit Snacks
Fruit snacks are one of the most popular snack options among kids and adults alike. The reason they’re so popular is that they’re delicious and convenient—they make a great snack on the go or in between meals. What many people don’t realize is that fruit snacks are high in fiber, which helps keep you full longer than other snacks. They also contain vitamins A and C, which are essential nutrients that help your immune system work better and fight off illness. Fruit snacks are one of the best healthy junk foods for weight loss!
- Peanut Butter Cups
You can make these at home with just two ingredients: chocolate and peanut butter! These little treats are filled with fiber and protein, so they’ll keep you full for longer than most other candies would.
Nuts are high in healthy fats and protein (and don’t have as many calories as the sugary snacks you’ll find at gas stations or convenience stores). They’re also very filling, so they can serve as a meal replacement if you’re in a pinch.
- Chocolate-covered Almonds
Almonds are full of protein and good fats, which makes them an excellent snack option if you’re trying to lose weight. Plus, when you dip them in dark chocolate (or any other type), they taste amazing!
- Greek Yogurt with Honey or Maple Syrup
Greek yogurt is another great option when it comes to healthy junk food options because it’s high in protein and low in calories (it’s about as close as you can get to eating ice cream without actually eating ice cream). You can make this snack even healthier by adding honey or maple
- Banana Chips
These crispy treats are made from bananas and can be eaten plain or dipped in peanut butter for an extra treat. They’re sweet, crunchy, and satisfying when you need something to munch on between meals.
- Fruit Smoothie
A smoothie is one of the easiest ways to get fruit into your diet without having to eat huge portions of fresh fruit at once! Try blending 1 cup of frozen berries with 1 cup of yogurt for a quick breakfast or snack option that will keep you feeling full until lunchtime rolls around again later that day. If this sounds too complicated for now but still want
- Vegetable Pizza
This vegetarian option has fewer calories than traditional pizza because it doesn’t have cheese or meat on top of it (and if it does have cheese or meat on top of it then make sure they are low-fat options). You can even add vegetables such as tomatoes or spinach to help add extra nutrients into your diet while still getting a delicious meal!
- Celery Sticks with Peanut Butter
This snack is loaded with fiber, which will keep you feeling full longer than other foods. It also helps curb your appetite so that when dinner rolls around, you won’t be tempted by other foods on the table.
- Fruit Instead of Candy
Fruit is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which help fight disease and boost your immune system—a great alternative to processed sweets made with artificial ingredients!
Other good healthy junk and junk food alternatives include; Frozen Yogurt (Zero-Calorie), Avocado Toast (Whole Wheat Bread or Gluten-Free), Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Popcorn, Caramel Apple Muffins, Frozen Grapes with Dark Chocolate Drizzle, Kale Chips with Sea Salt and Olive Oil Dipping Sauce, Yogurt Parfaits, etc.
Healthy junk food can make you feel good about yourself. It doesn’t have to be bland. You can have your cake and eat it too—literally!
Buying Healthy Junk Foods
Buying healthy food is not an easy thing to do at all. We’ve all been there, you’re standing in the grocery store aisle, staring at a wall of candy, chips, and chocolate bars. You know what’s good for you—and you want to eat it! But how do you make sure that the food is good for you? How do you find and make sure you buy healthy junk food?
We’ve got some tips for your next trip to the grocery store:
- Be aware of what’s in your favorite foods. Lots of people think that just because something is “low-fat” or “low-calorie,” it’s automatically healthy. But that’s not always true! For example, some low-fat foods have tons of sodium (which can raise blood pressure). And some low-calorie foods are packed with sugar—which can lead to weight gain if eaten in excess over time (especially when paired with an otherwise unhealthy diet).
- Look at the ingredients list on the front of any food package before making a purchase. If there are more than five ingredients in your favorite candy bar or snack pack, we’d recommend looking elsewhere especially if it contains things like artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives—you should probably put it back on the shelf.—you may be getting more than just calories from those snacks!
- Make sure that any new snacks you try fit within your overall diet plan; don’t go overboard.
- Making small changes in your diet and snacking habits will help you feel better and look great. To begin, you need to make a plan for eating healthier. This could mean stocking your pantry with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
- Don’t forget that even “healthy” foods can be high in calories when eaten in excess (for example nuts). You don’t have to give up all of your favorite treats either; just try substituting them with something healthier by making better choices when snacking!
Health is important, but it’s also hard to maintain. We can’t always give up the foods we love just because they might not be the healthiest option. That’s where healthy junk foods come in!
There’s no need to deprive yourself of the occasional indulgence as long as it is not excessive. The best way to make sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet is by following these healthy junk food alternatives and substituting them into your meal plan. Remember that even though these foods may be healthier for your body, they should still be eaten in moderation because too much of anything can be bad for you!
The takeaway here is the same as above: I want readers to remember what we talked about in this article so they can apply it later on or share it with friends.