Health & Wellness

The Junk Food Alternative


You don’t need to make much of an effort to recognize the poor, sometimes lasting, results of unhealthy eating habits.  High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity are just some of the chronic conditions that can stem from a nonnutritive diet – all of which are at unprecedented levels.  Researchers say the prolific state of these conditions is in no small part due to the intake of processed foods laden with artificial ingredients, rancid oils, and processed salt and sugar.  However, there are enumerable, healthy alternative options to so-called “junk food” that’ll satisfy your cravings without the potentially negative consequences.  Cotton Candy contributor and founder of Body Structure NYC Ginnie Hill gives us a list of healthy, delectable options.

French Fries – Fried potatoes are typically fried in vegetable oils and then loaded with processed salt.  Opt for a healthier choice.  Try recipes for homemade fries where potatoes are cut; seasoned with pepper, healthy Celtic sea salt, and olive oil; and baked rather than fried.

Fried Chicken – Try dipping chicken in a mixture of eggs, a little milk, crushed corn flakes, and then bake.  The result is the crunchy texture and all the flavor of fried chicken without all the unwholesome ingredients.

Pizza – When it comes to a healthier pizza, it’s all about the ingredients.  Make small changes.  Use a thin crust.  Try a tomato base instead of a white sauce.  Choosing olives instead of anchovies can significantly reduce the calorie and sodium content.  For meat lovers, try a small portion of organic, nitrate free chicken sausage or organic, uncured turkey bacon.  There are even gluten-free crusts available for those who are sensitive or have celiac disease.

Cola – Try satisfying this carbonated and sweet combo craving with club soda or seltzer and ¼ of a cup of the fruit juice of your choice.

Potato Chips – Sometimes you just have to have something with a crunch.  Probably the best alternative to potato chips on the market is popchips, which are made using heat and air pressure, similar to popcorn.  They taste better than baked and are healthier than fried.  Like any other potato chip, it’s easy to the let quantity get out of hand, so watch the portion size.

M&M’s – Need a chocolate fix?  Try one ounce of dark chocolate with high percentage cacao (at least 70 percent).  Dark chocolate is linked to many potential health benefits including lowered blood pressure, protection from free radicals and increased serotonin levels.

Twinkies – Twinkies are more of a chemistry experiment than anything that resembles naturally grown food.  Sometimes the cake-like treat stimulates our sweet taste palates and evokes happy emotions.  Try a gluten-free muffin made with coconut oil, organic sugar and a spoonful of whipping cream on top.

Brownies – Brownie mixes are filled with artificial ingredients and hydrogenated oils, which have been linked to diabetes, coronary disease and obesity.  Try a simple Google search for Paleo brownies.  You’ll likely come up with homemade recipes with less sugar and natural and nutritious ingredients, including coconut milk, organic eggs, almond butter and real cocoa.

Buffalo Wings – Wings don’t have to be incredibly unhealthy.   Buy skinless wings from free-range chickens, make a homemade sauce with all of the spicy kick and not all of the sugar, and bake using a little grass-fed butter or olive oil, and then enjoy the game.

Ice Cream – Get your sweet dairy fix with Greek yogurt with a tablespoon raw organic honey and small handful of nuts.  Want indulge in a little chocolate on top?  Replace the nuts with dark chocolate chips.

Final Note: Although the above options are healthier alternatives, remember less is more.  Some of these options are processed foods and should be viewed as an occasional treat, not a dietary staple.  Sometimes addictive ingredients, such processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup, processed salt, toxic oils, and food additives and preservatives stimulate cravings.  But for most of us, these alternatives will do the trick.

Written by: Ginnie Hill

Ginnie Hill, founder of Body Structure NYC, is a certified Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and CHEK Practitioner.  Hill is dedicated to developing highly individualized nutrition, exercise and wellness programs that provide ongoing support and inspiration for each client to meet the desired goals.

Cotton Candy Magazine®