You are more likely to commit sin against your health while eating junk food, right? This is the most common perception about junk food because they are not supposed to be healthy. While it is true that most junk foods are unhealthy, some can be healthy if you consume them wisely. Also know what, these mouthwatering foods also contain some nutrients that are essential for your body?
What is Considered Junk Food?
Your favorite junk foods are basically processed foods that have negligible nutrients and high calories. Usually, they are high in sugar, salt, and fat. Brands make these foods appealing by looks and enjoyable by taste. They trick your mind by offering tempting, delicious food, and you feel an urge for more.
You will find many processed products, including gum, snack foods, candy, sugar desserts, sweetened carbonated beverages, and fried fast food. Most of these foods have little nutrients. Some fast foods also fall into this category.
How Can Junk Food be Healthy?
For instance, junk food can be a good source of folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin Bi2, protein, calcium, iron, and other essential nutrients. Surprised? Of course, you are. All these nutrients are beneficial for your body.
Let’s take the example of Vitamin A. This nutrient can lower the risk of developing lung and prostate cancer, prevent cataracts, and promote healthier skin.
Besides, Vitamin B2 and B6 convert the food into energy and metabolize protein and fats. Moreover, Vitamin C boosts your body’s defense mechanism to protect you from various cancers, including stomach, breast, and mouth cancer.
Other nutrients like folate, calcium, protein, and iron also play a great role in boosting the function of your organs and make your body strong.
So, don’t worry if you are a food lover and crave junk foods, as long as they come with all these nutrients. Enjoy your favorite snack at any time you want, but make sure to eat them in moderate amounts.
You must also have other healthy foods in your diet along with junk food; else, it can be harmful to your health.
Healthy Junk Foods To Tantalize Your Taste Buds
Are you ready to know what type of junk food can be healthy for you to eat? Here are 20 healthy junk foods for someone like you. Read further to pick one junk food for today.
Yes, you read it right. You can enjoy a bite of your favorite chocolate if it contains less sugar. Dark chocolate is one of the most popular junk foods that are also healthy. These tasty treats usually have a low amount of sugar. Furthermore, these bitter chocolates are packed with protein and fiber.
Not to mention, their taste is so intense that you can’t overeat them. So, pick the chocolate bars made from 70% cocoa on your next trip to the market.
These movie night snacks are made from whole grain. Not only these are healthy, but they also make you feel that you have eaten more than you want.
Bring popcorn kernels and make them by yourself. This way, you can decide how much oil or butter you want. The interesting part is, you can experiment with several seasonings to choose your favorite one. Some wonderful toppings are chili powder, cinnamon sugar, and parmesan cheese.
Pretzels are another healthy mouthwatering junk food; they are salty snacks with low-fat. You have a variety of flavors to choose from, such as spicy buffalo wings or honey mustard. The calories can slightly differ from flavor to flavor.
Who can resist the temptation of eating ice cream, especially in cold weather? Well, now you don’t need to.
Ice creams have some beneficial nutrients, such as protein and calcium, which are great for your health. Some of the brands also make it with a higher amount of vitamin B and probiotics. Unless you overeat them, ice creams can be a healthy food for you.
I know, I know. You might be wondering how potato chips can be healthy junk food. Won’t you gain extra fat? That is also true to some extent.
But some potato chips can be healthy for you. The best potato chips that don’t affect your body are free from MSG. This is a common additive that some food brands use. The MSG can cause you allergic reactions, obesity, and headaches.
Angel Food Cake
Who doesn’t love to eat angel food cake with a hot cup of tea or freshly brewed coffee? But you might need to resist yourself, considering its effects on your body.
Well, you need to know that this heavenly dessert doesn’t contain any fat content. These soft delights are made from whipped egg whites, which are beneficial for your body in multiple ways.
Sweet Potato Fries
Don’t judge it by its name. The sweet in its name doesn’t indicate that it has high sugar content. In fact, if you get the chance to choose sweet potato over the white potato, then go for it.
You will gain somewhat the same amount of calories and carbs. But the sweet ones also contain a high amount of Vitamin A and fiber.
So, what are you waiting for? Go to the kitchen and make some delicious French fries.
Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter cups are a homemade snack. But, like all junk food, people usually eat processed varieties that are not healthy. If you make them at home, this junk food turns out to be quite healthy.
Mix some peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and some unsweetened cocoa powder into a bowl. Pour this into cups. Then add some salt on top. Mix the same mixture again without the cocoa powder and pour it over the old mixture in the cups. Refrigerate them. That is all for your savory, nutritious peanut butter cups.
If you are a cookie monster and have a special place for cookies in your heart, pick oatmeal cookies.
Oats are healthy, whole-grain food. The cookies made from whole grain oats are high in fibers and minerals like iron and calcium. For additional health benefits, choose the ones with nuts and dried fruits, as they are rich in fiber, protein, and vitamin.
It may sound “cheesy,” but pizza is incomplete without cheese topping. Not just pizza, it makes every type of food rich and flavorsome.
You can add cheese to your regular meals without worrying. They are a great source of protein and calcium.
Cheese that is hard and aged, such as Parmesan or sharp cheddar, is the best choice you can go for. To add to their benefits, eat them with nuts or fruit. It will give you a boost of Vitamins.
Zucchini bread is the best alternative to doughnuts. They contain a high amount of Vitamins C, Vitamin B6, and potassium.
Select the recipes that include yogurt or buttermilk, and avoid using oil. This way, you can lower the fat content in your bread.
Generally, these junk food aren’t a healthy option because they’re low in fiber and high in sodium, which is no healthy combination.
Whole-grain crackers are a better alternative. These have high fiber content and low sodium content. It is quite the opposite. These, topped with some low-fat cheese, constitute a snack that is tastier and keeps you full for longer.
At first glance, this sweet junk food may look like a healthy option, but in most cases, granola bars are overflowing with added sugars, high calories, and artificial ingredients; certainly not healthy!
Lucky for you: you can just make them at home! It may seem like a lot of labor, but the results are absolutely worth it. As these contain fewer added sugars and salts, they are much healthier than their processed counterparts. Plus, you can also adjust the flavor however you want!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
If there ever was a happy union out there, it would be that of chocolate chip cookies and milk. Whole milk is preferred as it contains all the necessary vitamins and fats. If you’re on a diet, you can use low-fat milk instead.
This is already healthy enough junk food. You can also make the cookies at home using oat flour, nuts, and other ingredients to boost their nutritional value.
This is something you don’t hear about every day. Yogurt pops are the hot new thing right now, and for a good reason. These sweet and sour popsicles contain yogurt and other additions like berries, honey, and loads of fresh fruit.
The appealing factor is how easy they are to make. You could head over to your kitchen and prepare some with yogurt, fruit, and other basic ingredients. According to most, it’s even better than normal ice pops.
Fresh Fruit Juice
It is highly probable that you are among the many people that consume sugary, carbonated drinks on a daily basis. Fruit juices are a good alternative, and it’s best that you extract them at home. You could also add some carbonated water if that habit is too difficult to abandon. It will still be better than a can of soda, though.
Healthy junk food is not easy to come by. Candy apples are a good source of vitamins while also satisfying that obnoxious sweet tooth you might have. Coated with caramel, they are sweet, sour, and much more nutritious than plain old candy.
Like all things healthy, it is better if you make these at home. Store-bought treats are, after all, prone to sugar and salt overloads.
Tortilla Chips and Salsa
It is fascinating how delicious these can be when their preparation requires so little effort. You can easily find some tortilla flatbread at your local supermarket.
All that is left to do is cut them up and fry them. Now, throw some garlic, onions, pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes into a blender and switch it to medium. Add some lime to the finished paste, and your tasty and wholesome snack is ready!
Fried Chicken but Healthier
Let’s face it. At this point, fried chicken could be the spokesperson for fast food, and no one would object. The downsides to eating fried chicken prevent a lot of enthusiasts from doing so. For people like you, this is a perfect way.
Marinate and coat your chicken with flour and spices. Then, brush it with oil and throw it in the oven. Frying is the main thing that leads to such a high amount of calories in the first place. This way, you can elevate it from just “junk food” to “healthy junk food” and enjoy healthy, mouth-watering “fried” chicken whenever you feel like it.
Naturally, the best junk food was saved for last. When we hear about ramen noodles, we tend to think of the instant kind. This junk food is, of course, anything but healthy.
Real ramen is fortunately much healthier, not to mention delicious. Transforming junk food ramen into healthy food requires a bit more effort. Don’t worry though. It’s completely worth it. Making it at home is not only cheaper and healthier; it also allows you to adjust the flavor to your liking.
This way, you can satisfy your ramen cravings with an inexpensive and nourishing treat. You’ll find a variety of ramen recipes out there.
Now you may know that if you wisely choose your healthy junk food, it can actually help your body in many ways. Make sure to eat any of the food mentioned above in moderate amounts.
About the Author
Lori Bogedin is a health and wellness writer and editor of TwigsCafe.com. She is in the restaurant business since 1999. In 2016 she was named one of the "Top Women in Business" by Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal.