A Healthier Approach to National Junk Food Day

A Healthier Approach to National Junk Food Day

15:55 20 July in GreenMarket
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By Paula Detwiller

When was the last time you were seduced by junk food? It’s hard to resist, right? Especially when we’re surrounded by ads promising happiness and satisfaction from soda, fast food, and candy.

But the truth is, junk food is seriously bad for us. Nutritionists warn of a public health crisis in the U.S. brought on by a steady diet of junk food: rampant obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. As America celebrates National Junk Food Day on July 21, we’d like to suggest some healthier alternatives. Here’s how to fight “junk food seduction” with good stuff from Mother Nature.


The temptation: Soda

A better choice:  Cranberry, orange, pineapple or other fruit juice mixed with club soda or bubbly mineral water.

Why:  You’ll be drinking natural fruit sugar and ingesting vitamins and minerals rather than High Fructose Corn Syrup, artificial sweeteners and food dye, all of which have harmful side effects.


The temptation: A fast-food cheeseburger

A better choice: We could say “turkey sandwich,” but who isn’t bored with turkey sandwiches?  Instead, check out these ideas from followers of SeriousEats.com for adding flavorful and healthy ingredients to canned tuna or chicken.

Why: Tuna, chicken, grapes, apples, pecans, hard-boiled eggs—all of those are better for you than a fast-food burger patty.


The temptation: French fries

A better choice: Actual potatoes. Throw a few baby red potatoes in the microwave for a minute or so, and you’ve got fast, nutritious, whole food. Drizzle with virgin olive oil if you need a condiment.

Why: As this comparison chart shows, fast-food French fries are laden with calories, trans fats, and sodium. A entire cup of baby red potatoes contains 140 calories, plus Vitamins C and B6, potassium, and fiber.


The temptation: Sweet, salty, crunchy snacks (think: M&M’s Peanut)

A better choice: Dry-roasted Edamame with Cranberries

Why: Fewer calories and more nutrition. Edamame (boiled green soybeans) are an excellent source of low-fat protein, fiber, and vitamins, while cranberries offer a host of health benefits.