Junk Food VS Healthy Snacks
We definitely know someone who cannot live without having junk food in a day, or you might be that “someone” yourself! But if eating junk food is so bad for us, what makes it so hard for us to resist them?
So, what is junk food? It is a highly processed food with minimal to no nutritional value, but with lots of calories. Taking soft drinks as an example, which have no nutrients but lots of sugars and calories; or like fast foods that may contain some nutrients, but also loaded with trans fat, sodium, excess fat, and sugar. However, we have to admit that junk food is always tastier than healthy foods, giving pleasure to our taste buds. Which makes us choosing junk food over healthy foods eventually. Another reason why we cannot resist junk food is mood. Whenever we are overly stressed, our body releases cortisol hormone which increases appetite, especially for sweet carbs, and thus crave for sweet junk foods.
To avoid junk food, many people look for alternatives for snacking. Instead of taking chips, sweet chocolates, candies, cakes, fish crackers and etc; some may opt for digestive biscuits, bread or energy bar as snacks. It might be true that they are healthier options than junk foods, due to higher nutritional values, but they are still not the best snack options. Let’s first talk about their calories, 3 packs of biscuits, 2 slices of bread and 1 energy bar is equivalent to 1 bowl of rice. Especially energy bars, not only have high calories, some may have a high sodium level, some may use oil palm or butter giving high saturated fat that will increase the cholesterol level.
Here are some suggestions on healthy food for snacking:
- Fruits – Fruits are highly nutritious and contain high soluble fiber. It is recommended to take at least 2 servings of fruits a day to meet our daily requirements. Choose varieties of fruits, pick different colors each time when you snack, for example, you can choose blueberries, strawberries, oranges, apples, kiwis to eat on different days.
- Greek Yogurt – High in protein, a great option for people who want to minimize meat intake or doing a plant-based diet to fulfill their protein requirements.
- Seaweed – high in Iodine which can help in boosting our immune system and thyroid health. Choose seaweeds that are least processed and avoid added salt for healthier options.
- Nuts and Seeds – Nuts and seeds are the BEST snacking options. Most nuts and seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E that acts as an antioxidant. There are many health benefits of consuming nuts and seeds. You can check on our previous articles or our product descriptions for detailed information about them!
- Chestnuts – contain vitamin B complex that will help in increasing our metabolism. It also contains trace minerals, potassium, and magnesium to help In preventing water retention.
It is very common to have snacks when we feel stress, bored, hungry, or when we are watching movies. Often time we couldn’t control our cravings and feel guilty after consuming them. Tip to have guilt-free snacks is to choose foods that are natural, whole or least processed! Be more aware of the nutritional value of the foods you are eating and make sure they are not “empty calories”, the meaning has no nutritional values but only providing energy. Happy snacking!
Written by: Jasmine Lim
(Love Earth Nutritionist)