As we are being kept in our homes as the pandemic progresses, many people might find themselves putting on a few pounds. As it can be hard to do proper exercise for some people since they can’t get to a gym, they are going to need to find other ways to keep their weight in check.
This can be especially hard if people are used to their main form of activity being walking around. Either to work or to school I know many people whose only form of exercise was walking before the lockdowns started.
Now with the pandemic, they just seem to hang around. Unsure what to do so they scroll through Instagram, or try an online Vegas casino, or play video games. But they don’t have that exercise they were used to.
Since weight gain and weight loss is a delicate balance between calories in, and calories out, we have a nice solution to our problem. Since we cannot use exercise to bring the number of calories we burn above how many we consume, we just have to consume fewer calories than we burn!
Now, I know this can be very difficult for many people. Many people find it very challenging to not feel full during the day. It can be hard to push off those cravings for sweet or salty foods. Foods are packed with calories and all sorts of unhealthy fats and preservatives.
Now, how do we decide what makes a snack a good alternative for its unhealthy counterpart? Well, there are going to be quite a few requirements they are going to need to fulfill to be right.
The first requirement is they have to be similar to the food they are trying to replace. They need to scratch that itch for the desire for that food. This means they have to have a similar texture, flavor, or style to them.
The second requirement is that the replacement has to obviously be more healthy! You can’t just replace one kind of unhealthy with another kind of unhealthy. There can be some wiggle room in this, but that will be dealt with as it comes up.
The final requirement is that it has to be filling. You need to feel like you have eaten a lot of calories, even if you haven’t. If you are hungry all day, you are going to be more likely to dip back into the snack cabinet and relapse.
But, without further adieu, here are some great and healthy alternatives to some popular snacks and junk foods! We’ll start it off simple, and get harder as we go!
Sodas and Soft Drinks
Everyone likes a good glass of cold cola, or maybe root beer, or whatever other drink you like on a hot day. So, it’s no surprise that they are first on this list!
Not only are soda and soft drinks very common beverages, but they are also some of the most unhealthy things you can consume that are regularly consumed by many people. This is for a couple of reasons, and you would be better off without them!
The first reasons soft drinks and sodas are worse for you than other kinds of junk foods is because they are liquids. As a liquid, it is a lot easier to drink 500 calories worth of Mountain Dew, than it would be to eat 500 calories worth of food.
The second reason soft drinks and sodas are so unhealthy also has to do with them being liquids. Soft drinks and sodas are able to dissolve a lot of sugar in them! If you ever looked on the label of a coke bottle, you would know just how much they can pack in there!
I can certainly tell you that if you had all that sugar in a pile in front of you, you would have a much harder time eating it than you would drink it. This makes you able to consume a lot of calories very quickly.
The final reason sodas, in particular, are unhealthy, has to do with their acidity. Drinks like cola and sprite are quite acidic. This means that they could seriously harm your teeth if you are constantly drinking them all day.
So, now that we have gone over the problem with sodas and soft drinks, what are some alternatives? Well, the most simple one is water. Water is simply the best liquid you could drink. It has zero calories and is simply the best thirst quencher on planet Earth.
Now, what if you really need that splash of flavor? That nice refreshing citrus taste? Well, that is where we get into making your own sodas. Except, you control the ingredients, so you control how healthy they are!
From personal experience, I can tell you that seltzer with real lemon juice is one of the best drinks I’ve ever had. It is simply so refreshing and citrusy and it just has the right punch to it!
I found it didn’t even need any sugar! The simple hint of lemon was enough to give it flavor, and I thoroughly enjoyed drinking it full of ice! It’s low calorie, and it tastes great! It will also have that carbonation that you may want, and a bit of acidity like soda does.
Now, you may want to be careful about drinking this all the time. Because it has citrus fruit juice in it, it will make the drink acidic. So, if you are chugging down glass after glass, you may find that it could damage those pearly whites of yours!
Ah, the potato chip. What a wonderful invention of mankind. Crispy, salty, potato-y. Basically everything you could want to be rolled up in one delicious starchy package.
So, what could possibly replace these delicious crispy treats? Well, it’s gotta be something similar. Something with crunch, and is chip shaped… Something that will taste good, yet be healthy.
The obvious answer that comes to mind is kale chips. Kale chips?! What kind of answer is that?! You are replacing my starchy goodness with rabbit food! It is an outrage! A scandal!
Well, hold your horses there buddy! Yes, I agree, it is not exactly the same. It will have some drawbacks to it, but there are also a lot of great pros to them!
Firstly, kale is mostly cellulose. This means that it is made up of fiber, which is indigestible to humans. So, you could eat a whole bunch of these suckers and not gain a pound!
The second advantage is that they are crispy! Kale chips are made by seasoning, oiling (with olive oil of course), and baking kale leaves until they become crisp. This means that like a potato chip, you will be getting that satisfying crunch you probably want.
Another advantage is that you can season them however you want! Feeling classic? You can just go with salt and pepper! Want something a little more exotic? Add some garlic powder and curry powder. The sky’s the limit really. Or, perhaps your spice pantry.
Candy is a delicious treat like no other. It is sweet, sour, and just simply good! Candy is something that most people can agree is a great tasting snack!
However, that doesn’t make candy healthy. Being literally made of sugar, candy’s calorie count is going to be through the roof! So, you are going to want to definitely find an alternative if you are a big sweet tooth.
The first great alternative is berries. Berries are a great substitute for your sugary candies because they have a few similarities.
First of all, the berries are sweet. This does bring the problem that you won’t want to eat them in excess either, but because of another factor, they will be a better choice for you!
And what, exactly, is that factor? Well, berries have a good amount of fiber in them. Strawberries in particular are loaded with fiber. This means that they will make you feel full faster than a bag of candy will. This will lead to you not overindulging and instead eating a proper amount.
Another advantage berries have is that they have vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep on keeping on! These include vitamin k and vitamin c, along with many others.
One final great thing about berries is that they contain antioxidants! This means that along with their vitamin content, they can possibly help prevent cancer, and keep you healthy and strong.
Chips and Dip
Chips and dip are a classic staple of any party or get together. The sour creamy goodness is just wonderfully delightful with the salty crunch of the chip.
Now, I have already given an alternative for chips, but what about dip? Being made of dairy fat means that sour cream is going to be very calorie-dense. In fact, fats are several times more calorie-dense than carbohydrates!
Carbohydrates are probably still worse for you because they are simple and easy to break down, so don’t let that fool you. But, fats such as saturated fats and hydrogenated trans fats aren’t great for you for other reasons. But, I digress.
Now, there are two main replacements for a dip that I can think of. The first is hummus! Hummus is a great substitute for a dip, as it is high in fiber, plant protein, and good unsaturated fats such as olive and sesame oil.
Hummus just tastes great too! Being made of chickpeas, hummus is a healthy and delicious alternative to dip that can serve the same purpose. It goes great with veggies and crackers. So, it might be worth a try!
The second obvious replacement for sourcream dip is guacamole. Now, just like hummus, it may be wise to eat this in moderation. However, being made of avocado, guacamole has some great nutrition facts going for it.
The first thing is that guacamole contains lots of healthy fats. Avocado is full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which are monounsaturated fats. These are great for you as they can lower your risk of heart disease.
Avocados are also high in many other nutrients such as B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. This combined with the fact that if you make your own guacamole you can control what goes into it makes it a great alternative to sour cream dip if you wanna stay healthy!
Chocolate bars are a staple junk food. Chocolate is a favored food around the world, and it is easy to see why! It has a deep and rich flavor that other foods don’t really come close to matching.
Now, this may sound really strange, but my recommendation for a healthier version of a chocolate bar is chocolate! This may be confusing to you, but let me explain what exactly I mean by this.
First, what makes an off the shelf chocolate bar bad for you? The simple answer is the sugar they add to it! The caramel, or nougat, or whatever else is inside also helps to bump that calorie count up.
Now, when I say to replace your favored chocolate bar with other chocolate, I am specifically referring to dark chocolate. There is a reason for this, and it will help keep you healthy and slim!
The first reason is that dark chocolate simply has a lot less sugar in it than a chocolate bar like Snickers, Twix, 3 Musketeers, or whatever other favored candy bar you enjoy. This means that the bulk of the calorie count in a dark chocolate bar is from the cocoa butter!
Since cocoa butter is a fat, it’s calories are not going to be as easily accessible as with simple sugars and carbohydrates. So, that calorie count may look high, but the amount of calories your body can actually absorb is not going to be as high.
Don’t forget, a calorie is just a unit of measurement. It is a measurement of how much energy is stored within a specific food or object. It is just like how gasoline may have approximately 7 million calories per liter, but you aren’t going to be able to use most of those if you drink it.
In addition to that, the dark chocolate of a high percentage may have another advantage to it. Because it has such a strong and rich flavor, you probably aren’t going to want to eat an entire bar of it in a single sitting. This probably means that you won’t eat as much of it, but you will still get to enjoy the chocolate you wanted!
Finally, chocolate is actually healthier for you than you might think. Dark chocolate that is high in cocoa actually has a pretty good nutrition label. It is high in fiber and other nutrients like vitamins and minerals that you may not have expected. It is also high in antioxidants, so could possibly also help you prevent your risk for cancer!