7 healthier alternatives to junk food

Perhaps you’ve put on a few pounds or are just feeling tired and listless. If so, your diet may need a bit of an overhaul. If you’re looking to improve your eating habits without sticking purely to raw celery, give the food swaps below a try.

  1. Sweet potato wedges in place of chips. There’s something pretty special about chip shop chips, but they’re also more than a little unhealthy when eaten on a regular basis. Sweet potato wedges are arguably tastier as well as being less fatty, containing high levels of beta-carotene and being rich in vitamins B6, C and D.
  2. Popcorn in place of crisps. Popcorn doesn’t have to be confined to the cinema. Plain or lightly salted popcorn provides a low-fat and filling snack that can be enjoyed between meals or with a on film night with the family. Rich in antioxidants and fibre, popcorn still feels like an indulgent treat.
  3. Sparkling flavoured water in place of fizzy drinks. Plain water is the healthiest thing to drink, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more zing, leave the fizzy drinks on the shelf and opt for a sparkling flavoured water instead. Not only is the calorie count lower, but there should be very few artificial flavourings and colourings, if any. Your body and teeth will thank you for it!
  4. Dark chocolate in place of milk chocolate. Organic dark chocolate with high cocoa content is much less fatty and sugary than milk chocolate, and is packed full of antioxidants. It also contains fibre and a range of minerals including iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Many people also find that they eat it in smaller quantities, which helps to keep the waistline in check.
  5. Frozen yoghurt in place of ice cream. There are some wonderful frozen yoghurt flavours and varieties out there, and many are absolutely delicious. Complete with probiotics, frozen yoghurt is better for the digestive system than ice cream. However, while it’s less fatty and calorific, it still contains a fair amount of sugar, so keep your portions small, avoid adding high-calorie sauces and add fresh fruit to make it more filling and nutritious.
  6. Grilled chicken in place of burgers. If you’re really into your meat you may be reluctant to cut back, but a piece of grilled chicken can provide a tasty alternative to a fatty fried burger. Chicken is low in saturated fat and contains omega-6 fatty acids. It is also high in protein and essential vitamins and minerals, including B6, B12, iron, zinc, and copper. And it’s delicious with sweet potato wedges and a bit of salad or corn on the cob.
  7. Homemade smoothies in place of milkshakes. With endless options to choose from, you can make a really delicious and nutritious drink with a much lower calorie count so long as you own a blender. Experiment with different fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals rather than sticking with the same flavours every day and you’ll never get bored.

You don’t have to make huge lifestyle changes to see a big difference. Make small, sustainable changes, and once they become a habit you can take a step further towards healthy eating if you feel it’s necessary. Drink plenty of water, eat five portions of fruit and veg a day, exercise regularly and don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep. You’ll be feeling better in no time!