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Healthy Alternatives to Junk Food

 It’s summer here in America! Wherever you are, celebrate by kicking your unhealthy habits and eating some feel good food to keep your energy up for what this summer/winter has to bring you.

1. Trail mix in place of candy. Make sure your trail mix only contains whole ingredients, like nuts and dried fruits.

2. Kale chips in place of chips. (By the way, sometimes I prefer these over actual chips!) Remove the stems from the kale and tear the leaves into large pieces. Wash them and make sure to dry every leaf before going onto the next step. Heat up some coconut oil and massage it into the leaves. Remember, with oil, a little goes a long way. Sprinkle some sea salt, garlic powder, and paprika onto the kale – really, you can put whatever seasonings you desire! I like a little bit of chili powder on mine. Spread the kale onto a baking sheet and bake them at 300 for 10 minutes before flipping them and baking them again for around 10 – 15 minutes. The chips aren’t supposed to taste burnt, by the way, or soggy (I speak from experience). By baking and flipping them in between, they should come out perfect.

3. Pita chips and hummus instead of chips. Buy some multi-grain pita chips and hummus. You can also eat hummus with carrots and bell peppers. Find your favorite hummus and it’ll stay your favorite for a long time – mine is red bell pepper hummus.

4. Greek yogurt in place of ice cream. When choosing a flavor (my favorite is vanilla) watch out for the sugar and protein intake. Look for the sugar intake to be (around) below 10, and the protein intake above 10.

5. Frozen bananas in place of ice cream. Since I love ice cream so much, I’ve found a few substitutes for it. First, freeze one large spotty banana into evenly chopped pieces, then pulse them together in a blender. Keep blending until the last bits of the banana smooth out, resembling ice cream. You may have to take breaks and scrape the sides of the blender. You can add peanut butter or chocolate chips when you’re almost finished blending. Then, eat away! Or, you can freeze it again like traditional ice cream.

6. Carrot fries in place of potato fries. Simply slice carrots into shapes like those normal, salty fries you see at fast food places. Heat your oven to 425 before placing those sliced carrots into a big bowl.  Combine sea salt and coconut oil to spread around the carrots. Place them on a pan and let them bake for 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. I like to make a bulk size to keep in the refrigerator when I get hungry. I simply heat them up later on and enjoy!

7. Stovetop popcorn instead of bagged popcorn. It’s easy and quick to pop your own corn for a snack. You can add cilantro, sea salt, chili pepper, garlic pepper or anything else you’d like.

8. Water and fruit in place of soda. If you haven’t already, try to stop drinking soda! It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made and maybe this summer, that can be one of your goals. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add strawberries, lemons, or cucumbers to spruce it up.

Words by Emilia O. // Photography by Lindsey Pemberton.

© 2015 Reef Magazine.


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