Healthy junk food may sound like an oxymoron, but some notorious eats are more wholesome than you think. Learn which of your favourite types of junk food are rich in nutritional value and low in calorie count so you can say hello to guilt-free snacking.
Turns out that bacon is not necessarily the deadliest item on your breakfast plate. While the fact that it’s processed and oozing with oil may make it seem like it’s devoid of nutrients, that’s not entirely true. Bacon is high in monounsaturated fat, the same type of fat found in olive oil that’s generally described as heart-healthy. That being said, it also contains a small amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are considered bad fats. Bottom line? Bacon may not be the healthiest type of meat, but in addition to being high in protein, it does contain some nutritional value.
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One of the least devilish desserts, meringue is only comprised of two main ingredients: egg whites and sugar. Meringues are gluten-free and when made fresh, are often entirely natural. Try them pierced with dark chocolate chips for a light and satisfying treat.
Potato chip cravings are some of the hardest to curb, but there are healthier ways of getting your fix than downing the nearest bag of Doritos. Baked chips are the best option, but if they don’t quite curb your craving, look for chips fried in healthy oil, like sunflower oil or soy oil. Be sure to opt for chips labelled low-sodium and avoid those high in hydrogenated fats.
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Most of us swore off beef jerky as soon as we realized that it’s packed with preservatives and sodium, but recently a healthier version of the savoury snack has surfaced. Look for beef jerky labelled “all-natural." It's lower in sodium and preservatives and contains a high amount of protein, making it an acceptable in-between-meals snack when consumed in moderation.
Angel Food Cake
With no butter or fat, light and airy angel food cake is a gift from above when it comes to calorie count. While it’s still high in sugar, it’s by far the healthiest type of cake. Pair it with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream for a guilt-free dessert.
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Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes are higher in fibre and lower in carbs than their beige-coloured counterpart. While they’re certainly healthier than regular French fries, the store-bought varieties are still packed with preservatives. Up the health factor ten-fold by making them from scratch. Simply cut sweet potatoes into wedges and bake them instead of frying them.
While loading up on sauce is generally a nutritional no-no, the rule eases up a little when it comes to ketchup. The low-calorie condiment contains only 15 calories per tablespoon and it’s high the antioxidant lycopene and vitamins A and C. While natural and organic versions of ketchup are harmless, some brands add dangerous ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup. Either way, it still wins in terms of health-value when compared to other condiments and sauces.
Before you pick up that bag of M&Ms, note that we’re not talking about the sugar-packed varieties with candy-coatings, chewy fillings and the like – we’re talking about plain, pure chocolate. Dark chocolate’s antioxidant-rich nutritional value has been well documented so it’s always the best choice, but if you find it too bitter, opt for almost-as-healthy milk chocolate that’s either plain or pierced with nuts or fruit.
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