7 Ways to Improve Junk Food for Better Health

1: Fast Food

Fast foods such as burgers, fried chicken, chips etc. are loaded with saturated fat and sodium (salt). Both of which are major contributors to heart disease.

They also contain Trans fat, which is even worse: It will raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower your useful HDL cholesterol. Food manufacturers include it because it has a long shelf life and will not break down. That is still true inside your body, so it does an extra good job of obstructing your arteries.

Some doctors say there is no real safe amount of Trans fats. So when you next hit the drive-thru, choose a grilled chicken sandwich and hold the fries, replace them with fruit and yogurt instead.

2: Fizzy Drinks

When thinking of quenching your thirst at the drive–thru, remember that soda anddiet soda are linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Many believe that soft drinks are the biggest source of sugar in our diet. Most people forget about their liquid intake when revising their diet. Large quantities of sweet fizzy drinks can cause a jump in your blood sugar and lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, and hardening of the arteries.

Better drink choices are unsweetened iced tea or coffee. But I would also advise avoiding the caffeine too and go with water or fruit juice, but don’t forget the calories in fruit juice, even though it has plenty of nutrients and other benefits.

3: Pizza

Pizza has often been promoted as a healthier choice of fast food, but believe it or not, one slice of extra-cheesy pizza can contain as much as two-thirds of your daily saturated fat allowance. Pizza can be healthy if you top it with veggies instead of pepperoni and sausage and keep the cheese either low fat or much less of it. Include a side salad, and you’re on the way to helping prevent heart disease and strokes.

4: Pasta Alfredo

While we a re talking about Italian food lets have a look at Pasta Alfredo. Huge piles Pasta are bad enough for the waistline, but the Alfredo sauce is much worse. It has only three ingredients, cream, butter, and cheese and can contain 50 grams of saturated fat, which once again raises LDL (bad) cholesterol.

If you love pasta, choose the whole-grain type and keep the serving size down to 1 cup. Use fresh, chopped herbs; vegetables sautéed in olive oil; and lean protein, such as beans or chicken instead of creamy sauces.

5: Submarine Sandwiches

Now Jared may have lost a stack of weight on Subway sandwiches, but if he did, you can bet there were a lot of the ingredients that he was avoiding. The monster sandwich can include up to 6 servings of white bread, a quarter-pound, or more, of cured meats and don’t forget the creamy or sugary sauces.

Researchers have found that eating just one serving of processed meat daily, that’s just one to two slices of deli meat, is associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

To make your sandwich healthy, you need to use whole-grain bread, replace processed meats with roasted turkey or chicken breast and use only low fat, low sugar dressings.

6: Burritos and Nachos

Not all Mexican food is bad for you, but cheese-laden nachos and huge burritos filled with steak, rice, sour cream, and cheese most definitely are.

Once again, choose chicken over steak. Black beans are much better than lard-filled refried beans. Go for brown rice instead of white for more fibre and vegetable condiments, such as salsa and guacamole, in place of sour cream and cheese.

At home, you can replace sour cream with plain, low-fat Greek yogurt. If you don’t trust yourself to make healthy substitutions when eating out, order the sizzling chicken or shrimp fajitas instead.

7: Pancake Breakfast

 

OK this is probably more of an American staple than Australian, but it is served in a number of restaurants and hotels here, so I guess some people are eating pancakes for breakfast at home.

A large stack of pancakes with syrup is just a plateful of refined carbohydrates that will rapidly increase your blood sugar and fill you with harmful triglycerides, which increases your risk of heart disease.

If you binge on white-flour goods you have a greater chance of sudden death from heart attack.

Better breakfast options are a whole-grain muffin with ham and eggs or anything with whole grains and fruit. No artificial sugar or sweeteners and keep your eye on how much of the natural ones that you include.