By Barbara Bishop
I am always on the run. In the morning, I’m rushing out the door, thinking I’ll grab something heathy. But I never do. I usually don’t eat until lunch. Then, I am so starving that anything quick sounds great. And I’m not talking a few stalks of celery or an apple. Unfortunately, it’s usually junk food. I did some research on “Healthy Junk Food,” found an article about this very topic in Shape Magazine.
I was happy to find a few things I liked on the menu!
Blue M&Ms – Food dyes aren’t the first thing you think of when you think about health. But bizarrely, the blue food dye found in M&Ms (and Gatorade) could be helpful in reducing damage caused by spine injuries, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that when they injected the compound Brilliant Blue G (BBG) into rats suffering spinal cord injuries, it sped up their recovery and ability to walk.
Cheese Whiz – Trans fats are generally a dietary no–no. But one natural trans fat, known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), is an exception; it actually has anti–cancer attributes. Cheese Whiz turns out to have more of this cancer–fighting compound than any regular cheese, according to research.
Beef Jerky – This convenience store staple doesn’t have the best reputation. But beef jerky is actually packed with protein, and it doesn’t raise your level of insulin, a hormone that triggers fat storage. So snack away, especially if you’re watching your weight. Just be sure to choose low–sodium jerky and opt for brands with all–natural ingredients.
Butter – has become a bad word for many diet–conscious folks, but it has redeeming qualities. Studies actually show that the fat in butter helps our bodies better absorb vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K. So let this creamy, rich toast–topper back into your life! Opt for whipped butter to save on calories without sacrificing taste.
Pork Rinds – It’s probably the ultimate down–home, guilty pleasure, but a 1–ounce serving of pork rinds provides a whopping 17 grams of protein – nine times the protein in a serving of regular potato chips. And most of the puffy snack’s fat is oleic acid, which is the same healthy fat you’ll find in olive oil.
Another fat found in pork rinds, stearic acid, is a type of saturated fat that doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels.
Popcorn – Though it’s low in calories, it’s easy to imagine that puffy, white popcorn’s low in nutrition as well. However, this movie snack is full of fiber and has high levels of polyphenols, antioxidants that can protect against heart disease and certain cancers. In fact, research shows that popcorn has the highest polyphenol level of all snack foods.
Salad Dressing – Do you routinely order fat–free dressings? I do. This compromise may cause you to ingest more sugar, which is added to replace the flavor from the missing fat. And thanks to those added sweeteners, even low–fat and fat–free versions can top 100 calories per serving. A bit of fat actually helps your body absorb the nutrients in veggies. So go ahead and grab some regular, full–fat salad dressing, and don’t worry – it’s low in unhealthy saturated fat.
hocolate – If you choose dark chocolate, you’ll be loading up on flavonoids, the heart–healthy compounds also found in red wine and green tea. So go ahead and indulge! A 1.5 ounce dark chocolate bar (the size of a KitKat Bar – all four pieces) will run you about 200 calories; it provides 2 grams of protein, too.
OK, so butter on the toast for breakfast, cheese whiz and chips or a snack, picking through the M&Ms to find the blue ones (I do this already), pork rinds and beef jerky for lunch, dark chocolate as a snack, full fat salad dressing with my dinner salad, and popcorn as a snack!
I can live with this…