Healthier ways of eating ‘junk food’

Sometimes we all need a bit of comfort food. If you are craving crisps, chocolate, cake or the like, here are some healthier alternatives you may want to try!

Crisps

Vegetable crisps are a really tasty way to get a wider range of nutrients than your regular potato crisp. You can buy them pretty easily nowadays, or you can make your own. I like to make my own because I love to cook, and you have greater control over what you make!

How do you make your own? Well, just take some root vegetables such as beetroot, sweet potato, parsnips or carrots. You don’t need much to make some crisps. Preheat the oven to about 200c. Slice very thinly, perhaps using a peeler. Dry the slices and put into a bowl so you can sprinkle them with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Lay the slices out on a single layer on a baking tray or baking sheet and sprinkle them with some sea salt, cracked black pepper or any seasoning you wish (why not try a hint of chilli flakes)? Remove them carefully and leave to cool.

I’d cook the vegatables seperately as they each take a different amount of time to cook. Parsnips and carrots take about 4 mins whilst the sweet potato will take up to 7.

Apple/pear crisps are another option. Again, these can be found in a variety of health-food shops and supermarkets, or you could make your own. Make your own by getting some fresh apples or pears, slicing them very thinly across (without peeling or coring), and squeeze lemon juice as you peel to stop the slices from going brown. Throw away the top and bottom slices. You’ll need to preheat the oven to 110-120c, and then spread the slices evenly on a wire tray, baking for 2-4 hours until they are dry and crisp (remember to turn them over halfway through). Why not try making them even sweeter by adding a bit of honey and/or cinnamon?

Chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of the healthiest ways to eat chocolate. It improves your mood and is full of antioxidants. Try to find the darkest chocolate you can for the maximum benefit. If you find it a little bit too strong, try gently melting it in your mouth instead of chewing it. It should help get rid of your chocolate cravings.

Hot chocolate can be made with some pure cocoa powder (again, all the benefits of dark chocolate), milk (dairy or almond) and a bit of raw honey or unrefined muscovado sugar. I take about 1tsp of cocoa powder and add a little cold milk, just a splash, to help dissolve the powder. Mix it up until you get a creamy texture. Then add warm milk, or a mixture of warm milk and freshly boiled water, and finish with the honey/sugar and perhaps a drop of vanilla essence or mint!

Flaxseed and cocoa is another healthy way to get your chocolate fix. Take two tbsp of flaxseed and mix into into rice cereal to make chocolate cereal or a natural yogurt to give it a hint of chocolate. I use this: http://www.linwoodshealthfoods.com/productdetails/13/ground-flaxseed-cocoa-strawberries-blueberries.aspx

Raw chocolate is another option. You can buy raw chocolate at www.rawrchoc.com. Raw chocolate retains even more nutrition as it hasn’t been damaged by cooking, so you absorb even more minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins.

Cakes

Have a look at the kind of cakes you like to eat and see if you can alter the recipes by substituting regular flour for wholegrain/gluten-free (like brown rice or quinoa flour, with added guar gum to help it rise), sugar for raw honey, blackstrap molasses, plain dextrose or unrefined sugar, and margarine for coconut oil or olive oil. You can also have a look around raw food sites for cakes that you don’t need to cook! There really is a whole world of delicious, healthier food out there to explore.

I love to make cakes with peach slices or banana. You can also add in some pure cocoa powder to make it chocolatey.

Another thing I love to eat when I have junk food cravings is brie with grapes (try adding turkey too). You can put it on a sandwich or in a salad. The brie has a creamy, fatty texture and the grapes add sweetness, so it should help kill your cravings for fat and sugar, and will give you more nutrients than a cake will.

Have you got a recipe you’d like to share?

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