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Apr 20, 2021

Everybody loves a little bit of junk food. Not only is it just plain delicious, it’s also fast, easy and really accessible these days with delivery apps and drive-throughs. It’s also thought of as a lot cheaper.

However, these foods are more often than not packed with a ton of inflammatory oils, food colourings, additives, salt and sugar. These types of ingredients, when consumed frequently, can lead to medical conditions such as unwanted weight gain, diabetes, brain fog, acne and/or breakouts, sleeping problems, immune deficiencies and metabolic syndrome – the list goes on and this really isn’t a lecture.

But it’s not only the long-term effects on our bodies that we need to be aware of. Consuming these foods can also affect our present, physical state of being – mind, body and soul – leaving us feeling bloated, sometimes nauseas and even sluggish. They also don’t fuel our hard-working minds and bodies with the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they need.

Okay, so we know that you get the picture and that you may have heard all these things before. We also know that eating healthy can be rather expensive. However, choosing healthier alternatives to your favourite junk foods doesn’t always have to be expensive.

Instant noodles

Anything instant, more often than not, is high in trans-fat, and loaded with salt and additives. Try swapping them out for healthier alternatives like wholewheat, sweet potato, or spinach noodles, and get creative with what you add to your bowl of deliciousness!

Chips

Potato chips and fries are loaded with inflammatory oils, unhealthy fats and additives – it’s why they taste so good! Our suggestion for potato chips is to opt for veggie chips or unsalted nuts instead. For the fries, try choosing to oven-bake sweet potato fries and then lightly salt them.

Fizzy drinks

Ahh… there is no better sound than cracking open a can. Unfortunately, they’re filled with plenty of preservatives, inflammatory sugars and food colourings. Our thoughts? Try swapping the cans of sugar for sparkling water with a dash of sugar-free water enhancers. Or, if you’re looking for something even healthier, try lemon or lime. Sometimes, even homemade iced teas will quench your thirst.

Ice cream

While ice cream really is an all-time favourite treat, having it daily is not such a treat on your body. We suggest that you try plain Greek frozen yogurt mixed with berries and honey instead, or you could even try adding dark chocolate chips. If you know you don’t do well with dairy, alternatives like freezing zero-additive fruit juices to make your own sorbet may just do the trick.

Cereal

Coco this and strawberry that – starting your morning on a sweet note doesn’t add much nutritional value (or sweetness) to your day. These, contrary to what may be stated on the box, are filled with sugar, very little vitamins and very little fibre. They also create fluctuations in our blood sugar levels and leave us with feeling hungry just a short while later. Instead, try to choose raw, rolled oats or muesli. These contain high levels of fibre and protein.

Chocolate

Oh chocolate! While we’d never even dare suggest there is an alternative for these slabs of heaven – or for that matter, cut it out entirely – we do suggest opting to change your favourite choccie-bar for 70%+ dark chocolate. Here’s another idea: You could even melt it to pour over sweet strawberries or almonds.

Remember, making healthier food choices doesn’t always mean breaking the bank or never touching your favourite go-to order of junk food ever again. It just means making a conscious decision to feed your body with more of the good stuff and, of course, keep your belly fuller for longer.

Oh, and please don’t forget to take those vitamins!

Bestmed is proud to be associated with Dr Christo du Preez, who received his MB ChB in medicine from the University of Pretoria. For more valuable tips on physical and mental health, tune into the Tuks FM Wellness Segment podcast, where various topics are discussed in an open and compassionate setting.

Bestmed members on plans Beat4, Pace1, Pace2, Pace3, Pace4 and Pulse2 may claim for over-the-counter vitamins or supplements from their annual over-the-counter benefit. 

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