Monday, April 11, 2011

Junk Food Alternatives

This week, instead of having two unrelated posts, I want YOUR input on your junk food alternatives. When you crave a Frito, do you reach for an apple? Do you make your own potato chips or fries? If you want a burger, does a chicken sandwich suffice? Better yet, do you use local ingredients for your alternative?  Send me your options, your tricks for eating better and your healthy recipes. I’ll post all ideas I get on Thursday as well as the easiest, most local recipe I receive. Make sure to leave your name, location and tip in the comments of this email or on Facebook under the notification for this post.

What's my weakness? Granola bars. I realize this isn't really junk food but have you ever looked at the ingredient list? Unless you spend $6 a box for Kashi bars, there are a lot of ingredients I’ve never heard of and probably don’t want to know about. So I found this easy recipe on the Food Network website to make my own granola bars. My project this week will be to try them and let you know how they turn out in Thursday's post.

Easy Granola Bars (v, <5%, LPO)
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit (any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries)
  1. Grease a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish
  2. Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350 (turn once or twice to bake on all sides)
  3. Combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat
  4. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved
  5. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300
  6. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine 
  7. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool completely
  9. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week

So send me your junk food alternatives. It doesn't have to be a recipe or other complicated option, just how you avoid high-fat, high-salt snacks and meals by choosing fresh, local or just plain healthier foods. Check back on Thursday for other people's healthy, local options!


  1. I try to eat celery and carrots instead of fatty snacks. If you really want to snack on a chip style goody, try vege chips.
    Of course, drinking water instead of eating anything is best..


    NYTimes has guilt-free desserts this week! I really don't snack, but if I'm craving something like a cheeseburger the first step I take is to make it at home (that way I know what's in it.) Otherwise, I try for moderation. :)

  3. Hummus. Lots of it. :-)