Bad Foods Gone Good
By: Jenny Ho, Grade 11
Living in North America, we are blessed to have a wide variety of food choices. However, many foods have a bad rep, better known for its high fat, sugar, sodium or calorie content or not to mention its low nutritional content. Depending on some of the choices we make, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to these foods.
Meat: Protein from meat is found in almost all meals we consume. Try choosing foods made with leaner cuts of meat – this means most of the fat and skin is removed. Stay away from anything that is heavily coated in thick sauces/creams. Also, try to eat less meat that is coated in a batter, and then deep fried; it soaks up a lot of excess oil.
Chocolate: Who can resist chocolate? It’s always been known as a heart attack in a wrapper – that is, if we eat too much! Regular chocolate bars found in convince stores are chock full of sugar and other additives (whose names I cannot pronounce). A better alternative is dark chocolate, which has tons of antioxidants, and more cocoa content. Dark chocolate has less sugar and fat, which is usually added to cheap chocolate. To consume, melt the chocolate over a double broiler. With the melted chocolate, coat fruits, such as strawberries and bananas. Then let it harden in the refrigerator. This way, you’ll still get a satisfying portion of chocolate, and enjoy some nutritious fruit.
French fries: Golden, crispy, deep fried potatoes are best eaten when piping hot and dipped into a pool of ketchup. It is known for its taste and also its dangerously high sodium and fat content. To curb the salt craving, try having a baked potato with a small dollop of low-fat sour cream. Or, you could even make homemade oven-baked French fries, without adding too much salt.
Pop: With the warmer months ahead of us, cold and sweet drinks are very popular. Many popular soft drinks, such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Sprite, Crush, and Canada Dry, have A LOT of sugar. One 355mL can have about 39 grams or so of sugar, which amounts to about 9 teaspoons. So, instead, try having pure fruit juice, or even just water. As an added bonus, try flavouring a regular glass of water with some fruit in it. Side note: don’t think diet sodas are any better than regular ones! Most are flavoured with aspartame or Splenda, an artificial sweetener. It’s not a healthier choice, and it tastes awful, too.
To conclude, it is pretty much impossible to avoid all the “bad” foods for the rest of our lives. Summer is just right around the corner, and when there are Starbucks and hot dog stands everywhere, it’s hard not to fall into temptation. We can always make healthier choices, by asking for smaller portions, less sugar/salt to be added, etc. However, it’s not a bad to indulge once in a while, as long you overall maintain a balanced diet and exercise regularly. So get out into the sun, go for a run along the seawall, and enjoy your Grande green tea frappuccino.