Top Things Tuesday- Healthy Alternatives to my favorite junk food!

Have you ever looked at the back of the packages of your favorite processed foods while at the market?

If not, then I suggest you don’t.  Well, just kidding actually.  I totally suggest you do!  You will be shocked I’m sure to see whats inside some of your favorite foods.

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Photo via good housekeeping.com

 I’ve most recently been working on steering clear of processed foods after reading a few of my favorite food labels (SO much chemicals, yikes!).  I’ve got to admit its been tough, but something I feel like is totally essential.

On my quest to eradicate unhealthy processed foods I’ve noticed that I don’t have to eradicate them fully, I can find some healthier alternatives and eat those in moderation.  They may not taste just the same, but eat them a couple of times and they taste the same, if not better than the unhealthy version, PLUS you’ll feel so much better knowing that you’re not putting poison into your body!

Below you’ll find some of my choices for healthier, more natural alternatives to my favorite junk foods, so that you explore some better options and feel better about what you’re putting in your body!

 

JUNK FOOD: REESES

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Photo via hersey.com

HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE: JUSTINE’S

Health Pros: All Organic, Gluten Free, 4g of protein

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Photo via shop.justins.com

I’m a super fan of Reeses & the two peanut butter cups they give just never seem to be enough.  One day I was in Starbucks and saw Justine’s Peanut Butter Cups with white chocolate.  I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate, but WOAH.  These babies give my Reeses a run for their money (Justin’s is MUCH more delish!) and they’re all organic, use rainforest alliance certified chocolate, and are gluten free!  These don’t have less calories or anything like that, but all the ingredients are real and organic and that makes me a fan!

Justin’s peanut butter cups are also available in milk and dark chocolate.

Available at Starbucks, Target, Amazon.com, or click here to purchase from shop.justins.com.

 

JUNK FOOD: CREAMY NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER- JIF

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Photo via jif.com

HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE: JUSTIN’S MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER

Health Pros: Vegan, Gluten Free, & minimal ingredients (just 4!)

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Photo via shop.justins.com

Okay, so if you didn’t guess yet, yes I LOVE peanut butter!  I’ve heard many of horror stories regarding how they let a certain number of small rodents fall into the vats of peanut butter and by health standards its okay as long as its under a certain amount.  This has always grossed me out and stood out in my mind when eating peanut butter and choosing a brand to eat.  So cheap, cheap peanut butter is out of the question for me.  Additionally, for a long time a lot of brands had partially hydrogenated oils in them, which leads to clogged arteries and more! BAD!

Anyhow, I decided to try natural PB and hated it.  Gross, bland, not sweet, just ick.  So I gave almond butter a go.  I have to say I started off with plain almond butter- not a fan.  But then as I was looking for a healthy little snack I saw the cute serving size packages of Justin’s Almond Butter in Maple and Vanilla and decided to give it a whirl.  SO glad I did!  Love them both, but Maple takes the cake for me.  So great and the single serving packs make for a great snack!

Available at grocery store (I went to Stop & Shop) or Amazon.  Purchase single serving size or a jar by clicking here from Justin’s website.

 

JUNK FOOD: JOLLY TIME HEALTHY POP BUTTER- 94% Fat Free

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Photo via jollytime.com

HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE:  LESSER EVIL’S BUDDHA BOWL POPCORN

Health Pros: Organic, Non-GMO, lower calorie, healthy fats, natural ingredients

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Photo via amazon.com

Popcorn has always been a favorite snack of mine since I was a kid.  I love the buttery flavor because I LOVE butter and I love salt too, so its like the greatest snack ever, plus its quite filling.  A couple of years ago my mom brought to my attention that microwaved popcorn is quite bad for you.  For example, the Jolly Time Popcorn above which was one of my go tos contained partially hydrogenated oil and food dye, both horrible.  Additionally, I’ve read the bags contain toxins that seep into the popcorn- gross!

After some recent research I’ve decided that I will never eat microwave pop again, unless forced of course, haha.  At home if we want hot popcorn we make it on the stove with olive oil, but since I’m not home often and just love snacking on popcorn I had to find a healthy alternative.  I just happened upon Lesser Evil’s Buddha Bowl Avocado popcorn at Homegoods one day and it sounded delish, plus it had minimal ingredients, used healthy organic oils, and organic, non-GMO popcorn.  Since then I’ve had all the flavors and they’re all great!  The coconut oil and avocado oil are my favorites though!

Purchase Buddha Bowl Popcorn Here

Also available on Amazon.com

 

JUNK FOOD:  COFFEE-MATE CREAMER (or any other artificial creamer!)

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Photo via itsamommysworld.com

HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE: SO DELICIOUS DAIRY FREE COCONUT MILK CREAMER

I purchased French Vanilla, but they also have Hazelnut & Original.

Health Pros: Dairy Free, organic, non-GMO, kosher, & vegan 

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Photo via sodeliciousdairyfree.com

One of my most recent switchovers has been my change in coffee creamer.  I’m a die hard lover of coffee, so if I’m home I’ll drink anywhere from 2-3 cups a day and flavored coffee is my favorite.  I enjoy going out and buying new coffee ground & coffee creamer flavors to try.

When I went to the market last week I saw that they had Pumpkin Pie creamer and I was like, “YES!”.   Problem was that they only had the sugar-free version, which I knew probably equated to artificial sweeteners and other additional junk.  I decided to skim the label and found that it did have artificial sweeteners and way more junky, chemical ingredients then I would have imagined.  HUGE turnoff.  So I read like fifty other labels of creamers I loved and same junk.  I skimmed the aisle looking for a natural alternative & thought I would be reduced to having to use plain, organic half and half and then I saw this bright and shining star and its my new favorite!  Not only do I feel better drinking it, it tastes better than any other creamer I’ve had.  Win, win my friends.

JUNK FOOD:  ARTIFICIAL ICE CREAM, DIET ICE CREAMS, ETC

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Photo via http://www.dailymail.co.uk

HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE:  BEN & JERRY’S BRAND

Health Pros: Non-GMO, fair trade ingredients, caring dairy products

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Photo via markdhogan.wordpress.com

I’ve saved my favorite junk food for last… ICE CREAM (insert heart eyed emoji here).  Ice cream is my favorite and as I mentioned above many of the brands we see on store selves are in fact ‘dairy desserts’, not ice cream.  My favorite ice cream brand though is by and large Ben and Jerrys.  In terms of health, sugar and fat its not low or anything of that nature, but it does use better, more natural ingredients than many other brands and I also like that the company is socially aware.   I don’t eat ice cream very often, so when I don’t mind a little extra sugar and fat because it makes it taste great and I’m not putting junky chemical ingredients in my body like the ones you’d find in low fat, low sugar dairy dessert ‘ice cream’.

My favorite flavors for Ben & Jerry’s is Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale Ice Cream.  Its tough to find, but its the best, so its worth the hunt!  I got it at Target, where you can find other special flavors too.  I also love good ole fashion Cookie Dough, but if neither of those are your taste, no worries!  They’ve got every awesome flavor you can think of A-Z!  Click here to view all flavors.

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Photo via benjerry.com

You can purchase Ben & Jerry’s at any local supermarket, Target, or I’m sure many convenience stores or visit a local Ben & Jerry’s store!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my picks for healthier alternatives!  I understand that we can’t always avoid artificial foods because sometimes we’ve just got to eat, or its convenient, but I hope this post has got you thinking and the next time you go to pick something up you flip over to skim the ingredients!

Feel free to share some of the recent healthier alternatives you’ve switched to in the comments below!

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