The Wholefood Approach
Today we talk about Junk Food – and the ways you can still enjoy treating yourself but in a way where you are still nourishing your body.
Junk Food is usually nutrient poor and calorie rich, meaning the food doesn’t contain many nutrients but has a lot of calories from ingredients such as sugar, salt and fat. Consuming these types of food actually have a double consequence – one of which is that the food doesn’t nourish your body like wholefoods do, and the second is that when you consume these foods you therefore forgo the nutrients that you could have got from a healthy meal. As these unhealthy junk food meals and snacks are highly processed, they tend to be harder for the body to digest, which is why people typically don’t feel good after consuming them. There is a reason why it’s called Junk Food!
So why do we love these foods so much?
The reason why some people love junk food so much is because it contains addictive properties. All the sugar, fats and salt that is added leaves you wanting more. And each time you eat these foods, your body gets use to the ingredients so your body starts craving these foods. It also means each time you eat these foods, you actually start to feel good temporarily because you have satisfied both a physical and emotional craving. It certainly doesn’t help that these foods are cheap, convenient and we are constantly reminded of them through advertising.
Everything in Moderation ?
We often hear this phrase ‘everything in moderation’. The idea is that if you eat these foods from time to time, it is not so bad. However, the biggest problem with this phrase is it’s extremely difficult for these foods to be eaten in moderation, and in fact many of these foods are designed to NOT be eaten in moderation. As explained above, they are loaded with sugar, fats and salts which leave you wanting more. They are very calorie dense and they are also low in nutrients, including fiber so you don’t realise you are full until you are well past the point of being full. This means you overconsume on calories very easily with junk food.
The good news is this does not mean you need to give up eating these types of meals. Typical junk food meals like burgers and pizza can not only be delicious but also nourishing for your body. The key is to avoid the highly processed ingredients. It is also always better to make these types of meals at home, so you know exactly what you are putting into it.
Who doesn’t love a burger?! Soft bun with a variety of fresh ingredients, a flavourful patty and a nice sauce to top it all off. There are loads of healthy burger recipes to try that are packed full of nutrients. Use a wholemeal bun, add some fresh salad, make a delicious patty and squeeze some sauce on top – you can also add some cooked veggies like onion and mushrooms! Remember the burger from the Dinner recipes. If you haven’t had a chance to make this yet, give it a go.
This is another food that people love, but also associate with being unhealthy. However, by using nutrient-rich ingredients, you can easily turn a junk food meal into a delicious, healthy meal. So what’s better than ordering pizza from a shop – homemade pizza of course! Not only can you select the best ingredients but you can tailor it to suit your tastes – and each member of your family can make their own! Steps to making a great pizza:
1. The Base
Where possible, make the dough yourself using wholemeal flour (store bought pizza bases tend to have a lot of additives, so if you buy it pre-made, try to select one that has the shortest ingredient list and the least additives). You can also try out different varieties of pizza bases made from sweet potato and oat flour, as well as cauliflower and almond meal.
2. The Sauce
Make up a nice sauce using a combination of tomato paste, tomato passata and fresh or dried herbs, you can also add in some crushed garlic.
For your toppings, load up with all your favourites – some options include onion, capsicum, mushroom, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, fresh tomato, jalapenos. Or even get creative and try broccoli, cauliflower, kale, rocket, chickpeas, black beans.
4. The Cheese
Top it off with some cashew cheese or almond fetta, or go cheese-less and drizzle with a little tahini.
Remember the pizza from the Dinner recipes, if you haven’t given it a go, try it out this week.
When thinking of fried foods, the first thing to come to mind are hot chips or fries! Besides being delicious, they lack in nutrients as most are deep or shallow fried in oil – therefore they tend to contain more fat than anything else, plus they usually include a long list of additives. The same goes for other fried foods. However, it is possible to get similar flavours in a healthy way. Hot chips can easily be made in the oven with no/limited oil, for an extra crunch you can either parboil them beforehand then bake in the oven, or coat in wholemeal breadcrumbs, add in some spices such as oregano, rosemary and salt. Other food can be prepared in a similar way to create amazing crunchy tastes such as with buffalo cauliflower (pictured below), crispy tofu and chickpea falafel. These meals tend to be low in calories and high in nutrients.
These days there are many aisles in the supermarket dedicated to pre-packaged highly processed snacks, such as chips, chocolate, biscuits, lollies etc. Not only do these foods have limited nutrients, but they tend to be high in sugars, salts, oils and other additives. Whilst some of these products claim to be healthy and use marketing strategies to make you think they are, the truth is they are still processed food which have added ingredients to preserve and enhance the flavour.
It is therefore always better to eat wholefoods, or food that is closest to wholefoods. Fruit is a great option if you are after something sweet or lightly salted nuts if you feel like something salty. Other snack options are medjool dates, eaten as is, or break in half and add some dark choc, raspberries and a drizzle of peanut butter, pictured below. Popcorn is great too, simply pop some corn kernals on the stove or put in a paper bag, roll up and pop in the microwave, top with salt, nutritional yeast or even sprinkle some tamari sauce on top. You won’t believe how satisfying these recipes are until you try them. There are also many healthy dessert and snack recipes that you can create. Refer to the snacks recipes provided previously.
Burger or Pizza night! This week aim to create your very own homemade burger or pizza! Or try one of the other recipes listed below.
Try this Beet Burger recipe, pictured above. Serve on a wholemeal bun with spinach, tomato and red onion. For sauce you can make up some guacamole.
Beet Burgers by The New Nourishing
There are loads of varieties of pizza you can make. If you have a family a great idea is to make the dough and divide it up into the number of people in your family so everyone has their own base. Then cut up a variety of toppings and make up the sauce. Your family can make their own pizzas to their liking by selecting from the range of ingredients.
Have a look at the ideas below for pizza styles:
- Mexican Pizza – tomato-based sauce, onion, capsicum, tomato, corn, jalapenos, black beans and once out of the oven top with avocado or guacamole and coriander.
- Lean Green Pizza – pesto sauce, onion, green capsicum, tomato, mushrooms, broccoli, kale and once out of the oven top with rocket and a drizzle of pesto sauce.
- Middle Eastern – tomato-based sauce, red onion, eggplant, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, olives, chickpeas and once out of the oven top with parsley or basil and a drizzle of tahini. You can also add spices such as za’atar and paprika.
Sweet Potato Nachos
This is another of my favourite recipes! I am a huge fan of nachos but to be honest each time I had them I was left feeling really full and heavy. This recipe is not only delicious but packed with so many nutrients. Give it a go here.
Tahini Oatmeal Cookies
This recipe is seriously delicious! Give it a go here.
Note: Whilst these junk food and snack recipes are healthy and contain wholefoods, many recipes include concentrated amounts of the ingredients, meaning that they tend to be high in calories. Therefore it is always recommended to limit the consumption of these types of food, especially if trying to lose weight.