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Taming The Junk Food Monster In Your House

Are you a closet junk food junkie? Or do you live with a spouse or child who craves all those naughty, processed, sugary, fatty foods. First, know that you’re not alone. And as with any other addiction, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward getting it under control.

The first strategy for getting the junk food monkey off your back (and you know what’s coming) is to stop bringing processed foods into your home. Maybe you’re already doing that, but you’re being tempted outside the home. That’s when planning ahead is important. If you have a healthy alternative on hand at work or on the go, you’re less likely to cave to the unhealthy option.


1. Swap chips for pita triangles—Cut pita bread into triangles, toast it, then serve it with your favorite flavor of hummus. Mmmmmm

2. Swap soft drinks for water infused with fresh berries or frozen grapes— freeze some blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, or other fruit and drop them into a tall glass of ice water. Squeeze in some lemon or orange. Yum!

3. Swap ice cream for sorbet—Scoop up some fruity sorbet. Top it with chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts, or pistachios.

4. Swap French fries for baked sweet potatoes—100 grams of baked sweet potatoes offers up nearly 400% of the daily recommended vitamin A and a third of vitamin C. Slice them into wedges or chunks, lay them in a baking dish, lightly coat with olive oil, salt, and bake for forty minutes.

5. Swap cheesy nachos for healthy ones—Make your own chips by slicing whole-grain tortillas into triangles and baking them at 350°F for eight to ten minutes. Top with refried beans, chopped spinach, diced tomatoes, and crumbles of feta cheese.

Learn to cook healthier versions of your family’s favorites. For instance, in your baking recipes, you can substitute fresh whole-grain flour for 25% of the white flour. Replace white sugar with xylitol, honey,

or stevia. (Find conversion charts online.) And try not to get into a rut with your healthy eating. Websites like and can help make eating right an adventure.

Lastly, realize you’re going to cheat. Don’t become the food police (for yourself or your loved one). Give yourself some wiggle room. Allow a cheat, every so often. Then, forgive yourself and do the next right thing.


The easiest way to cut back on the amount of processed foods you consume is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where the freshest foods are located. Select foods with the shortest ingredient lists. If a product contains an ingredient you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize—don’t eat it.

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