Did I get your attention??
In the world of food, these three words are typically considered: junk food, comfort food, or fat day foods. As delicious and wonderful as they may taste, they usually bring nothing but trouble. In fact, the majority of us only resort to a meal made of these ingredients during desperate times.
In my wild and unruly days, you could find me on occasion in a parking lot, crouched down below the steering wheel on my lunch break to stuff my face with the greasy goodness of a large french fry and 6 piece chicken nugget. I could then effortlessly wash it down with a quick gulp of a vanilla milkshake. This little routine was then followed by a sneaky maneuver to hide the evidence in an abandoned trashcan behind the building before I went back in. Why you ask? Because I knew deep down inside that nothing I was eating, in any shape or form, was beneficial or good for me.
So for the past few years, I have been on a quest to find a healthy substitute for every piece of junk food out there. I think I have just about succeeded in this mission. I have even found an organic version of oreo’s called Newman O’s that taste almost exactly the same! Even though some of these substitutes don’t exactly have a nutritional benefit, they do not contain ingredients that could potentially be harmful or unhealthy. We should all be striving to consume only foods that will benefit our overall health.
My challenge for you is to choose an unhealthy food that you just can seem to escape and look for a healthy alternative for it. You can let me know what it is you just can’t shake and I’ll try to help you come up with something. Leave a comment about what you find.
Today I have 3 of my favorite junk foods from the past. I have made over these foods to provide some nutritional benefit as well as to curb any junk food cravings. First up is our sweet potato french fries. These are amazingly delicious and so nutritious!
Sweet Potato Fries
Ingredients for 2 servings:
1 sweet potato peeled and cut into small fries
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried oregano
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t dried parsley
A few dashes of cayenne pepper
1. Toss uncooked sweet potato fries with olive oil.
2. Combine seasonings in a separate bowl.
3. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over sweet potatoes and then toss with hands until dispersed evenly.
4. Spread fries evenly onto a greased baking sheet.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F. for approximately 15 minutes.
6. Turn fries over with a spatula and then bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Hint: Make sure the fries are about the same size and keep a close eye on them in the oven so they don’t burn.
Dipping sauce: I combined equal amounts of organic grey poupon and organic honey.
Next on the menu is one of my favorite recipes. This recipe was taken from Jessica Seinfeld’s book, Deceptively Delicious, and made without any alterations. I love the fact that she uses vegetables in everything she cooks! She is revolutionary and a model to follow.
1 cup whole wheat, white or panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 tbs. grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 cup broccoli, spinach, sweet potato or beet purée (I used spinach)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tbs. olive oil
1. Combine first six ingredients in a bowl, and mix well with your fingers.
2. In shallow bowl, mix purée and egg with a fork and set bowl next to bread crumb mixture.
3. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Dip chunks into egg mixture and toss in bread crumbs until coated.
4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. When skillet is hot, add oil. Place chicken nuggets in skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut into a piece to check that it’s cooked through.)
For desert is one of my favorite things: banana milkshakes! My Memaw used to make these for me when I visited in the summer. It is truly my most favorite comfort food and I refuse to give it up! This is why I have come up with an alternative that just about tastes like the real thing.
1 frozen banana
1 heaping spoonful of organic, fat free, plain yogurt
1/4 cup Low fat milk
Sonic ice (I know this seems silly and unnecessary but I really believe that this type of ice makes it less watery and have more of a milkshake texture)
1 t organic peanut butter (optional)
Blend banana, yogurt, and milk on low. Slowly add ice until it resembles a milkshake-like texture and taste. You may add the peanut butter for some added protein.
Hope ya’ll enjoy these recipes as much as I do!
P.S. I have really been slacking on the posts due to my upcoming graduation in May and wedding in August! After I graduate I will be posting much more regularly.