January junk exchange

suggests some healthy alternatives to our favourite guilty pleasures

We all like to treat ourselves, but yet again it has come to that time of year when people embrace the ‘New Year, new you’ motto and aim to improve their health . This usually entails buying a gym membership and saying goodbye to some of your favourite foods.  However, there are ways to enjoy those foods without having to sacrifice your healthy lifestyle. Here are a few ideas for how to replace some unhealthy snacks with healthier ones.

Image: Ross Elliott

Image: Ross Elliott

1. Ice cream is a common choice when you’re looking for a treat. I think we can all admit to spending a fair amount of time with our good friends Ben and Jerry.  Although a tub of ice cream may be kind to you during the stressful deadline period, it’s not so kind to your waistline.

Replace with:

There are ways to get your frozen fix without the unfortunate consequences. Banana ice cream is healthy, tasty and very easy to make. It only contains one ingredient – bananas – making it low in calories and in cost. You may be doubtful of this as banana alone does not seem a worthy competitor to the might of Phish Food or Cookie Dough, but give it a chance. All you need to do is chop two or three bananas, freeze for a couple of hours, blend or mash them and enjoy.

2. Crisps make a regular appearance in the lunch boxes of students. Although quickly grabbing a bag from Nisa or from the library cafe may seem like a good idea, they are very high in salt and fat, and therefore  not a great choice when trying to shift a few Christmas pounds.

Replace with:

Although popcorn and crisps share similar qualities, popcorn is much healthier. A cup of popcorn kernels contains roughly 30 calories, so this is definitely a guilt free treat, just as long as you don’t smother it in too much sugar, salt or butter. Popcorn is very simple to make, simply pop it in the pan (don’t forget the lid) and two minutes later you’ve got yourself a snack.

3. Students are known to love pizza, demonstrated by the queue in Efe’s after a night out. Despite being a satisfying pick-me-up, the health benefits are minimal, if they exist at all.

Replace with:

Pitta pizza is the same concept as a regular pizza, but instead of having a dough base, it’s pitta. All you need to do is cover the pitta in tomato puree, add a small amount of cheese, and pop it under the grill for around 10 minutes. This is a simple, healthy alternative, especially if you use brown or wholemeal pitta breads.

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