Health Watch -- Junk Food (Part 2)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Can you snack and still get good nutrition?

An alarming study found that Americans get about a third of their calories from junk food. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, has some suggestions to help you replace your favorite snacks with foods that offer more nutritional value.

If you usually get a candy bar from the vending machine, get a granola bar or a small packet of nuts and seeds instead. Choose a crispy granola bar instead of a chewy one. Instead of eating hard candy, eat dried fruits. For the sweetness you want from chocolate, eat a peach or other kind of juicy, sweet fruit. Look for low-fat yogurt or pudding made from skim milk instead of ice cream and other frozen treats. Graham crackers make a good substitute for cookies.

Tortilla chips and cheese dip are a staple for watching sports, but substitute salsa for the cheese dip and you'll get vitamins while cutting fat and calories. Baked chips are a good substitute for regular chips. Or you could have raw vegetables with a low-fat dip to get vitamins with your crunch. When serving cheese and crackers, use whole wheat crackers or rye crisp bread with part-skim mozzarella cheese. Low-fat microwave popcorn is better for you than cheese puffs or cheesy snack crackers.


Sept. 2004

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