Making Smart "Junk Food" Choices

Part of the Boosting Your Metabolism For Dummies Cheat Sheet

It's not always realistic to only eat real — whole — foods. Convenience foods are simply more, um, convenient sometimes because they're processed in ways that make them more accessible and easy to eat and prepare for anyone with a hectic schedule. You may enjoy these foods. Just remember that everything can fit into the boosting metabolism diet — in moderation.

Although healthy food choices are expanding everywhere you go, from the movie theater to the airport to vending machines, many are of the packaged variety. When you just have to have "junk food," you can make the best decisions possible by sticking to the following rules of thumb:

  • Always read the food label, when it's available, for ingredients and portion size to see what you're really getting and how much per package.

  • Choose packaged snack foods that have a source of protein or fiber, like unsalted nuts, seeds, or dried fruit to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.

  • Have a fiber-infused granola bar, even if it contains inulin (an added natural fiber product). It will keep you satisfied longer than your everyday granola bar.

  • Instead of regular chips, choose the baked variety to save on fat or make your own vegetable chips at home. Slice up potato (or sweet potato), break up kale or another green leafy veggie, baste with olive oil, and bake in the oven until crispy!

  • When at fast-food restaurants, choose foods that are grilled or broiled, not fried. In general, to cut calories and saturated fat, stick with lean meats like turkey, chicken without the skin, or fish.

  • Instead of regular or diet soft drinks, try a naturally flavored water or seltzer water.

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