5 Alternatives to Junk Food

With BBQ season in full swing, it may be time for a diet make-over.

First, start with a protein swap – exchanging hamburger or steak for seafood, like shrimp or fish. Meats tend to be higher in saturated fat, which increases cholesterol.

“The beauty about having seafood is that the fat that is in there, is rich in there is Omega 3, which can be very good for our heart,” says Jennifer Vargo, dietitian with Lee Memorial Health System.

Number two: replace ranch dressing or chip dip with hummus.

“You’ve got some healthy fats in there because those are often made with olive oils and those are heart healthy as well as a great alternative to using your typical ranch dressing which can be high in saturated fat,” says Vargo.

Our third swap: salty pickles and olives for fresh veggies.

“Sticking more with fresh vegetables and fruits is going to be a way to lower the sodium content,” says Vargo.

And number four: don’t forget the fiber.

Eating high fiber foods is a great way to fill you up. Beans won’t bust your calorie count and fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth. Find ways to mix them in a salsa.

“Be creative with it. Just because you’re trying to have healthy choices doesn’t mean all the joy has to be sucked out of it. Have fun with it,” says Vargo.

Finally, put down the soda and pick up a glass of water with a slice of lemon.

“The trick about liquid drinks is when we drink something even though it may have 300-400 calories to it, the body doesn’t recognize it the same as it would if we’re eating 300-400 calories of food,” says Vargo.

Food for thought, some healthy alternatives to keep your body bikini or beach ready.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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