Why You Should Ditch the Junk Food

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In college, there are days when the workload from five professors can be overwhelming and time for anything besides papers, quizzes and projects is non-existent. With such a busy schedule, I usually find myself having little time to consume a well-balanced meal. The result of hunger usually leads to the guilty action of consuming the worst: junk food. Chips, fruit snacks, candy, cookies (and the occasional fruit) – basically anything that is convenient and has lots of flavor!

Yet with National Nutrition Month being in March, I decided that it would be time to start a new trend. So the natural foodie in me dived into a search from my peers and online to find healthier options for snacks for when I am on the go. Below I brainstormed some of the choices I will be trying in the upcoming weeks.

Veggies

It is already in your food pyramid so might as well make it part of your weekly routine to incorporate it as a snack! Carrots, celery, peppers and broccoli are a great alternative to combat that growling stomach and tend to fill that temporary void quickly. If you need a little bit more flavor, add a type of dressing on the side!

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Yogurt

If you need something light and quick, definitely look into this option. With a variety of flavors, you have opportunity to really find what you are looking for. If you want a little crunch with yogurt, try adding granola and sliced fruit! It takes less than five minutes to make and is packed with a lot of flavor!

 

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Trail Mix

This is the variety bag that has everything that you love! Grab a sandwich bag and fill it with almonds, peanuts, cranberries, chex mix cereal, pretzels and even a few of M&M’s.

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Smoothies

If the snacks above are too messy, then there is always an alternative! Smoothies are great way to fill up for a short amount of time and the possibilities are endless. Try adding frozen mixed berries, bananas, Greek yogurt and pineapple juice for a refreshing on the go drink!  For an even healthier choice, mix baby spinach leave, bananas, carrots, Greek yogurt, ice and honey. It may sound gross, but trust me it’s good. It is easy enough to carry around and a great way to start the morning!

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Wraps

We have all carried around the classic turkey sandwich or PB&J, but now is the time to switch it up. Wraps have been a great option when I am in need of something practical but filling. The range of things you can do is amazing, from grilled chicken with shredded carrots and dressing to ham and cheese. This is definitely a meal that can be experimented with so try any and everything on pita bread and tortillas!

 

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I know that out of habit and convenience, it is easy to choose the snacks that we are familiar with. Unfortunately, those options are not always the best ones for us and there comes a time when a change has to be made. To motivate yourself, be sure to gradually implement a new snack each week into your diet. Also, it is beneficial that you prep all your snacks the night before and make a note about it, so that you are more inclined to grab it as you are leaving out. Most importantly, be curious to experiment with new foods because if you do not like it, there will always be room for a new item! So this week, ditch the junk food and start your days off right with the boost of freshness that you need.

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Brea Thompson is a junior studying Communication at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since coming to campus, Brea has been honing her writing skills through organizational projects such as the Student Senate Public Relations Committee and the Communication Association. She is an avid believer that storytelling is the most powerful way to inform, communicate and persuade an audience. When Brea is not writing, she enjoys thrifting, crafting do-it-yourself projects and looking for new hair products!

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