Healthy junk food is an alternative to traditional high-calorie processed snacks and drinks. Some healthy junk foods might still include some unhealthy ingredients, such as chocolate, but in a smaller quantity. Other healthy snacks are made with healthier ingredients and less fattening preparation techniques, designed to appeal to many different health concerns. Dieters typically will find that most grocery stores sell snacks ranging from low calorie to sugar free, and some healthy junk foods are even fortified with an extra dose of vitamins.
Some popular snack companies have created healthier imitations of their most popular products. For example, some potato chip companies have developed baked versions instead of those fried in unhealthy oils. There are also many cheesy snacks marked with a low-fat label. Low-sodium pretzels are common, and artificial sweeteners often replace sugar in some desserts and candies. Grocery shoppers can sometimes find healthier versions of their favorite junk foods that are salt-free, organic or free of trans fat. These snacks might not be found in the usual sections; some stores might separate healthy junk food into the natural foods area.
Dieters searching for healthy junk food might want to look for 100 calorie packs at the grocery store. These packs discourage overeating by dividing up snack foods into small portions. 100 calorie packs might not always offer a lot of extra nutrition, but they can make calorie counting much easier. Snack bars often are available with just 100 calories as well. These bars might also be enhanced to give energy or to induce a feeling of fullness.
Healthy junk food can also extend to the fast food industry. Many restaurants specializing in fatty burgers also offer alternatives for their health-conscious customers. Salads are prepared at almost all fast food restaurants, and many will also provide whole wheat bread for sandwiches. Most even have low-fat dessert options, such as yogurt parfaits. Fat food restaurants typically offer a variety of diet sodas as well, some that even advertise zero calories. Customers might want to ask the cashier if a sugar-free soda is available.
There are critics to the healthy junk food movement. Some skeptics believe that labeling junk food as healthy is only a marketing ploy. They might claim that healthy junk food is healthier than the alternative, but it could still lead to overeating and other unhealthy habits. A bag of chips that claims to have low sodium might have less salt than average chips, but that doesn't necessarily mean it still isn't coated in too much salt, or it may be high in calories or fat. Careful shoppers might want to check each item's nutritional information to make an informed decision on the healthiness of a specific snack.