Junk food is a pleasure for the palate. No matter how stressed you are, the mere taste of chocolate can lift up your mood instantly. Amidst, your strenuous work, taking a break to gulp the mouth-watering gol gappas or to have a plate of steaming hot momos can be such an amazing stress buster.
What is junk food? It is food that is loaded with calories and is considered to have the least nutritional value. As Peanuts, the cartoon character has it, “Everything I love is illegal, immoral or fattening. Well, anything in excess is not good – eating junk food every day will surely do much more harm you can imagine – and this is not scaremongering. However, occasionally a junk food treat can delight your taste-buds and refresh your senses rejuvenating you. Moreover, some of the nutrients in junk food also have the ability to treat seasonal diseases like flu, fever, etc. So, who get away by saying that anything that is tasty or delicious is, without exception, bad for your health. So let us look at these foods straight in the eye without so much as flinching.
In this blog, we have listed out some of the popular junk foods and the associated nutritional value to justify that junks are (or, can be) good for your health – of course, with the rider that it is so only when taken in a moderate amount.
Pizza always tops the list when it comes to junk food—perhaps the first and most sinful of the lot. Pizza topped with loads of veggies or meat or cheese indeed adds up to good nutrition. The whole wheat crust is a healthier choice for a guilt-free treat. The proteins in meat and cheese pump up the muscles. Vegetables serve as a good source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, carbohydrates, and antioxidants. After all, a pizza is baked, and using the right ingredients to prepare, and it can add a few more welcome health benefits.
2. Pani Puri
Pani Puri, also called gol gappa, is one of the tastiest Indian snacks available at the every nook and corner of the streets. The joy of eating pani puris or gol gappas from the street vendor is unspeakably great, and they are addictive. Just a single plate of this delicious snack will not quench hunger. Pani Puri is usually served by stuffing a filling of mashed potatoes and the like as filling inside the puris. These puris are then dipped in the spicy pani made of tamarind water and other masala powders. The stuffing consists of potatoes, chickpeas, spices, tamarind, cilantro and mint leaves—these ingredients are rich in fibre, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. Mint juice retards the growth of fungus and bacteria. It also relieves one from cold, fever, cough, sinus, food poisoning, and travel sickness. On the whole, this Indian snack is a blend of flavours and is always a hit among all age groups. Like grapeshot, it spreads out to a lot of people.
Image Credits – monishgujral.com
3. Dark Chocolate
Indulging in dark chocolate is not sinful—yes, you read it right! Dark chocolate is fruit seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree. These seeds are dried and processed to produce the chocolate bars. Dark chocolate is rich in iron, fibre, manganese, magnesium and copper. Some of the amazing benefits of dark chocolate can leave you awestruck. Dark chocolate can protect you from numerous diseases and improve brain- and heart- health. Dark chocolates have free radicals’ fighting ability thanks to the rich antioxidants in the intense cocoa. A three—week consumption of dark chocolate increases the High-Level cholesterol and decreases the Low-Level cholesterol. Dark chocolate also aids in the control of blood sugar and blood pressure. Well, did you grab those chocolates already?
Image credits – Food NDTV
4. Bhel Puri
Bhel Puri is yet another famous Indian chat and popular street food which is easy on the pockets. The explosion of flavours—sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, crispy, chewy, etc, is what makes you crave for it! Bhel Puri is made of puffed rice, a mix of different chutneys and vegetables like onion, tomato, potato, etc with a dash of lime juice. Puffed rice and potatoes are an extremely good source of carbohydrates which aid in the functioning of the brain. Vegetables are a good source of fibre, vitamins, manganese, and other minerals essential to keep the body at peak levels. And then there are the chutneys— green chutney and tamarind. Green chutney is made of coriander and mint leaf which is an excellent source of iron. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Tamarind chutney includes vitamins, fibre and pyridoxine which relieves the consumer from digestive ailments, fever, etc. Lime juice is the fantastic source of vitamin C and phytochemicals which are anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic agents.
Image credits – wikimedia.org
Hot Samosas with a cup of tea makes the perfect snack on a rainy day. The samosa is one of the best and the most desired Indian snacks. The samosa is made of Refined flour (refined/all-purpose flour), vegetable filling, chilli powder, cumin powder, cilantro and lemon juice. The vegetable filling includes boiled potatoes and peas. For the non-vegans, this stuffing can be replaced with the meat. Finally, this Refined flour/refined flour pouch with the stuffing inside is deep fried in the oil or baked to perfection. Refined flour is considered unhealthy but it does contain carbohydrates. Oil is rich in fat and is a good energizer. Potatoes are high in carbohydrates and green peas consist of amino acids, vitamins, etc. and it also improves the immune system. However, the baked samosa will always be a guilt-free option for heart patients and diet freaks.
Momos, the national dish of Tibet is now a popular Indian street food. Fried or steamed hot momos are simply irresistible and make you hanker for more. The veg momos or chicken momos are quite economical and is one of the favourite snacks for many people. Steamed momos are extremely low in calories and healthier option when compared to the deeply fried momos. Momos are made of refined flour and vegetable fillings or meat fillings. The vegetable filling usually consists of cabbage, onion, and garlic. Cabbage contains minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, iron, magnesium and manganese. Garlic is also rich in anti-oxidants. These antioxidants play a major role in protecting against breast-, stomach-, prostate- and colon cancer. Onion consists of dietary fibre and numerous vitamins. Meat includes lot of protein and is definitely healthy. However, the refined flour can be replaced with whole wheat flour (Atta) or the rice flour for the healthy homemade options. Healthier options are definitely worth a try for the Holy Grail of perfect health.
Image credits – cookforindia.com
7. Vada Pav
Vada Pav is a popular savoury snack and Indian street-food. The scrumptious bite of vada pav lets you taste the flavourful potato and gram flour patty sandwiched between a white bun sliced almost up to the other edge or pav. This pav is coated with generous amounts of mint and date chutneys. Deep fried green chilies, seasoned with mustard seeds and curry leaves perfectly complement the dish. Potatoes give a healthy dose of carbohydrates while gram flour gives you enough protein. Tangy chutneys are freshly made and are absolutely preservative-free. Spicy green chilies alleviate constipation. Curry leaves which are rich in Iron are good for skin and hair. For a healthier option, a white bun can be replaced with the whole wheat bun and potato patty can be baked instead of deep fry.
Image credits – dfordelhi.in
8. Masala Dosa
Masala Dosa is a delicious staple food of south India. Almost every hotel serves you this appetizing dish. Most of the streets in Bangalore have 99 varieties of dosas and you get to taste the best dosas at this place. Masala Dosa is considered junk because of the loaded with ghee and oil – currently the bad boys of health for many doctors.
However, it has many healthier ingredients with some wonderful benefits. Dosa batter made of rice and black lentils is low in calories and easy to digest. The dosa is also a great source of carbohydrates and proteins. The filling of potatoes, onions, and other spices includes carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Enjoy your meal with a healthier and flavoursome dosa made of less oil. It tastes the best when served piping hot!
Image credits – hungryforever.com
9. French Fries
French fries are one of the favourite snacks for all the age groups. Kids love it the most and it is easily available in the cafes, fast foods and restaurants. Munching on these delectable French fries regularly is not recommended. However, the dish does serve some nutritional value for your cheat meals. French fries are deep fried potato fingers seasoned with salt and taste divine with tomato ketchup. The baked fries are much healthier and potatoes include a good amount of fibre, potassium and vitamins. Healthier cooking with fresh oil and avoiding frozen fries is much recommended for the wellness of the heart. Tomatoes in the ketchup are loaded with vitamins and make the dish heart-warmingly guilt-free.
Image credits – daysoftheyear.com
Gazing at the kernels cracking up to popcorn is a visual treat! Watching a movie with a bucket of popcorn is a ritual these days. Did you know that the popcorns are good for you? Yes, the popcorns are loaded with fibre and aids in digestion by promoting the gut bacteria. The yellow corn is rich in carotenoid antioxidants and protects the vision health. Vitamin rich corn regulates the body processes across multiple organs. Corn includes minerals like Phosphorous and Manganese which help in bone health and regulates blood sugar. Ferulic acid in corn has a potential to kill the tumour cells. Look out for organic corn which is gluten-free and season with unrefined sea salt to relish the healthier popcorns.
Image credits – food52.com
A burger is a popular fast food and loved by many kids and youngsters. It is made of refined flour buns, cheese, and patties which are made of mixed vegetables or different meats. Vegetables and protein-rich meat are healthy. Cheese also adds a good nutritional value. However, deep fried patties are a concern for the diet-conscious crowd. Burgers made up of whole wheat buns and baked patties of vegetable or meat – is the best choice for a healthy diet. The tempting burgers with good servings of fresh salad seasoned with herbs make it healthier.
Image credits – seriouseats.com
12. Chicken Nuggets
Chicken Nuggets is the most favourite snacks among the kids. Most of the fast food and bistros use frozen chicken and reused oil for Nuggets preparation. Baked fresh chicken nuggets are a way healthier compared to deep fry. If you like it antioxidants fried, use fresh oil. Chicken is rich in proteins and B-vitamins, when served with some fresh vegetable salad rich in fibre and other minerals – it makes a nutritious snack. Frozen chicken is loaded with preservatives – tertiary butyl hydroquinone and dimethylpolysiloxane. Hence, use of fresh chicken is suggested for good health.
A plate of hot pakoras in monsoon or rainy season is bliss! Life seems much happier when you guzzle down these spicy, piping hot pakoras. Be it, kids or elders, every one love this Indian snack. It is also easy to prepare. The pakoras consist of gram flour, spices and preferred vegetable like onion, raw banana, potato, spinach, capsicum, etc. Well, we all know that the vegetables are loaded with iron, fibre, minerals, etc. The gram flour is rich in proteins and contributes to good health. Pakoras are deep fried and hence categorized as junk. Usage of fresh oil or air fryer is a healthier option.
Image credits – Fine Dining Lovers
14. Cake & Pastries
Any special celebration is incomplete without a cake or pastries. Kids love them and a generous serving of this desert can replace their entire meal. Cake and pastries have refined flour, oil, eggs, sugar, dairy products and different flavours. Refined flour consists of carbohydrates while eggs are an amazing source of protein and oil gives the essential fats. The dairy products like milk, curd and butter are also rich in proteins. However, these are not recommended for blood sugar and blood pressure patients. If you love to gorge on this mouth-watering delicacy without any guilt, you can choose the gluten-free and sugar-free ones, with natural flavours. They can be simply nutritious and a perfect choice for the diabetics.
Image credits – lerevebakery.com
You are what you eat. Junk speaks for itself. The Golden Mean, the via media, is the best guarantee to keep your sanity in a world inundated with flavours—and fast foods.