I read a recent article in the New York Times Magazine about addictive junk foods and how bad they are, and I want to serve my kids less processed foods.  What alternatives do you suggest?

Healthy and delicious go hand in hand!

At HealthBarn USA our mantra is to eat foods from nature.  We are all about natural foods made with natural ingredients that come from nature, and we limit the artificial ingredients made in factories and found in the “junk foods” mentioned in the article.  I think this article really helps raise awareness about the food choices we make and their consequences.  Nature provides the food we need to nourish our bodies; I’ve never seen anyone overeat carrots, whereas processed foods are produced by companies who are in the business of getting us to eat more to help their bottom line, but not our waistlines.

The article does a great job exposing why you might want to avoid junk food, but it doesn’t talk too much about what you could be eating instead.  Here are some thoughts I have, based on the foods that are analyzed in the article:

The Bad: Lunchables

The Good Replacement: Whole grain pita with hummus, low fat string cheese, carrot sticks, and a square of dark chocolate or unsulfured dried fruit,

Say goodbye to processed foods! Homemade hummus is easy and super natural.

The idea that kids like Lunchables because there are lots of components is definitely true.  But it doesn’t have to contain “cheese product” and processed meat in order to be kid-approved.  Check out our post on how to pack great lunches for your kids!


The Bad: Soda

The Good Replacement: Water, low-fat milk or dairy alternative, or 100% fruit juice.

There’s plenty of evidence indicating that soda (even diet!) is not a healthy choice.  Water is the best thing you can drink, but I understand the need for some variety.  Check out this post for some creative ideas of flavorful, low calorie alternatives to water.


The Bad: Chips

The Good Replacement: Stacy’s pita chips, Lundberg rice chips, Beanitos (gluten-free) tortilla chips, and Good Health Natural Foods Veggie Stix.

Everyone likes a little something crunchy, but it’s important to get some nutrition along with the crunch—it’s what helps make you feel satisfied!  All of the above options get thumbs up from kids at the Barn, and you can feel good about serving them!

What are your go-to natural choices?


– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life and founder, HealthBarn USA

What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.

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