Even foods that aren't good for your waistline can be made better with some modifications. In the morning, Shape magazine shows us how to make junk foods healthy.
1. Cheese Whiz - Trans fats are generally a dietary no-no. But one natural trans fat, known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), is an exception. Why? It has anti-cancer attributes. Cheese Whiz turns out to have more of this cancer-fighting compound than any regular cheese. So go ahead and add it to some crackers or melt it on some nachos.
2. Beef Jerky - This convenience store staple doesn't exactly have the best reputation. But beef jerky is actually packed with protein, and it doesn't raise your level of insulin, a hormone that triggers fat storage. Snack away in-between meals, especially if you're watching your weight. Just be sure to choose low-sodium jerky and opt for brands with all-natural ingredients.
3. Beer - Think red wine is the only healthy type of alcohol? Think again. Beer may not seem like a healthy drink, but in moderation (a serving or two) it is actually good for you. The antioxidant levels in beer are equivalent to that of wine; barley and hops just happen to contain different flavonoids than grapes. And beer's a significant source of silicon as well. This is a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Just remember--each beer has around 150 or 175 calories, so don't go overboard.
4. Pork Rinds - This is probably the ultimate down-home, guilty pleasure, but a 1-ounce serving of pork rinds provides a whopping 17 grams of protein-nine times the protein in a serving of regular potato chips. Plus, most of the puffy snack's fat is oleic acid, which is the same healthy fat you'll find in olive oil. Another fat found in pork rinds, stearic acid, is a type of saturated fat that doesn't raise blood cholesterol levels.
5. Popcorn - Though it's low in calories, it's easy to imagine that puffy, white popcorn's low in nutrition, as well. However, this movie snack is full of fiber and has high levels of polyphenols-antioxidants that can protect against heart disease and certain cancers. In fact, research shows that popcorn has the highest polyphenol level of all snack foods. To watch your waistline, opt for air-popped popcorn. If you're a butter lover, melt real butter and ditch the imitation kind you find at movie theatres.
6. Sour Cream - Smooth, creamy, and savory, sour cream is not only delicious, but it's surprisingly low in sodium. And if you want to top your chili or baked potato with a couple of tablespoons of sour cream (yes, we're talking about the full-fat variety) you'll add just 52 calories and only around 2 grams of saturated fat. This is less saturated fat than you'd get from drinking a 12-ounce glass of 2 percent reduced-fat milk.