The 21st of July is Junk Food Day.
Junk food is typically processed snack foods or fast foods that provide us empty calories from fats, carbs and sugars, with almost never any micronutrients, and if any micronutrient is present, that micronutrient is bound to be sodium — in overload amounts!
The problem is, these foods are also formulated to be delicious, and irresistible.
Junk food used to be a rare treat, but with industrialized food taking over, it has for many people now become a huge part of their everyday diets.
It is everywhere, and cheaper and more convenient than nourishing food.
Various promoters of Junk Food Day urge you to use this day to — summarizing their collective words — “throw caution to the wind and absolutely pig out on junk food guilt-free today all day long.”
CooksInfo instead is going to suggest you use Junk Food Day as a day to seek out and sample healthier and smarter alternatives that you’ll be able to incorporate into your snacking and food treat allowances on an ongoing basis year round.
Plan snacking into your daily eating. If you do, it’s far easier to make sure healthy options are to hand. Remember, snacking is not the problem: it’s what we snack on that is!
As you do, though, beware that many companies will take foods that start off healthy — say, sweet potatoes — and turn them into junk food such as “sweet potato chips” by the processing the potatoes go through. And “organic” does not mean healthy, either. Also watch granola bars — most of them are more candy bar than health bar.
Activities for today
- Look for ways to make healthier versions at home of your favourite junk food;
- if you are still on the fence about getting an air fryer, do some searching on how an air fryer can make healthy versions of junk food;
- make homemade chips in an air fryer and use a salt sub instead of salt.
7 ways to snack smarter (Harvard Health Publishing)
Fenton, Ann. Snacking Healthy. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Service.
Litchfield, Ruth. Snacks for Healthy Kids. Iowa State Extension Service.
MacNab, Lindsay. Build a drawer of healthy snacks at work. (Vanderbilt Health)
The science of snacking (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)
The phrase “junk food” appears to have been coined in the 1970s.
The earliest print mention that CooksInfo is aware of for a “Junk Food Day” in July occurred in 2001 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The short mention cites the e-card website bluemountain.com as its source.
“July 21: National Junk Food Day.” — Happy Holidays. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune. Monday, 16 July 2001. Page E1, col. 5.
Brown, Ciara. Time to get comfortable. It’s National Junk Food Day. Tampa Bay, Florida: WTSP-TV. 15 July 2021. Accessed July 2021 at https://www.wtsp.com/article/life/food/time-to-get-comfortable-its-national-junk-food-day/67-1fc834a1-75c1-4458-ae75-3907af7ae01e
Buffardi, Michelle. Smart Snacks for National Junk Food Day. The Food Network. July 2011. Accessed July 2021 at https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/recipes/2011/07/healthy-recipes-for-national-junk-food-day
Chinn, Surae. Go ahead, indulge… it’s National Junk Food Day. Salt Lake City, Utah: KUCW-TV. 21 July 2021. Accessed July 2021 at https://www.abc4.com/dailydish/go-ahead-indulge-its-national-junk-food-day/
Mars, Olivia. Today is National Junk Food Day; celebrate with a Vicksburg favorite. Vicksburg, Virginia: The Vicksburg Post. 21 July 2021. Accessed July 2021 at https://www.vicksburgpost.com/2021/07/21/today-is-national-junk-food-day-celebrate-with-a-vicksburg-favorite/
Raghayan, Naina. National Junk Food Day: Healthy Fast Food Options And Fun Instagram Captions For The Occasion. New York, New York: International Business Times. 21 July 2021. Accessed July 2021 at https://www.ibtimes.com/national-junk-food-day-healthy-fast-food-options-fun-instagram-captions-occasion-3256670
Today is National Junk Food Day. Moncton, New Brunswick: 91.9 Radio. 21 July 2020. Accessed July 2021 at https://www.919thebend.ca/2020/07/21/91681/