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How To 'Unjunk Your Junk Food': Finding Healthy Alternatives

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We all have those days when we would rather grab a bag of Oreo cookies than stroll down that creepy 'organic' aisle in the grocery store.

Turning over the package and reading the label, we usually come face-to-face with the dreaded c-word: calories. That number brings up everything from our New Year's resolutions to fitting into that little black dress at the end of the week. But this shouldn't be the most important factor influencing our decisions, says Andrea Donsky, co-author of "Unjunk Your Junk Food," a guide to replacing your favourite snacks with healthier alternatives. After testing out hundreds of brands of junk foods, the authors came up with a final list of popular foods like Snickers and Canada Dry, and their healthier alternatives.

"We wanted to make sure people were reading the ingredients," Donsky says.

The products in book were presented in such a way, that when it came to fat and calories, they were very similar.

"We found out that 80 per cent of people say they read labels, but only half understand what they're reading," Donsky says.

As a result, the authors created a chart of the "worst ingredients," including artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners, to name a few.

This book is particularly helpful for parents who know they can't protect kids from sugary villains forever. Most will find ways to eat sugar at school, birthday parties or when they make new friends, Donsky says. But change should start at home.

We listed some of our favourite alternative junk food choices from the book and included the pitfalls and benefits. The product on the right is the healthier option.

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