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The 14 Healthiest Junk Foods (For When You Simply Have No Choice)

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Written by Jill Ettinger

Hopefully we always have choices when it comes to eating, but you know how it goes -- extra innings, delayed flight, a friend's barbecue. Whether we consider ourselves healthy eaters or not, we've all likely found ourselves somewhat stranded with few appealing nibbles. And, if Fritos, Doritos and Cheetos give you anxiety, you may find yourself uncomfortably hungry and even worse -- appearing antisocial. But guzzling down junk food that's going to make you feel awful is no solution. So, what do you eat when the healthy options are slim pickings?

Snacks

A party may often include a veggie or fruit tray -- that's a no brainer, of course. Skip the gloppy white dips, and see if somewhere else at the party there's a bowl of fresh guacamole, hummus or salsa to dress your veggies with.

Grab a handful of pretzels. Most contain a few ingredients: flour, barley malt and salt. If you don't have a wheat allergy, these are a healthier choice than the fried and most-likely genetically modified corn chips. Avoid the flavored and soft pretzels as they can contain artificial and bad-for-you ingredients.

Nuts are often hiding in a bowl at the edge of the bar or even at the stadium concession stand. They can keep you feeling full a lot longer than the junk foods, and the healthy benefits of nuts like almonds, peanuts (or if you're lucky, macadamias) far outweigh the salt they may be swimming in.

Use your spidey senses to sniff out the dark chocolate. Chocolate is a nutrient-dense powerhouse that can also keep you feeling full, and it will boost your mood, which is especially helpful if there's not much else you can eat.

Meals

Fast food is generally the kiss of death for the healthy foodie. But you can get creative and even a bit healthy when there's no other option. Keep an eye out for the chain Chipotle. Their entire menu is based on local ingredients, hormone free meats and pasture-raised dairy. Plus, they have terrific veggie options.

In a real pinch, you can grab a baked potato from Wendy's, minus all the toppings, and always check the salad option. Skip dressings and ask for lemons instead. You'll be surprised at how good this tastes when you're starving!

Some chains even offer veggie burgers, although you may want to avoid GMO-soy, which most veggie burgers are made of.

Drinks

Sodas -- even (or especially) diet -- are unhealthy for you (if you want to know what is in diet soda, check out Top 10 Reasons to Banish Soda). Grab a beer instead. They're lower in sugars than sodas and can contain fewer artificial ingredients. Plus, recent studies show beer has health benefits, too.

Many soda fountains now serve unsweetened ice teas if you don't mind a little caffeine. Of course, water is always a perfectly healthy choice available everywhere.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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