How to Celebrate National Junk Food Day in a DIY Way

If you're like most people, you spend 365 days out of the year watching what you eat. But what if just one day out of the year you not only had special dispensation to indulge, but were actually encouraged...

If you're like most people, you spend 365 days out of the year watching what you eat. But what if just one day out of the year you not only had special dispensation to indulge, but were actually encouraged to do so? Well, that day may not be as far off into the future as you think. Because as it turns out, July 21st is National Junk Food Day -- an unbeatable opportunity to get your snack on. Let's take a closer look at this annual observation, along with some tips for celebrating in scrumptious style.

National junk food day

Your favorite junk foods are waiting.

Introducing... National Junk Food Day

Chips. Burgers. Fries. Cookies. Cake. Pizza. What do all of these things have in common? These delicious-but-not-nutritious foods fall into the category of "junk food," and are frequent temptations for healthy-minded Americans.

What makes "junk food" "junk"? Typically, these options are high in sugars, fats, salt and calories and low in nutritional value. They're also usually high in flavor -- making them the go-to choice for millions of people looking for something to nosh on when hunger strikes.

Junk-Food, Gourmet Style

But the truth is that junk food doesn't have to be so, well, junky. Read on for three recipes aimed at embracing your inner junk food lover...with a tastier, homemade twist.

1. Spicy Sweet Potato Chips

Instead of heading to the grocery store to grab the nearest bag of processed chips, why not bake up a batch of your own? Just 10 minutes of prep work and 10 minutes of baking time lead to crispy, crunchy snack food delight.

One tip for getting uniform cuts so your chips will all bake evenly to perfection? Use a mandolin.

National junk food day

Make-your-own-chips in 20 minutes? Yes, please!

An added bonus? The swapping in of sweet potatoes for white potatoes amps up the nutritional value.

2. Tennessee Burger with Bourbon and BBQ Sauce

While a fast food hamburger may be full of mysterious, less-than-appealing ingredients, a homemade version promises to deliver all of the flavor you're looking for without the fast food guilt. Our pick? The Southern-inspired Tennessee Burger with Bourbon and BBQ Sauce. And did we happen to mention the bacon?

Need more help executing the perfect burger? Cooking Light breaks it down into three simple steps.

3. Chocolate Cupcakes With Cream Filling

Perhaps nothing says "snack food" quite like the Hostess Cupcake. Thanks to the New York Times, you can back up your own version of this black and white classic at home. (Cellophane wrap optional.)

While making these yummy snack cakes does take some time, the end results are well worth the effort. Plus, it's the perfect opportunity to perfect your piping skills.

National Junk Food Day only comes around once a year. Why celebrate with ordinary edibles when you can make your own extraordinary eats? Browse grillware, bakeware, and so much more at Cilantro The Cooks Shop to get started today.