10 Healthy Junk Food Examples for When You Have the Cravings

Healthy junk food sounds like a pretty paradoxical term, given that at its core, junk food refers to pre-packaged food offering minimum nutritional value. But humor us, even if just for the sake of this useful article we have prepared for you. Are you ready to tackle your cravings with some healthy snacks?

First, let us deliver the good news. According to some recent studies, Americans do eat healthier foods now than they did two decades ago. Meanwhile, the organic trend is flourishing each year, as U.S. consumers buy more and more of it. In a new Harris poll, 56 percent of Americans said they buy organic food because they think it’s healthier. Fruits and veggies—the biggest winners among organics—account for more than 12 percent of overall produce sales.

But you deserve to know the bad as well. Even though the fresh and organic food movement is gaining traction, the amount of junk food Americans consume has also seen a huge spike. Daily choices can help us improve out eating habits, so here are 10 ways you can give up some junk in your diet. Keep these swaps handy for a healthier lifestyle!

Fast Food vs. Healthy Choices

The things we eat have a huge influence on our overall health. And even though some fast food chains have begun to offer healthier meals—such as McDonald’s choice to sell kale—eating out is, more often than not, a terribly unhealthy choice. With so many fast food restaurants in the U.S. alone (McDonald’s has 35,000, Burger King 14,000, Wendy’s 6,500, and Taco Bell 6,200), it is incredibly easy to rely on the junk food industry and never have to cook again.

Given the high rates of obesity across the nation, cutting back on the junk food addiction is unbelievably hard. Not to mention that home-cooked meals – as delicious as they can be – are much more time-consuming and require more effort. Therefore, many people find it difficult to even imagine life without fast food.

Even when we plan to eat more sensibly, we still crave our favorite junk foods. That’s why we plan to offer you today some of the easiest yet healthiest snacks you can cook at home. Our recipes try to limit salt, fat, and sugar content, but don’t be fooled – healthy junk food can still be tasty! As a rule of thumb, try to incorporate fruit and whole grains in your snacks.

1. Potato Chips vs Kale Chips

It’s tempting to fill your pantry with delicious bags of potato chips, but why not try kale chips instead? You might not even be such a big fan of kale, but kale chips are actually not that bad. If you really want to avoid kale, other vegetables make crunchy veggie chips, too. Some of the most popular veggie chips recipes include Zucchini chips, carrot chips, and eggplant chips (Spoon University has some great ideas on how best season these tasty snacks).

Baked carrot chips / Source

2. Banana-split Sundae vs Sliced Bananas

Banana-splits are notorious for being sugar-infused, so we have a healthier option for you. It requires minimum ingredients and it takes less than 3 minute to prepare it. Slice bananas, add some whipped cream, and sprinkle caramel and slivered almonds on top. The bananas have a healthy potassium content that maintains fluid balance in your body, while the almonds make your skin glow.

3. Apple Pie vs Baked Apples

Apple pies are life, we know it, but they’re also so, so unhealthy for you – especially if you buy them. They contain a lot of transfats, as well as some very fake apple filling (more often than not). Why not try baked apples instead? Simply bake a small apple and top it with 2 tablespoons of low-fat plain yogurt. For maximum tastiness, add a drizzle of cinnamon. It offers the same tart deliciousness but without the fatty butter!

4. Potato Chips & Dip vs Pita Chips & Hummus

No party or movie night can survive without potato chips and dip, am I right? But when you start to be more aware of what you eat, you could replace them with their healthier cousins, pita chips and hummus. The whole-grain chips usually have fewer saturated fats, while the hummus is filled with protein. Dig in!

5. Deli Pizza vs Homemade Pizza

Just one slice of the pizza you ordered last night contains 275 calories and 22 percent of your daily saturated fat. And we bet you didn’t eat only one slice. Therefore, homemade pizza may be a better and healthier choice. For a rich fiber content, use frozen whole-wheat dough. Cut back on unhealthy saturated fats by using part-skim mozzarella, and sprinkle veggies on top for antioxidants. Chicken strips or pre-cooked shrimp could also help you beat that craving in style.

6. French Fries vs Sweet Potato Fries

Americans love their French fries to death. But what about their slightly healthier brother – sweet potato fries? They’re so easy to prepare! Just drizzle some olive oil on the sliced sweet potatoes and bake them at 425° Fahrenheit for around 30 minutes. Sweet potatoes contain less bad fat and provide you with 20/20 vision due to the beta-carotene.

7. Candy vs Trail Mix

Candy is bad for your body in so many ways! We recommend you replace it with homemade trail mix bags. Use snack-sized plastic baggies to combine chocolate chips, almonds, and dried fruit. This healthy snack delivers high-quality carbs and fats whenever you want to satisfy a sweet craving. You can also replace candy with fruit, which comes with lots of natural sugars. Frozen grapes, for example, can be a handy snack that lasts for weeks.

8. Cheesecake vs Greek Yogurt

Cheesecake might be the best dessert ever invented, but you know how sugary it can get. Instead, we recommend combining low-fat Greek yogurt with any fresh fruit you have around the house (such as strawberries or blueberries). Sprinkle graham cracker crumbles on top, and enjoy without guilt!

9. Ice Cream vs Vegan Ice Cream

Ice cream is amazing but the nutritional content is less than great. Instead of scooping out ice cream for dinner, try vegan “ice cream.” You probably won’t even have to go to the store, because the vegan version is made of blended frozen bananas and a few simple ingredients. Thanks to the many different variations you can find online, you’ll never get tired of it.

10. Pudding vs Chia Seed Pudding

Your favorite pudding can easily be swapped with this chia seed pudding. Chia seeds soaked overnight in almond milk tastes just as good! The proof is the chia dessert that has a delicious pudding consistency.

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Pablo Rodriguez
 

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