Healthy Alternatives to Junk Food

Healthy Alternatives to Junk Food

With summer just around the corner and we all know that means – shorts, tank tops, pool parties, and beach days. Whether you’re looking for “bikini body” weight loss tips or simply trying to stay healthy in the midst of summer activities, our healthy junk food recipes can help you out. Check out 15 alternative snacks for weight loss below!

When You’re Craving Salty
Potato chips and french fries are classic go-to junk foods that are quick and easy to grab. And they are delicious – there’s no getting around that fact. However, chips and fries are very high in fat and starchy carbs, two things that need to be kept in check for a healthy diet. Plus, they are usually deep-fried.

Instead, try baking low-carb vegetables. When you opt for the oven, it is easy to control the amount of oil and salt you use while sticking to healthier veggies.

1. Kale Chips instead of Potato Chips

Replace potato chips with kale chips. Using greens makes your chips have significantly fewer grams of fat and more nutritional value, but still gives you that satisfying crunch. You can even bake your chips in all of your favorite flavors like Classic (oil, salt, and pepper), Sea Salt and Vinegar (self explanatory!), Cheesy (drizzles of vegan cashew cheese or sprinkles of nutritional yeast), or BBQ (paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, and dry mustard).

To replicate the convenience of individual sized bags, portion your healthy chips in little baggies for a crisp and salty treat on the go.

2. Baked Veggie Fries instead of French Fries

Forgo french fries and favor roasted veggie fries. Veggie fries can have the same crispy-yet-soft texture as traditional french fries, but they are so much healthier! Popping veggies in the oven is simple and this way you can get a variety of nutrients from baked carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.

When You’re Craving Sweet
You can get sweets everywhere, which makes them that much harder to resist. The bad news is that the sugar, fat, and carb count in sweets is no joke and definitely not a friend to anyone trying to lose weight or eat healthy. An easy way to enjoy the sweet without compromising on health is to stick with natural sugars (fruits, honey, maple syrup) and find wheat-free options.

3. Yogurt Fruit Pops instead of Ice Cream

Avoid ice cream and embrace fruity frozen yogurt or dark chocolate covered banana pops. Ice cream is not the only way to get your frozen dessert fix. If you’re in a creamy mood, mix diced fruit into your favorite yogurt and stick it in the freezer for a couple hours. If you need a little chocolate in your life, dip bananas in melted 80% dark chocolate (or make your own chocolate!) and pop them in the freezer.

The great thing about making your own frozen desserts is that you control the sweetness, and you can make large batches that stay good for months in the freezer.

4. Power Balls > Donuts

Stay away from donut shops in favor of no-bake energy bites. Power balls are super fast to whip up in the kitchen. They are protein-packed and their soft texture can give you the same feeling of eating donut holes.

5. Black Bean Brownies instead of Cakes

Pass up cakes and cupcakes and enjoy flourless black bean brownies instead. Now this may sound a little odd, but we dare you to try making some this weekend! You see, the main thing about brownies is the chocolate, and using the right amount of cocoa powder makes you not even notice the beans.

6. Homemade Smoothies instead of Milkshakes

Run from milkshakes and into the arms of homemade smoothies. When it’s hot outside and you are craving a thick cold dessert, turn to the healthy choice of sweet fruits. But, if you’re craving a healthy smoothie that tastes more like a traditional milkshake, our Peanut Butter Oat Smoothie is packed with protein and nutrients while maintaining a rich and creamy sweetness.

7. Chocolate-Dipped Nuts instead of Candy

Instead of eating candy, munch on chocolate-dipped nuts or fruits. The main draw of candy is the texture and combo of flavors. By dipping nuts or fruit in homemade chocolate (or melted dark chocolate if you are short on time!), you can get the flavors and consistencies you really enjoy while cutting out all of the unnatural ingredients pumped into all commercial candies.

If you want a crunch, dip your favorite nuts (you can always dip half-way to reduce calories!) and let them harden in the freezer. If you love chewy candies, use raisins or other dried fruits. If you can’t wait for the freezer to do its magic, simply dip fresh fruit in your warm chocolate and call it a day.

8. Fruity Sparkling Water instead of Soda

Say goodbye to soda and hello to sparkling water with fruit. Whether you drink regular or diet sodas, they both have chemicals and dyes that are not good for the body. To get the refreshing satisfaction of a fizzy beverage, lightly crush and mix fresh fruit into sparkling water or squeeze in fruit juice for a naturally sweet drink.

When You’re Craving Fast Food
Fast food is often the first thing that comes to mind when you are stressed and want a quick and tasty meal. Unfortunately, picking up food that is fried or carb-heavy is never healthy and won’t help you slim down. When you make homemade versions instead, you can skip the deep-fryer, and use much less oil, sodium, and sugar. The great thing is that there are many quick recipes that will get healthy food on the table in a jiffy.

9. Homemade “Fake-Out” instead of Chinese Take-Out

Instead of chowing down on Chinese take-out, cook up your own Chinese food in the kitchen. We have several quick recipes for Chinese-inspired dinners, such as our Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken or Hot & Sour Soup. All of these recipes have gluten-free, vegetarian, and Paleo options and take less than 40 minutes to prepare (which is about how long it will take to drive to and from your favorite take-out place). If you want some fried rice to go with your meal, simply use cauliflower rice instead!