Sometimes they strike when you least expect them, leaving you desperately raiding your cupboard for something to satisfy them. Usually, those unexpected cravings end with you grabbing something quick and convenient—and probably not all that healthy (we’ve all been there).
But eating junk food whenever cravings hit can slow you down with processed sugars and fats that make you feel bloated and sluggish thanks to their lack of nutritional benefits. Swapping these foods for healthier alternatives satisfies your cravings while being much kinder to your body.
Ready to kick your unhealthy food cravings with some (still delicious) junk food substitutes?
We’ve found the best junk food alternatives and recipes so you can get your snack on, guilt-free!
6 Healthier Alternatives To Your Favourite Junk Food
- Swap: Candy for Dried Fruit
If you have a sweet tooth, that package of gummy snacks might be your go-to. Before you tear that package open with your teeth (again, we’ve all been there), try dried fruit instead!
Dried fruit is sweet without too much added sugar. It’s also gelatin-free so it’s vegan-friendly if that’s something you’re looking for.
Many bulk food stores have a whole section dedicated to dried fruit, so go wild. (Bonus: bulk buying is usually cheaper, too). Grab a bag of your favourite fruits, like dried apricots, raisins, or cranberries. You may even come across dehydrated fruits like strawberries, apples, and bananas. Have a small variety of fruits (and flavours) on hand for when that candy craving strikes.
You can try making your own dried fruit snacks with this recipe from @createplaytravel.
- Swap: Chips for Carrots or Kale Chips
You need something crunchy and you need it now. Chips are tasty, but you can do so much better for yourself.
Instead, make a snack like carrots with homemade dip so you can control what ingredients go into it. Keep a container of carrots in the fridge with some homemade dip at the ready. Try @thefirstmess’ vegan and dairy-free Creamy Kale Pesto White Bean Dip to dunk those carrots in.
Kale chips are another delicious and healthy way to get your salty snack cravings under control. They’re versatile, super easy to make, and let you control how much salt you’re eating while still giving you that satisfying crunch. Check out this recipe from @minimalistbaker and make some for yourself!
- Swap: French Fries for Veggie Fries
French fries are a huge comfort food staple but they’re so unhealthy. They’re usually cooked in hydrogenated oil which contains a lot of trans fats.
If you’re having trouble giving up your fave fried snack, give veggie fries a try and you might fall in love! Making your own variation of french fries lets you cook them in healthier ways. Cut carrots, parsnips, and/or sweet potatoes in fry-shapes, spread them on a baking sheet, bake, and snack to your heart’s content. You can even brush them lightly with avocado oil and sprinkle a little sea salt on them to enhance their natural flavour.
Try @keepupwithliv’s Delicata Squash Fries!
- Swap: Cake/Brownies for Black Bean Brownies
Black bean brownies sound weird, but trust us. These brownies are packed with protein and fibre that you don’t get from your typical baked treat, making them perfect for guilt-free snacking.
Using black beans as a base for brownies makes them richer without adding excess calories and carbs. They are also gluten-free and dairy-free so you can enjoy them without worrying about any ingredient sensitivities.
Follow @joyfoodsunshine’s Black Bean Brownie recipe and you may eat the whole pan of brownies, we won’t judge.
- Swap: Milkshakes for Fruit/Veggie Smoothies
Sometimes a thick and rich chocolate milkshake really hits the spot, but the heaviness of the treat can weigh you down and make you feel sluggish. There’s also not much nutritional value in your basic milkshake, so it’s not doing you any favours.
Smoothies are a clever way to satisfy your craving for a sweet and creamy treat without all the extra sugar and dairy. You can put almost anything in a smoothie—including fruits, veggies, greens, and other sweet or savoury ingredients—to get vital nutrients while satisfying your craving.
Try making a smoothie with peanut butter, bananas, and chia seeds to give you sweet without the heaviness. Or you can try this Iced Matcha Latte from @sweetpeasandsaffron.
You can also try one of our delicious cold pressed organic smoothies to satisfy your sweet tooth and give your body the nutritional benefits it deserves.
- Swap: Soda for Kombucha (Or Better Yet, Water)
Fizzy carbonated sodas can be so refreshing—and addictive. It’s no secret that sodas are packed with refined sugars and preservatives, but we still crave the fizz.
Instead of reaching for a can of soda, try kombucha. This fermented tea has the carbonation and a little bit of sweetness but contains antioxidants and probiotics to keep your gut happy. Check out all the different flavours our friends at Booch Organic Kombucha make and enjoy a tasty treat.
If you really want to get on the healthy living train, swap soda for water. Ideally, swapping out soda and other fizzy drinks for water is best for keeping your body healthy and hydrated. Plus. staying properly hydrated also helps reduce cravings, which is why we’re all here, isn’t it?
It’s a tough jump to make, but slowly cutting out soda for water will reduce your sugar intake and hydrate your body. Pro tip: add a slice of lemon or cucumber to your water to make it a little more exciting.
We Know The Struggle
Remember to listen to your body. We’re all for treating ourselves once in a while. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up snacking, it just means reaching for healthier alternatives.
What are your go-to junk food alternatives? Share this post and let us know by tagging @pulpandpress on Facebook or Twitter.