15 healthy alternatives to junk food | CookSmarts (2023)

From snack foods to sugary ice cream cones, the taste of junk food can be very tempting. Luckily, we've found 15 healthy junk food alternatives that are just right for you.jEat healthy and feel good!

  • Von Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • 30. May 2018

Summer is coming and we all know what that means: shorts, tank tops, pool parties and days at the beach. Whether you're looking for "bikini body" weight loss tips or just trying to stay healthy in the midst of summertime activities, our healthy junk food recipes can help. Check out 15 alternative snacks for weight loss below!

15 healthy alternatives to junk food | CookSmarts (1)

If you want to eat salty

Chips and fries are classic junk foods that are quick and easy to eat. And they're delicious, there's no getting around that. However, potato chips and fries are high in fat and starchy carbohydrates, two things that need to be monitored for a healthy diet. In addition, they are often fried.

Try roasting low-carb vegetables. If you choose to cook in the oven, it's easy to control the amount of oil and salt you use to keep your veggies healthier.

1. Kale chips instead of french fries

Replace fries withKohl Chips.Using veggies will make your fries significantly lower in fat and more nutritious, but still give you that satisfying crunch. You can even bake your fries in all your favorite flavors like Classic (oil, salt, and pepper), Sea Salt and Vinegar (self-explanatory!), Cheesy (vegan cashew cheese drizzle or nutritional yeast chips), or Barbecue. (Capsicum, chilli powder, garlic powder, brown sugar and dry mustard).

To emulate the convenience of individual bags, break up your healthy potato chips into small bags for a crunchy, salty treat on the go.

2. Baked veggie fries instead of french fries

Forget fries and opt for grilled veggie fries instead.Vegetarian fries may have the same crispy, fluffy texture as regular fries, but they're a lot healthier! Cooking vegetables in the oven is easy, and this way you can get a variety of nutrients from roasted carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.


Baked potatoes in the oven

For our oven baked fries, we use a high temperature method of roasting vegetables! No oil, no frying, just crispy,…Continue reading.

Plus, by making french fries at home, you can create a flavorful sauce that no chain restaurant can match. Try our community favoriteAdobo-Honig-Sauceor make your own aioli with simple ingredients! Whisk together the mayonnaise, fresh garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, and lemon juice to form a lemon aioli. Or add a touch of heat by mixing together mayo, chipotle powder, garlic powder, lime juice, and chopped cilantro for a chipotle aioli.

if you have a sweet tooth

You can get candy anywhere, making it all the harder to resist. The bad news is that the sugar, fat, and carb content in candy is no joke and is definitely no friend to anyone trying to lose weight or eat healthily. An easy way to enjoy sweets without compromising your health is to use natural sugars (fruits, honey, maple syrup) and find wheat-free options.

3. Yoghurt and fruit bars instead of ice cream

Skip the ice cream and opt for fruity frozen yogurt or dark chocolate banana popsicles instead.Ice cream isn't the only way to fix your sundae. If you're in a creamy mood,Mix chopped fruit into your favorite yogurtand place in the freezer for a few hours. If you need a little chocolate in your life, dip bananas in melted 80% dark chocolate (ormake your own chocolate!) and put in the freezer.

(Video) 5 Alternatives to Junk Food

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

4. Power Balls > Donuts

Skip the donut shops in favor of quick, no-bake bites. power ballsThey are super easy to prepare in the kitchen. They're packed with protein and their soft texture can make you feel the same as eating donuts.

5. Black bean brownies instead of cake

Forget cakes and cupcakes and enjoy without flourBlack bean brownieinstead of.This might sound a bit strange, but we challenge you to do something this weekend! See, the main thing in brownies is chocolate, and if you use the right amount of cocoa powder, you won't even notice the beans.

6. Homemade smoothies instead of milkshakes

Skip the smoothies and indulge in homemade smoothies. When it's hot outside and you're in the mood for a thick, cold dessert, go for the healthy sweet fruit option. But if you want a healthy smoothie that tastes more like a traditional smoothie, ours isOatmeal and Peanut Butter SmoothieIt's packed with protein and nutrients while retaining a rich, creamy sweetness. Learn how to make your best smoothies with our free recipe book here:


Inspiration for your best smoothie

Enjoy 4 delicious and healthy smoothie recipes to sweeten your morning or give you energy in the afternoon.

Make your morning smooth and sweet

Get delicious and healthy inspiration: create the best smoothies ever.

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7. Chocolate dipped nuts instead of candy

Instead of eating sweets, eat nuts or fruits covered in chocolate.The main attraction of candy is the texture and combination of flavors. Dip in nuts or fruithomemade chocolate(or melted dark chocolate if you're short on time!), you can get the flavors and textures you really like by removing all the unnatural ingredients found in all commercial candies.

(Video) 15 Healthy Food Swaps (Eat This. Not That!)

If you want something crunchy, dip in your favorite nuts (you can always cut them in half to save on calories!) and let them harden in the freezer. If you like chewy candy, use raisins or other dried fruit. When you can't wait for the freezer to work its magic, simply dip some fresh fruit in your hot chocolate and call it a day.

8. Fruity sparkling water instead of soda

Say goodbye to soft drinks and hello to fruit fizzy water.Whether you drink regular or diet soda, both contain chemicals and coloring that are not good for your body. For the refreshing satisfaction of a fizzy drink, lightly puree and puree fresh fruit in sparkling water, or squeeze fruit juice for a naturally sweet drink.

If you fancy fast food

Fast food is often the first thing that comes to mind when you're stressed and want a quick, tasty meal. Unfortunately, choosing fried or high-carb foods is never healthy and will not help you lose weight. When making homemade versions, you can skip the fryer and use a lot less oil, sodium, and sugar. The good news is that there are plenty of quick recipes that will get healthy food on the table in no time.

9. Homemade "fake out" instead of Chinese takeout

Instead of eating Chinese food, prepare your own Chinese food in the kitchen.We have several quick Chinese-inspired dinner recipes like ours,Von General TsoÖ. All of these recipes have gluten-free, vegetarian, and paleo options, and are ready in under 40 minutes (that's how long it takes to get to and from your favorite restaurant). If you want some fried rice with your meal, just usecauliflower riceinstead of!


How to make sweet and sour fried chicken

This healthier version of the grab-and-go favorite that often includes fried chicken brightens things up without sacrificing flavor.

10. Pizza without dough instead of pizza delivery service

Make pizza without dough.You can still enjoy all of the spicy, cheesy goodness of pizza without the carbs. Ourstuffed zucchini pizzajPizza PortobelloThey're delicious low-carb options that pack a lot more nutrients than regular pizzas. If you really miss the crust, try oursFlatbread with radish, arugula and goat cheese. It's packed with veggies and has about 400 calories per serving.


How to make Stuffed Zucchini Pizza

This low-carb version of pizza means you can eat more veggies while enjoying all the flavors of a good pizza.

11. Bunless burgers instead of traditional burgers

Choose to make your burgers thinner and greener.For a heart-healthy burger, you can easily use a lean meat (turkey, chicken, salmon) or veggie burger and omit the cheese. To cut carbs, swap out the buns for lettuce, portobello, or round yams.

Learn how to make healthy homemade burgersand get inspired by 20 of our favorite burger combos with these infographics:

(Video) 20 Effortless Healthy Food Swaps To Cut Thousands Of Calories


Definitive guide to burgers

Build the perfect burger

Ultimate Burger Guide: To prepare a tasty burger.

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Learn everything you need to know to build a delicious burger.


20 burger combinations

Build the perfect burger

Ultimate Burger Guide: To prepare a tasty burger.

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Enjoy a variety of burgers all year round with our favorite burger combos to suit all tastes.

(Video) 10 Healthy Food Swaps You Never Thought To Try

12. Baked chicken wings instead of fried chicken wings

Get your fried chicken with healthy tenders or falafel.our ovenPanko crusted chicken stripsThey're quick, tasty, and still allow you to enjoy crunchy treats without the high fat content of fried foods.Bake falafelIt's also a great option when you're in the mood for a delicious fried meal.

Also, chicken wings are a staple for lounging and watching a game, but they really aren't hip-friendly. Try ourFried chicken wingsRecipe for a healthier way to enjoy the flavors you know and love.


How to make crispy baked chicken wings

Fried chicken wings are a game day favorite and make a fun meal. Roast them in the oven for a lighter twist and serve them in a delicious, flavorful, savory sauce!

13. Burrito Bowls statt Burritos

Enjoy the burritos without the tortilla.with ourChicken Burrito Bowl, you can go flourless and slightly adjust the amount of cheese and sour cream you use. Ourpaleolithic versionit's about 200 fewer calories because dairy and corn are left out. Ourvegetarian variantAlso cut calories by swapping out meat for healthy beans.

If you fancy something creamy

Sometimes you just want creamy, flavorful junk food, and it's hard to find good low-fat ones. Luckily, there are ways to indulge yourself a little without ruining your diet.

14. Low-calorie macaroni and cheese instead of traditional macaroni and cheese

Reduce the amount of cheese in your macaroni and cheese.Gone are the days of powdered cheese and fattening sauces! Replacing some of the cheese sauce with pumpkin puree or sweet potato soup will significantly reduce the fat content of your meal and add vitamins to your dinner. Try ourBaked Macaroni and Cheese recipe, which swaps half the cheese sauce for a hearty mashed pumpkin soup.

15. Healthy sauces instead of full-fat sauces

Swap fattening sauces for healthy sauces.It's common for sauces to go with fries, crackers, and veggies, and we'll admit it's a great idea. But instead of having sour cream or cheese-based sauces on the table, opt for themTzatzikior even a new oneMango-Sauce.

Now that you have a list of healthy junk food alternatives, you can move on to a fit summer without missing out on the fun.

(Video) 20 Healthy Food Swaps | Easy Food Life Hacks

Do you have a favorite low carb snack or favorite junk food substitute that isn't on our list? Add the comments below!

As always, we're here to help you live your best, healthiest life in the kitchen, so join our culinary community by subscribing to our newsletter below. We'll send you great cooking tips and resources to help you boost your kitchen IQ and cook with confidence.


What are healthy alternatives to junk food? ›

Healthy Food Alternatives to Junk Food
  • Fresh Juice.
  • Dried Fruits.
  • Homemade Smoothies.
  • Veggie Chips (Crisps)
  • Nice Cream.
  • Sugar-Free Lemonade.
  • Lemon Water.
  • Dark Chocolate.

What are the 10 most healthy foods? ›

Top 10 Foods for Health
  1. Water. Drink 8 to 12 cups of water daily.
  2. Dark Green Vegetables. Eat dark green vegetables at least three to four times a week. ...
  3. Whole Grains. Eat whole grains sat least two or three times daily. ...
  4. Beans and Lentils. Try to eat a bean-based meal at least once a week. ...
  5. Fish. ...
  6. Berries. ...
  7. Winter Squash. ...
  8. Soy.

Can you give examples of alternatives to junk food? ›

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.

What are 10 junk foods? ›

  • Big Mac.
  • Coca-Cola.
  • Twinkies.
  • Oreos.
  • Pop Tarts.
  • Pizza Hut Pizza.
  • KFC Fried Chicken.
  • M&M's.
Nov 4, 2019

What are 7 healthy snacks? ›

Here are seven healthy snack ideas you can try:
  • Fresh fruits. Apples. Pears. Oranges. ...
  • Dried fruits. Apricots. Raisins. Dates. ...
  • Fresh vegetables (serve with hummus for a more appealing snack) Sign up for Cold & Flu alerts from. How bad is the flu near you? ...
  • Peanut butter on toast.
  • Tuna on toast.
  • Hard-boiled eggs.
  • Yogurt with fruit.
Nov 1, 2021

What is a better alternative to eating processed food? ›

Eating more plant foods like vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds and less processed foods will do wonders for your health and risk of heart disease.

What are the 25 healthiest foods? ›

Top 25 Healthy Foods to Include in Your Diet Program
  1. Avocados. Rich, creamy avocados are one of the top healthy foods for replacing simple carbohydrates. ...
  2. Bananas. Bananas are one of the healthiest fruits loaded with fiber and potassium. ...
  3. Blueberries. ...
  4. Apples. ...
  5. Strawberries. ...
  6. Lemons. ...
  7. Broccoli. ...
  8. Cucumber.
Jan 23, 2019

What are the 5 healthy alternatives? ›

Tips for healthy food substitutes
  • Use applesauce instead of oil when baking. ...
  • Eat brown rice instead of white rice. ...
  • Use egg whites instead of whole eggs. ...
  • Choose multigrain or whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta. ...
  • Select low-fat cheese over full-fat cheese.

What are some alternative snacks? ›

Healthy Snack Alternatives
  • String cheese or cheese cubes and whole-grain crackers.
  • Hummus and whole-wheat pita bread.
  • Carrots, pepper strips, and celery sticks (sometimes with ranch dressing to dip)
  • Edamame (soy beans) and sweet cherry tomatoes.
Jul 23, 2018

What is an alternative for food? ›

Plant-based materials — soy, wheat, peas, etc. — and plant-based alternatives to animal products — 'milks' and meat — have a long history in many cultures. In recent years, their popularity has expanded as consumers begin to adopt them through personal choice — for example, vegetarians and vegans.

What is avoid junk food? ›

Junk food describes food and drinks low in nutrients (e.g. vitamins, minerals and fibre) and high in kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugar and/or added salt. Eating too much junk food is linked to serious health problems. Junk foods are not a necessary part of any diet.

What are 5 examples of junk food? ›

Some examples of junk food include:
  • cakes and biscuits.
  • fast foods (such as hot chips, burgers and pizzas)
  • chocolate and sweets.
  • processed meat (such as bacon)
  • snacks (such as chips)
  • sugary drinks (such as sports, energy and soft drinks)
  • alcoholic drinks.

What is a yummy healthy snack? ›

Hummus + raw veggies. Ham and cheese roll-up in a whole wheat tortilla. Protein bar + raw veggies. Greek yogurt + berries + granola.

What are 6 healthy snacks? ›

Tips for Healthy Snacking
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Frozen fruit.
  • Fruits canned in water or their own juice.
  • Whole grain bread, crackers and cereals.
  • Lower fat yogurt.
  • Lower fat cheese.
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds and their butters.
  • Hummus.
Mar 1, 2021

How can I eat clean for a week? ›

The Eat-Clean principles are:
  1. Eat six small meals a day.
  2. Eat breakfast every day, within an hour of getting up.
  3. Eat lean protein and complex carbohydrates at every meal.
  4. Have two or three servings of healthy fats every day.
  5. Get fiber, vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Mar 19, 2021

How to do clean eating? ›

9 Ways to Eat Clean
  1. Pick Whole Foods. 1/9. ...
  2. Eat More Whole Grains. 2/9. ...
  3. Load Up on Fruits and Veggies. 3/9. ...
  4. Watch Out for Salt and Added Sugar. 4/9. ...
  5. Skip Artificial Ingredients. 5/9. ...
  6. Sip Plenty of Water. 6/9. ...
  7. Rethink Alcohol and Caffeine. 7/9. ...
  8. Decide If You'll Go Organic. 8/9.
Feb 22, 2022

What is clean eating meal plan? ›

What Is a Clean Eating Meal Plan? A clean eating meal plan includes tons of fresh fruits and veggies, high-fiber whole grains and legumes, healthy fats and lean proteins (like fish and chicken). It skips added sugars and keeps fats that can damage our heart when we eat too much to a minimum (think saturated fats).

Is it OK to avoid junk food completely? ›

The combination of fat and sugar make junk foods addicting and easy to overconsume. Still, completely avoiding them may not be beneficial. Enjoying your favorite treat on occasion is a more healthful and sustainable approach for most people. If you're worried about trigger foods, talk to a healthcare professional.

What is the least harmful junk food? ›

They're not as bad as some of the other options out there, but they're still bad.
If You Have To Eat Junk Food, What Are The Least Unhealthy...
  • Graham Crackers. ...
  • Chocolate. ...
  • Sweet Potato Fries. ...
  • Tortilla Chips. ...
  • Oatmeal Cookies.
Aug 10, 2022


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