Making the decision to change your diet for the better is almost never easy. Learning how to curb cravings and say “no” to your guilty pleasures are two of the hardest parts of adopting healthy eating habits. To help you along the road to a slimmer waistline and a better body all around, here are some healthy substitutes for 10 of our all time favorite “junk” foods which still offer great taste without the guilt.
Everything about pizza is tempting, from the satisfaction we get by biting into a slice to all of the myriad greasy, delicious toppings it can hold. But this is one food that health-conscious eaters know they need to avoid. Try some of these healthy alternatives including portobello mushroom mini-pizzas, meatball (or meatless) sliders, quinoa-polenta mini-pizzas, and pizza fish parmigiana.
Or if you just can’t seem to shake those pizza cravings, try making your own pie instead of ordering out. Use fresh ingredients and whole grain crust to cut back on a lot of the excess fat and chemical food additives often found in delivery and store-bought varieties.
The cheeseburger is another all-time favorite food that most of us don’t want to give up but probably should. You may be surprised to know that a burger made without the fatty ground beef and cheese can be just as satisfying (if not more) than the classic we all know and love. The next time you feel the need for a beef and cheddar burger, try out one of these 25 tasty substitutes instead. Some of the highlights: homemade black bean burgers, sweet potato and avocado burgers, turkey burgers with spinach, jalapeno chicken burgers, and salmon burgers with yogurt dill sauce.
While potatoes by themselves aren’t particularly bad for you, mashed potatoes full of butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon definitely top the list of ‘foods to be avoided’. Instead of reaching for your favorite fluffy white side dish, try out a few of these healthy potato salads and potato salad substitutes instead:
Cooked Broccoli Salad with egg, onion, garlic and parsley;
Healthy Potato Salad with onion, basil, arugula and lemon;
22 Potato Salad Recipes lightened up and full of flavor!
Macaroni & Cheese
Just the sight of homemade Macaroni & cheese is enough to make most people’s mouths water. Sadly, this delicious comfort food favorite is full of fat and carbohydrates that can wreak absolute havoc on your health. Instead of the traditional white pasta, butter and cheese variety, try out a few of these 26 delicious and healthy alternatives. Include in the line-up are Truffle Gnocchi (potato dumplings), Stovetop Avocado Mac & Cheese, Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese, plus seven vegan recipes that are sure to please!
Considering that chips of any variety are filled with simple carbohydrates, fat and salt (three things that humans crave on a primal level), it should come as no surprise that potato chips are the #1 favorite snack food in the world. Sadly enough, they’re also one of the biggest culprits when it comes to obesity and other health problems.
Next time you’re presented with the opportunity, resist the urge to reach for your favorite bag of chips. Instead, try some of these 16 healthier alternatives using thinly sliced veggies, roots and fruits. You can make them at home ahead of time, pack them up and carry them with you to help ward off those naughty mid-day cravings!
Further Reading: 12 Genius Tricks To Curb Cravings Naturally
Another worldwide favorite – popcorn in all of its many varieties covers the entire spectrum of sweet and salty snack foods. While there isn’t much we can do to eliminate the temptation of movie theatre buttered popcorn, there are other options to satisfy your at-home snacking needs. Instead of popping corn, try popped amaranth or sorghum grain instead. Both grain offer a similar texture to the traditional snack and can be dressed to suit your tastes.
More and more soda manufacturers are beginning to offer healthier varieties of our favorite fizzy soft drinks. However, most of what can be found on supermarket shelves is still horrible for your health. And even without all of the added sugar, diet sodas are actually worse than their sugary counterparts. (You can read more about it here.) What’s a soda lover to do?
The good news is that making your own soda is easy! If you don’t already have one, pick up a water carbonator like this one. You can then doctor your fizzy water with ingredients like 100% all-natural fruit juice and crushed herbs. Top it all off (carefully, to avoid carbonation overflow) with a zero-calorie sweetener like Stevia or Monk Fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your good health.
Waffles & Pancakes
At breakfast time, it can be very tempting to fill up on heavy foods such as pancakes and waffles. Unfortunately, these carb-laden morning favorites are a great way to slow your morning to a crawl. The high concentration of simple sugars in waffles, pancakes and other similar breakfast breads cause blood-sugar to spike. Shortly thereafter, you’ll experience a sugar crash which inevitably leads to more sugar and fat cravings as our bodies try to compensate.
Stop the mid-morning sugar crash before it starts with these 33 healthy breakfast alternatives to replace your waffles and pancakes, as well as 10 other carb-heavy breakfast favorites your better off without.
I’m not going to tell you to stop eating chocolate altogether. (I am female, after all. I love it, too.) If your chocolate of choice is one of the all-natural, organic dark varieties and you only eat a small piece every now and then, by all means continue.
However, if your chocolate cravings push you to indulge too frequently, instead try some of these 10 healthy alternatives. Included are recipes for fruit dipped in dark chocolate plus a handful of desserts sprinkled with dark cocoa powder. The best part? They’re all under 100 calories.
I scream, you scream, we all scream… when we get on the scale the next morning. Ice cream is another one of those delicious snack / dessert foods that we all love, but probably shouldn’t. Again, it’s the mixture of fat and sugar that makes this food so hard to resist – even more so on a hot summer day. Fortunately, healthy substitutes for ice cream are becoming mainstream and thus are much easier to find in just about every grocery store out there.
Still, if you want even more control over what goes into your perfect dessert, give these 7 healthy homemade ice cream substitutes a try. Some of the recipes you’ll find include Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream, a Skinny “Milk” Shake made with Greek yogurt, and Vegan Avocado Frozen Yogurt (it tastes a lot better than it sounds!)