We’ve all been there. After a whole week feeling great because we stuck to our diet. Then something unexpected happens, we get stressed. The only thing that’s going to help us is comfort food. I am sure you recognize this, don’t you?
The problem is, comfort food usually equals unhealthy junk food. So yes, we probably feel better, for a while. But in the long run, we add lots of unneeded calories to our bodies. Which of course adds to our stress.
Instead of munching on unnecessary sugar and fat calories, why not try some healthy alternatives? Do such things exist? Healthy junk food alternatives? Yes, with some small adjustments to your already satisfying foods, you can cut the calories without cutting the taste.
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Table of contents
Healthy junk food alternatives
Chocolate is the best
Do you love chocolate? I know I do. Even when I am not stressed. 😉 I guess almost everyone out there loves chocolate when we’re stressed or sad, but we can still indulge without expanding our waistline.
Instead of using milk chocolate in your recipes, try using dark chocolate or cocoa powder. They have all the good taste of chocolate, and they’re chock-full of antioxidants and other healthy things.
Just remember, milk and sugar cut down on the healthy benefits of dark chocolate, so use them sparingly in these recipes. Or better yet, replace it with a better choice. Use vegetable milk instead of cow’s milk and replace the sugar with stevia, honey, or maple syrup.
Related: What is the Difference between Chocolate and Cacao, or is it Cocoa?
Chips or fries
Chips are especially on top of the list of comfort food. Yet, we’re often feeling guilty if we eat them, don’t we?
Let’s say you’re at a party and there’s no choice but the usual salty chips. You can reduce the damage by chewing longer than usual. The funny thing is that a well-chewed bowl of chips or fries is even healthier than a salad that is eaten too quickly and swallowed without chewing.
When you’re at home it’s easy to make healthy chips or fries. Cut either potatoes or sweet potatoes in thin slices or strips. Put them on baking paper on an oven plate. Bake them for 40 minutes in a heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius. Extra delicious if you sprinkle some turmeric or Your Super Golden Mellow over it.
Instead of potatoes, it’s also delicious to fry or bake vegetables. Tom often makes those the same way in the oven and adds lots of herbs to it. Yummy.
Oh, and by the way, choose organic produce for this treat, as well as the others described here.
Pasta is a real fatter
Pasta is a great way to make you feel full and satisfied, but it’s also a certain way to pack on the pounds. Substitute your favourite pasta dish with whole grain or sprouted grain pasta.
In our organic store, they have an ample choice of alternative kinds of pasta, that is made of quinoa or peas.
For an extra dose of healthy food, be sure to add fresh or frozen vegetables. We also add a lot of nuts and seeds to our plates of pasta to replace meat.
Macaroni and cheese is another favourite, which is double fattening. Instead of cheese, I sprinkle brewer’s yeast flakes on my pasta. It doesn’t taste exactly the same as cheese, but I like it anyway. Tom doesn’t eat yeast because of his gout-preventing diet.
Beef and other meat
Do you love hamburgers, meatloaf, or anything else with minced beef? Try substituting all or some of the minced beef in your recipes with chopped turkey. It has a similar taste, but even using a half-and-half mix cuts down on fat and calories in your meal.
Our grandkids love hamburgers and hate most vegetables. Tom has tricked them with vegetable hamburgers that are really delicious. Our son adopted the recipe immediately. And we like them ourselves as well. Although we prefer to eat them without having the grandkids around. Otherwise, we stand no chance.
Vegetable hamburgers can be made from raw and cooked vegetables. The raw ones usually consist of small cut pieces of vegetables such as paprika, broccoli, carrots, garlic, zucchini. These pieces are mixed with 2 or 3 eggs and corn and/or almond flour. Add enough flour to make it a sticky mass.
When you use boiled vegetables, mix them with a blender. Then add the eggs and flour. You can fry both types of burgers in a baking pan. Tom prefers to prepare them in the oven on a plate covered with baking paper. When they’re golden brown on both sides, the burgers are done.
Soup is a quick comfort food
Some say soup is food for a cold day but we eat it often. It’s a marvellous way to get a high dose of vegetables (we are trying to get to 500 gr a day, which is a lot, I can assure you). Instead of using canned soup or a package of dried soup, make your own.
Canned soups and packages have tons of salt and preservatives. Simply making the soup yourself instead of relying on cans makes the dish a whole lot healthier. Plus, you can make it just how you and your family like it!
Tom has shared his favourite Pumpkin Soup in this article.
Delicious, yet when made the traditional way it’s not super-healthy. Make it better by replacing every or part of the ingredients.
- Whole milk or heavy whipping cream;
- Margarine or butter;
- Sweet potatoes;
- Almond milk;
- Extra-virgin olive oil;
- No salt;
- Crushed cashew nuts;
- Paprika powder.
Dates, raisins, and dried apricots are way better than candy and taken out of the closet just as quickly as a candy box. In my articles about dates, I have put a recipe for power balls that can be made quickly and taste really delicious.
Some final tips
The problem with cravings is they come up in an instant when we are not prepared for them. My tip is to think about those healthy junk food alternatives before you are stressed out and need to be comforted. Make some healthy snacks and meals you can freeze or put in the fridge for later use.
Another tip is to use lots of spices and herbs. When we cut back on fat and calories, food has a tendency to get bland, so when making a new healthy recipe, pump up the seasoning of your food. Try experimenting with different spices, herbs, and quantities until you get it just right.
When you start to think about alternatives it’s not that hard to come up with healthy ideas. Like a homemade smoothie instead of a milkshake. Coconut ice cream can replace creamy ice cream. Water, flavoured with some drops of essential oil, is better than soda.
There are way more alternatives. Will you share your favourite one in the comment box below? Thanks!
6 thoughts on “7 Healthy Junk Food Alternatives that won’t Make you Feel Guilty”
Hi Hannie, thanks for this wonderful article. I really enjoy the part that looks like a table to compare the traditional food and the alternatives that are healthier. For me, I eat a lot of sweet potatoes, but do you know there is a variety of sweet potatoes that is very good for diabetic patients? It is known as “non-sweet” sweet potatoes. The name seems funny but I encourage readers of this article to look out for it. Thanks once more.
No, I didn’t know about this variety of sweet potatoes you mention. How wonderful. Isn’t food amazing? It reminds me of this quote “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’, which is ascribed to Hippocrates. He lived 2.500 years ago and at times I wonder why we have lost so much ancient wisdom.
Luckily there are people like you who believe in the same adagio about food and spread it. Thanks for that and stay healthy.
Oh, Hannie, I love some of the foods you describe here. Chocolate is something I love, especially the organic ones. I use beans and put them in my fruit in the morning. They are full of antioxidants, especially magnesium.
Baking my own fries is also something I love. Henk as well! At the moment our oven doesn’t work, that is a pity. It exploded, and we need a new one. I miss the fries and the rosemary potatoes. Another very valued food from your list is soup. We love soup; most time, I boil bones for hours to receive a healthy soup, bone broth. In wintertime, it is our savior for all kinds of malaise.
I’m not too fond of all sorts of dried fruit. A dehydrator is a great help to dry, for example, bananas and pineapple. I haven’t purchased one, but friends use them quite a lot. I think it will be my next purchase, but first the oven! Great article, Hannie! Thank you very much! 🙂
Hi Sylvia. Out of curiosity, why would you want to buy a dehydrator if you don’t like dried fruits? In that case, I would rather buy pulverized foods like the powders of YourSuper.
We couldn’t do without an oven either. Tom uses it almost every day 🙂
I prefer salads over soup, yet Tom is the cook as you know. So we eat it a lot as well. Vegetable soup usually and the favorite is pumpkin soup. 😉
“They” say it’s mostly women who like chocolate so much. I am not sure if that’s true. Like you, I love chocolate but Tom does too. It’s marvelous to know that if we stick to the organic unsugared kind it’s so healthy, don’t you think. Snacks are the nicest when we don’t have to feel guilty about having some occasionally.
Thanks for your comment and take care.
Very helpful tips, Hannie! I’ve overhauled my diet and lately, I’m trying to stick to eating as healthy and nutritious as possible, with the occasional treat. Instead of stocking up on unhealthy snacks I just buy foods that won’t leave me bloated or feeling unwell. If I don’t have it in my pantry, I won’t eat it, it’s that simple!
LOL, Carrie, yes, I know how that works. As soon as we have unhealthy snacks in the house, it’s very difficult for me as well to leave them alone. It’s a good thing there are so many other possibilities that are both healthy and satisfying for our cravings, aren’t there.
Thanks for your comment, and stay healthy!