We’ve all done it, even though we know that it’s bad for us, we can’t resist the temptation of our favorite comfort food. Even though we know that we’ll probably regret it afterwards, we dive in to the delicious but unhealthy food that tastes so good. It’s perfectly normal and perfectly okay to do, but there are some simple changes you can make to your favorite junk foods to make them healthier. You’ll feel less guilty about the fact that you’re eating junk food, and you’ll be really happy because you’ll be able to, as the old saying goes, have your cake and eat it too. These 5 simple tips and tricks will convert unhealthy junk food into healthier, delicious treats, plus, some examples of your favorite junk foods in healthier forms will be explained!
Use an alternative recipes or replace with vegetables!
In most of your favorite ‘unhealthy’ foods, the main culprit is simply a few unhealthy ingredients. Replacing ingredients (making easy switches that you may not even notice!) is a simple way to make junk food healthier. Some examples: pizza with a crust made of cauliflower, cheese fries with a low fat cheese sauce and potatoes sliced and baked in the oven. You can substitute almost anything healthy into an unhealthy recipe for a better version that still tastes great!
Use gluten free or whole wheat flours & other nutritious ingredients in pastries and baked goods.
Baked goods are high in fat, cholesterol, and often are hard to digest due to their high gluten content. Using other flours can make the baked goods healthier-some options include brown or white rice flour, coconut flour, and more. Replace butter and oil with lower fat options. Also, you can hide vegetables in some baked goods-for example, adding zucchini to brownies is a pretty common example. Check out this blog, Chocolate Covered Katie, for tons of healthy dessert recipes – she’s even published a healthy dessert cookbook!
Know when to treat yourself, and when your craving can be satiated with something inherently healthy.
Healthy foods often contain what we’re really craving in junk food. For example, research done by the website Medical Daily shows 5 major junk food swaps you can make. When you crave chocolate, try raw nuts for the same magnesium levels your body is really asking for. Try switching potato chips and other salty foods with bananas-the craving for salt often hints at low potassium levels. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should always reject what you’re craving-treating yourself to a more unhealthy food now and then is not the worst thing in the world, and is actually important psychologically to make sure you don’t end up binging on junk food.
Eat regular meals and snack appropriately.
Skipping meals can lead you to overeat-you feel really hungry, so of course you’re going to go for the unhealthy thing on the menu. This is not good for you to do all the time! Also, snacking is important. Nibble on fruit, veggies, or nuts throughout the day to help curb junk food cravings and overeating potential.
Know that it’s okay to treat yourself occasionally.
I know, I know-this doesn’t sound like a way to make junk food healthier. But psychologically speaking, it is! The thought of completely cutting yourself off from your favorite unhealthy treats makes you crave them even more, and increases the chances of you eating junk food more often. Knowing that you’re still healthy even if you treat yourself to cheese fries, pizza, or brownies once in a while will make you happier overall. Eating treat-food in moderation allows you to still enjoy it but be a healthier, happier person in the end.