But it doesn’t have to be boring and unappetizing! Plenty of best substitutes for junk foods can still offer the same satisfaction.
It is no secret that junk food is high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, and substituting these foods for healthier options is an important step in optimizing long-term health.
The key to successfully switching your diet from junky meals to nutrient-dense ones lies in finding delicious substitutes for traditional junk food.
Not only that but finding the ones that provide just as much satisfaction as unhealthy snacks are more whole-food based and nutrition packed.
This article lists the best substitutes for junk food to help you get on track with a healthy diet while not completely ruling out indulgence.
These options allow you to continue those snack-time cravings without resorting to the drive-through window.
1. Baked Veggie Fries
Baked Veggie Fries are the best substitutes for junk food like French fries.
Baked veggie fries are made from carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash, high in fiber and vitamins that help promote good health.
Additionally, these vegetable fries contain fewer calories than traditional French fries and no added oil or fat, making them a healthy alternative to regular French fries.
Baked veggie fries also provide a crunchy and delicious snack with various herbs or spices as seasonings to make them even more flavourful.
These baked veggie fries are delicious and require minimal effort to prepare by being tossed with oil, salt, and any extra seasoning desired before they’re popped into the oven.
Not only is this an easy meal prep in no time, but it is certainly healthier than fried French Fries loaded with fat and cholesterol.
2. Homemade Smoothies
Homemade smoothies are much healthier than milkshakes because they contain more vitamins and minerals from the fruits used in them.
Many store-bought milkshakes have added sugar and artificial sweeteners, which can lead to health issues such as diabetes and obesity.
Smoothies are packed with fiber which helps regulate digestion and keep you feeling full longer, while milkshakes offer little nutritional benefit. Meanwhile, this is second on our list of substitutes for junk food.
Moving on, smoothies can be made with fresh ingredients like bananas, strawberries, spinach, kale, avocado, etc., providing essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet.
Milkshakes usually contain dairy products such as ice cream or milk, making them high in fat and sugar with no nutrient benefits other than the dairy itself.
Making your smoothie at home allows you to control the flavor and sweetness of your drink by adding only natural sweeteners like honey or dates instead of refined sugar typically found in store-bought shakes.
When making homemade smoothies, you can add superfoods such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, spirulina powder, or bee pollen.
This is to give your drink an extra health boost without adding extra calories or sugar content that would come with milkshakes.
Smoothies are also much easier to make than milkshakes; all you need is a blender and any combination of fruits and vegetables!
Buying or preparing special ingredients (such as blanched almonds for almond milk) is unnecessary.
With a few simple ingredients, you can make yourself a healthy smoothie, one of the substitutes for junk food, in minutes!
3. Chocolate-Dipped Nuts
Chocolate-dipped nuts are also the best substitutes for junk foods like candy, especially when it comes to a craving for sweet foods.
They provide a natural source of sugar and are packed with important nutrients and minerals like antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
Additionally, the crunchiness of the outer layer makes them a perfect snack.
Compared to traditional store-bought candy or sweets full of preservatives and artificial ingredients, chocolate-dipped nuts can be considered healthier alternatives as they contain far fewer calories and fat.
Furthermore, it is unnecessary to worry about added sugar since its sweetness comes naturally from the cocoa coating.
Besides providing us with good nutrition and an indulgent treat without added fats or calories, chocolate-dipped nuts are quick and easy to prepare at home.
All one needs is a few ingredients like chopped-up nuts (almonds or walnuts), dark chocolate chips/broken-up plain chocolate bar pieces, plus some coconut oil (if using chips).
Melt the chocolate chips/bar pieces in a double boiler on low heat, stirring gently until melted, then add some oil if desired if using chips.
When ready, coat the chopped nuts with this mixture on parchment paper to cool down before eating for yummy treats that everyone can enjoy! There you have one of the best substitutes for junk food!
4. Fruity Sparkling Water
Fruity Sparkling Water is an excellent substitute for soda or other sugary drinks and provides one of the best substitutes for junk food.
Sparkling water with natural fruit flavorings is a delicious, calorie-free drink that has been gaining popularity due to its taste, health benefits, and lack of sugar.
Fruity sparkling water contains no calories, artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, which makes it a healthier option when compared to traditional sodas.
Additionally, the carbonation from the sparkling water provides a satisfyingly bubbly taste that can be customized by adding fruit juices for extra flavor.
Fruity sparkling water also contains essential minerals such as magnesium and potassium (depending on the brand) and provides antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress in the body.
This can help people stay healthy and physically fit without sacrificing their favorite snacks or beverages.
Overall, fruity sparkling water is an excellent alternative to sugary soft drinks and other junk food items since it provides hydration while still being tasty and refreshing.
Furthermore, its added health benefits offer an additional benefit not found in most junk food choices.
5. Homemade “Fake-Out.”
Homemade “fake-out” instead of Chinese take-out is a popular alternative when one desires the flavor and experience of take-out food but wants a healthy alternative.
This cost-efficient, low-calorie alternatives can be made at home in just a few minutes with pre-planned to maximize taste and nutrition.
Ingredients such as lean meats or extra firm tofu, mixed frozen vegetables, brown rice, quinoa and noodles, and homemade sauces derived from vegetable stock make a great base for creating flavorful dishes.
Adding your favorite herbs and spices to make this delectable, of the best substitutes for junk food, will bring the dish from bland to fantastic.
Cooking this way can also benefit weight loss as it encourages avoiding fried foods and heavy sauces like those in most Chinese take-outs.
Furthermore, choosing healthy proteins such as fish over chicken or pork will help reduce excess calories while achieving deliciousness.
When looking ahead, it is recommended that items such as fresh vegetables, shrimp, and fish should be added to weekly grocery lists where appropriate instead of junk food results that appeal to our urges.
This way, you can still enjoy yourself without putting on extra weight or risking negative health repercussions from frequent consumption of unhealthy diet choices sometimes thought inevitable due to lack of time or resources.
6. Healthy Dips
Healthy dips can be one of the best substitutes for junk food because they provide an alternative way of satisfying snack cravings while still being nutritious.
Healthy dip choices like hummus, with chickpeas as the main ingredient, are rich in protein and fiber, which are important for maintaining good health.
Other healthy dip options include pesto (with lots of healthy fats from olive oil and zesty flavor from basil) or guacamole (mashed up avocado with pico de gallo – tomatoes, onion, garlic, lemon juice).
These dips also provide a delicious accompaniment to vegetables like carrots, celery sticks, and other snacks.
Unlike some full-fat dip options that may contain saturated fat and cholesterol, among other unhealthy ingredients, these healthy dips offer fewer calories and healthier nutrition profiles that promote wellness rather than weight gain.
In short, opting for healthy dips instead of full-fat versions is the ideal option when looking for substitutes for junk food.
7. Black Bean Brownies
Black Bean Brownies are the best substitutes for junk food such as cakes and cookies, providing more health benefits than traditional treats.
The black beans in the brownies are an excellent source of protein and fiber and can help to keep blood sugar levels stable.
They also contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, which protect the body from disease.
Black Bean Brownies are a great choice for those looking to satisfy a sweet tooth while avoiding potentially unhealthy snacks.
When prepared correctly, they have a rich flavor that can satisfy any craving without compromising nutritional quality.
Deep-dark cocoa powder, spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg, natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, and nuts or shredded coconut can be added to enhance the nutritional content of these treats further.
8. Power Balls
Regarding the best substitutes for junk food, Power Balls are a great alternative to donuts.
They offer a healthier option for those seeking an indulgent snack with some nutrition.
Unlike donuts with high refined sugars and unhealthy fats, power balls offer more natural and wholesome ingredients such as nuts, seeds, dates, and dried fruit.
Power balls usually come in small, individual servings, which is ideal for portion control compared to getting a dozen donuts.
Plus, most power ball recipes are easy to make at home with a few basic ingredients, so you can quickly prepare your favorite snack!
9. Low-Cal Mac & Cheese
Low-cal mac and cheese is a great substitute for traditional mac and cheese, an unhealthy junk food.
Low-cal mac and cheese typically use different ingredients or substitutes existing ingredients with lower-calorie options that still provide the same rich flavor and creamy textures.
Additionally, low-cal mac and cheese are often packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients compared to its traditional counterpart, making it one of the best substitutes for junk foods.
Many restaurants now offer low-cal mac and cheese dishes that are becoming popular because of their delicious flavors yet health benefits compared to traditional junk food.
Replacing high-fat chips or fries with low-cal mac and cheese as part of daily nutrition goals can be a great way to enjoy a guilty pleasure while still staying fit.
You are yet to see the end of this list of substitutes for junk food.
10. Crust-Free Pizza
This is also on our list of best substitutes for junk foods. Crust-free pizza has become a popular alternative to traditional pizza delivery as a healthier and more nutritious replacement for junk food.
Its breadless base provides a low-carbohydrate option while maintaining the deliciousness of traditional pizza.
Crust-free pizzas, substitutes for junk food, are also great for people watching their weight since they lower calorie intake without losing flavor.
The crustless topping options usually include vegetables, cheese, and freshly cooked meats, making them an ideal way to get healthy nutrition into your daily diet.
Plus, as an added bonus, crust-free pizza takes very little time to prepare, making it the perfect snack when trying to avoid eating sugary snacks or unhealthy processed foods.
Crust-free pizzas also offer other advantages over their traditional counterparts: they can be customized with whatever toppings the customer prefers and are available in many different sizes so that there is something for everyone’s appetite.
This makes it easy to accommodate different diets, whether someone is looking for a vegetarian option or wants a heartier meal with more protein sources like chicken and bacon.
They also have a much smaller environmental footprint than regular pizza delivery since less packaging waste is created in making them at home rather than ordering out.
Finally, they can be stored easily in the refrigerator or freezer for future use and make quick meals throughout the week! Aren’t they one of the best substitutes for junk food to consider today?
11. Baked Chicken Wings
Baked chicken wings are one of the best substitutes for junk foods, as they are still a delicious and satisfying treat but have much fewer calories and fat than fried versions.
Baking the wings achieves the same crispiness without using unhealthy oils or trans fats associated with frying them.
Additionally, baking creates a beautiful golden hue with delicious, tasteful notes that will tingle your taste buds.
The lightness of the crunch from baking also means that you don’t experience too greasy of a texture which can cause those nasty grease-induced food comas after feasting on fried foods.
Finally, baked chicken wings are often marinated in unique sauces containing significantly less sugar than their sugary, syrup-based fried counterparts.
Baked chicken wings should be your go-to option if you’re looking for a healthier version of an old favorite.
12. Burrito Bowls
Burrito bowls make fantastic substitutes for traditional junk food options like burgers, fries, and pizza.
They are typically made with layers of grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, which provide complex carbohydrates that provide long-lasting energy due to their high fiber content.
Additionally, burrito bowls usually include a mix of protein sources such as black beans and grilled chicken, which keeps you full for hours after eating.
Topping it off with vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and corn add a delicious crunch and vitamins and minerals essential for keeping your body healthy.
Burrito bowls also come in various flavors, so you can customize them to suit your tastes.
All in all, they offer a delicious alternative to unhealthy junk food while still being satisfyingly filling.
13. Bunless Burgers
Bunless Burgers are becoming a popular alternative to traditional burgers as a healthier option for junk food.
Bunless burgers typically consist of toppings such as lettuce or other fresh vegetables, various types of meat, and sauces, all served bun-less.
Instead of eating a processed burger, considered unhealthy and high in fat and calories, swapping out the traditional buns for lettuce wraps or portobello mushroom caps is an excellent substitute.
This allows you to enjoy your favorite flavors without compromising on the unhealthy aspects of fast food.
Besides being low in carbs and calories, bunless burgers offer more nutritional benefits, such as a higher content of vitamins and minerals.
These essential vitamins and minerals work together to help keep us healthy while providing our bodies with the necessary energy throughout the day.
Bunless burgers are also an easy and practical way to get more protein into your diet while minimizing carbs which can help people who want to maintain their weight or make healthy changes to their lifestyle.
Additionally, these burgers are quick and easy to make at home with minimal effort, making them ideal for those who want a convenient but still nutritious meal.
This is not missing from our list of best substitutes for junk foods!
14. Yogurt Fruit Pops
Yogurt Fruit Pops are the best substitutes for junk foods and provide a healthier option for people with a sweet tooth.
Yogurt, one of the substitutes for junk food, is much lower in saturated fat and refined sugars than ice cream.
This makes it a much better choice for those seeking an indulgent treat without all the health risks associated with consuming high-fat, sugary foods.
Furthermore, yogurt often contains beneficial probiotics that can help improve digestive health and fight off harmful bacteria in the gut.
Yogurt Pops made with fresh fruit provide added nutrition that ice cream generally cannot offer.
They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help bolster one’s overall health when consumed in moderation.
Another benefit to eating Yogurt Fruit Pops is that they typically contain fewer calories than traditional ice cream, so they can be enjoyed guilt-free.
Additionally, frozen yogurt is becoming an increasingly available product at many grocery stores, making it easier to find than ever!
15. Kale Chips
Kale chips are a great substitute for potato chips as a form of healthier yet tasty junk food.
Kale chips have much less fat and calories than traditional potato chips while being full of fiber and other important vitamins and minerals essential to a healthy diet.
Additionally, they provide more crunch than your typical potato chip because they are made with all-natural ingredients instead of processed foods full of artificial flavors and preservatives.
Another great benefit of kale chips is that you can customize them with any seasoning or flavoring you like.
This makes them the perfect junk food for people with different dietary preferences who want something crunchy to munch on.
They also don’t require deep frying in oil like potato chips, reducing their fat content and making them a healthier snack alternative overall. This list of our best substitutes for junk food ends here!
Do you struggle with cravings for unhealthy junk food? Are you tired of constantly resisting temptation and finding yourself disappointed when your healthy snack options taste bland in comparison?
Reducing the intake of unhealthy, processed snacks and meals can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible.
It’s easier than you think to find tasty alternatives that are just as satisfying as junk food but with fewer calories and more nutrition.
We have the answer if you’re looking for the best substitutes for junk food that still make snacking feel like a treat.
Read the above to know more about delicious snacks that will not dent your diet plan yet fulfill your craving for indulgence.