Sometimes eating healthy can seem daunting and unattainable because our favorite junk foods are just too good to resist. However, what if there was a way to eat healthy without giving up these foods? I am a strong advocate for moderation and I know that anything is okay every once in a while. But in case you simply can’t resist reaching for your favorite junk food, here are some equally delicious alternatives you can try swapping them for!
Pasta is one of the most satisfying and easy dishes to make, so it may be disheartening to hear that it doesn’t have much nutritional value. Luckily, almost all grocery stores now carry different kinds of pasta that are made from healthy bases like brown rice, black beans, lentils or even kale! My personal favorite is red lentil pasta because it still tastes great with almost any pasta sauce and is also super high in protein, so you don’t need to feel guilty about low nutritional value.
If you’re anything like me, you crave peanut butter at least once a day. Unfortunately, many of the name-brand peanut butters you see at stores like Skippy or Jif contain a long list of unhealthy ingredients like corn syrup solids, palm oil, sugars and many hard-to-pronounce chemicals. This not only takes away the healthy benefits of eating peanut butter but also makes it less nutritionally dense. A healthy alternative is getting organic peanut butter with the only ingredients being peanuts and maybe salt. All you need to do is stir it before eating and store it in the fridge to prevent oil separation. You can find these natural brands almost anywhere and I personally have grown to love the taste even more.
For anyone with a sweet tooth, candy bars are not your only dessert option. There are many other ways to satisfy your chocolate cravings while also getting its antioxidant benefits! The best alternative I have found is looking for dark chocolate bars with a high percentage of cacao. Typically, these bars contain very few ingredients, all of which are more natural than those you see on brand-name candy bars. Trader Joe’s carries many different kinds that all taste great without being too unhealthy.
Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of this summertime favorite. There are little tweaks you can make to help make burgers healthy. For one, choosing to eat a burger patty without the bun and replacing it with a lettuce wrap can help make it a more nutritious meal. Adding some other veggies on top will help add back some flavor and make it customizable. If you want to further eliminate some of the extra fats, plenty of grocery stores now offer healthy plant-based patties!
For many people, french fries can be their biggest weakness when it comes to eating healthy. While it’s totally okay to enjoy them in moderation, there are also easy substitutions you can make at home! As long as you have a working oven, you can slice up some potatoes, season them however you enjoy your fries and pop them in the oven until they are crispy like french fries. Serve with a side of your favorite dipping sauce and they can be just as good without being fried! They also make a great side dish for any dinner.
Another savory craving you may find yourself missing when you try to eat healthy is pizza. Luckily enough, health stores like Trader Joe’s now offer frozen pizza crusts that are great alternatives to normal pizza. My favorite is their cauliflower crust, but they also provide one made from kale. This option of make-at-home pizza also allows you to customize what sauce, toppings and cheese you pick in order to be conscious of what ingredients go into it.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up all foods that are deemed “unhealthy.” As long as you are practicing moderation, you can keep some of these favorites in your life. Today there are also so many readily available healthy alternatives that we don’t need to feel like we are restricting ourselves. Hopefully, some of these items will help you become more mindful of ingredients and sustain your healthy habits!