Healthy Food Alternatives to Junk Food

Edward Felici

Founder, Software Eng.

12 Healthy Food Alternatives to Junk Food to Defeat Cravings

In today's post, we'll share with you 12 simple recipes that you can use to replace junk food and keep those cravings at bay.

If you need a little inspiration to get started on this healthy journey, keep reading. Otherwise, jump straight to the recipes using this table of content.

Defeating the junk food cravings

Junk food cravings are the number one reason why diets fail.

Especially as you start dieting, these cravings can strike at any time, and your first instinct will be to revert to the comfort zone.

But the truth is, kicking unhealthy snacks out of your life is far easier than you think.

You only need one thing:

Fibre-rich, wholesome foods.

Is that not enough? Don't worry, there are also other things you can eat. And we'll share some ideas with you below.

But fibre-reach meals are truly the crop of the cream when it comes to defeating junk foods cravings.

Let us tell you why.

Fibre-Rich foods to the rescue

Without getting too scientific, here are three things you need to know about fibres:

  1. Fibres are one of the three types of carbs. The other two are sugars and starches.

  2. Eating fibres yields no calories. That's because your body doesn't absorb them.

  3. Fibres are either soluble or insoluble. They both play a crucial role in dieting and in keeping you healthy overall.

Point 2 is quite interesting. Just eating foods with a higher percentage of fibres will result in fewer calories. That makes it easier to stay within your daily caloric target of 2000 (average for an adult woman) or 2500 (average for an adult man).

But to understand the real benefit of fibres, we need to dig a little deeper into point 3. Don't worry. We'll get straight to the point.

Soluble fibres slow down digestion of food. Insoluble fibres promote healthy bowel habits.

Having well functioning bowels is obviously critical, as constipation is bad for dieting and general health.

But it's the role of soluble fibres the most critical in getting rid of junk food cravings and losing weight.

That's because by slowing down the metabolism, you achieve two things:

  • You stay satiated for longer. Therefore, you are less susceptible to hunger pangs.

  • You prevent sugar spikes in the blood. Having a high amount of sugars in the blood will result in your body storing all this excess "energy" as fat.

Now you see why eating fibre-rich foods is so good for you. Check out our high-fibre meal plan over in our shop if you are interested in putting words into action.

But there are also other things you can eat that are still better than going straight for the junk snacks. Here is a list of healthy foods to get started.

Make sure to read to the end, as we'll have a little extra tip for you.

Healthy Alternatives to Junk Food

The team at Kitchen Thinker reached out with some interesting ideas on how to substitute unhealthy cravings with wholesome food.

We have taken their good tips and integrated them with the deep selection of healthy recipes on Foodaciously.

So, here are some healthy alternatives to junk food, with respective recipes.

Fresh Juice

Plum Juice (Sugar-Free, No Juicer)

Instead of drinking artificially sweetened beverages, freshly made fruit or vegetable juice is an excellent alternative to maintain supple skin and good health.

You can make a juice with pretty much anything. We love to use plums, as plum juice is an excellent way to stay slim by helping digestion, lowering blood pressure, and fighting constipation.

And if you think you can only make juices with a juicer, think again! Check out how to make plum juice without a juicer.

Dried Fruits

No Bake Puffed Rice Bars with Hazelnuts

If you love sweets and your go-to food is a bag of gummy snacks, you can try dried fruits as a healthier alternative. Dried fruits may not taste the same as your favourite gummy snacks, but they’re much healthier. They’re also gelatin-free, which can be perfect for those who are on a vegan diet.

It's important to know that dried fruits, although healthy, contain a concentrated amount of sugar due to the dehydration process.

As such, we like to add them to cakes or bars instead of eating them straight from the bag. This way, the fibres from the other ingredients will prevent blood sugar spikes — just as we explained above.

If you fancy eating them straight from the bag, mix them with some nuts and limit yourself to a few handfuls per day.

Homemade Smoothies

Detox Beet Greens Smoothie with Raspberries

You know how people say you need to work hard to get the good things in life? Smoothies are the exception.

Making a smoothie must be the easiest thing you can do in the kitchen, yet it's an incredibly healthy drink.

To make a balanced smoothie, it should have components such as healthy fats, health boosters, lean proteins, fibre-rich carbohydrates, and a liquid base.

And to make smoothies even more effective against cravings, add in a splash of oats! The fibres from the oats will keep those hunger pangs at bay.

Veggie Chips (Crisps)

Oven-Baked Beetroots Crisps (Fat-Free)

If you enjoy eating potato chips, replace them with oven-baked veggie chips instead. Such chips won’t only provide you with a satisfying crunch, but you’ll also get more nutritional value.

You can also make veggie crisps in the air-fryer, for even more crunch!

Nice Cream

Pistachio "Nice" Cream Recipe

Can't give up on ice creams? Don't!

Try a vegan healthy ice cream instead (AKA Nice Cream). It feels like classic ice cream, but it has a tiny fraction of the fats, it's vegan and dairy-free, and it's basically as healthy as eating some fruit!

We made the one above with crunchy pistachios and frozen bananas.

Sugar-Free Lemonade

Sugar-Free Coconut Lavender Lemonade

Carbonated sodas are refreshing and addictive. However, you can’t deny that such beverages are packed with preservatives and refined sugars. So, rather than drinking a can of soda, opt for lemonade instead.

The great thing about lemonade is that lemons are extremely effective at slowing down cravings.

That's why, when following the intermitted fasting diet, it's recommended to drink some lemon water or a sugar-free lemonade during the morning, to curb off hunger. Cool, right?

Lemon Water

Cucumber Ginger Lemon Water

Lemon water is a lighter alternative to lemonade.

It's usually made with less lemon juice and a slightly different process than lemonade. It's great if you find lemonade too bitter for your taste!

Similarly to lemonade, lemon water is also a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect the cells against free radicals. Vitamin C can also help limit or prevent the duration of the common cold and reduce the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure.

Dark Chocolate

{Vegan, GF, Keto} Chocolate Chip Cauliflower Cookies

Are you surprised to see dark chocolate on this list? As it turns out, one square of dark chocolate per day is very nutritious.

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and is rich in minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. In addition, it helps lessen heart disease risks or blood pressure risks as it can increase your body’s blood circulation[1].

The added sugar and cocoa butter give a bad reputation to chocolate, but the cocoa solids are good instead. Marta and I eat 100% dark chocolate, but it took us a while to get used to it. We encourage you to start from a 85%+ and work your way up.

And of course, chocolate is so much more than a snack to nibble on! Feel free to substitute white or milk chocolate with the dark variety in your favourite recipes.

Looking for inspiration? These keto cauliflower cookies with dark chocolate taste sublime and are incredibly low-carb. Or cosy up to a chai hot chocolate.

Healthy Granola

Sugar-Free Apricot Granola Recipe

Granola (done well) is a great way to start the day right.

The problem with most store-bought granola brands is that they add in unnecessary sugars. Instead, we suggest you use dried fruits to sweeten it.

Take the recipe you see above, for example. We didn't use a single gram of sugar. Instead, we used the most wholesome ingredients, like:

  • dates

  • oats and buckwheat groats

  • seeds and nuts

  • dried apricots

Even writing about it makes me hungry! You should totally try this out.

Roasted Nuts

Turmeric Honey-Roasted Cashews

This entry is dedicated to all crunchy snacks lovers. I'm right there with you.

But if there's one thing that I enjoy more than any other healthy snack we have here on Foodaciously, it's these clusters of honey-roasted nuts with turmeric.

And that's saying something, as we have so many healthy nibbles we could fill a book.

Fibre-Rich Oatmeal

Acai Yogurt Oatmeal Bowl Recipe

A fibre-rich oatmeal is another great dish to start the morning right and avoid cravings later in the day. Yes, those very cravings that see you scouring the pantry for unhealthy snacks.

Oats are nutritious and versatile whole grains filled with precious vitamins, fibres, and minerals. There are so many uses for these tiny wonders, yet most people only use them for bakes or sweet treats.

But did you know oatmeal can be turned into a yummy lunch as well?

If you are intrigued, try this savoury curry oatmeal. It's our take on the classic Indian recipe known as upma. It's quite special, and we think you'll love it!

Sugar-Free Sorbet

{Vegan, Keto} Sugar-Free Matcha Avocado Sorbet

And for the grand finale, here's another ingenious way to give up on fat-loaded ice creams: Sorbets.

Sorbets are even easier to put together than Nice Creams. And if you use ripe fruits, you won't need to add any sugar at all.

Basically, you are eating frozen fruit that gives you the same satisfaction and refreshment as ice cream.

For an instant sorbet, just blitz some frozen raspberries, and you're good to go. Or experiment with something fancier, like our avocado and matcha sorbet above.

All right, we hope this list will be an inspiration to let go of unhealthy snacks and adopt a healthier diet. So, thanks for getting all the way down here.

But we did promise a final tip, didn't we?

At Foodaciously, we are on a mission to help people with food allergies or those on a diet to find food they love that loves them back.

To do that, we built a free-to-use recipe search engine that lets you find amazing recipes that are a perfect match for you.

This tool can be an invaluable friend, as you can go in there and input all your allergies, dietary, or even fine-grained nutritional requirements and you'll get back a list of recipes that match your needs. And it won't cost you a penny. Great, right?

Edward Felici

Article by

Edward Felici

Founder of Foodaciously and Dreamer in Chief. Loves to code, shoot videos, and hike.