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Calorie Count Blog

Healthy Fixes For Junk Food Cravings


By +Carolyn Richardson on Jan 16, 2013 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

The thought of satisfying your sweet tooth and junk food cravings probably conjures up images of chocolate chip cookies, salty fries, and Cherry Garcia ice cream. These delectable treats wouldn't be a daily doable if you're aiming for a healthy calorie-controlled menu, but there are ways to satisfy cravings with foods that can be a part of your daily diet. These fixes will help you enjoy the healthiest “junk food” in your own kitchen. 

Pie Pushers

If pies are your calorie nemesis, a few fruity swaps and sweet spices can save you hundreds of calories and offer the same texture and taste that you expect from a dessert.

  • Bake apples with cinnamon and instant oatmeal for a crispy apple pie fix.
  • Grill peaches coated in a sprinkle of brown sugar and vanilla extract, served with Greek yogurt will do for peaches and cream.
  • Broil grapefruit with a little grated ginger and a swirl of honey and add a crumbled graham cracker for crunch.

Ice Cream Lovers

A frozen banana (peel and chop prior to freezing), and a tablespoon of cocoa powder blended together makes a great swap for chocolate ice cream. You can try using an ice cream maker to make avocado ice cream as well, but bear in mind you'll still have to add milk and/or cream (vegans use soy milk), and sugar of some kind to get closer to the texture and taste. While avocado ice cream won't save you many calories, at least you'll boost the healthy fat quotient. This lime ice cream option also looks scrumptious. Of course, there are more simple options such as freezing flavored Greek yogurt, but thawing in the refrigerator or microwaving for 10 to 20 seconds can be hit or miss depending on the yogurt brand.

Fried Food Fiends

The crispy, salty, satiating fat-feel of deep-fried foods is what attracts many to
fast-food places, but you can drive home and still get your fried food fix without as many calories. Julienned and baked sweet potato, carrots, or even green beans make excellent "fries". Just be sure to add the spices that make them work: a little salt and pepper, grated Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder will do the trick. Use olive oil spray on these to ensure a bit of crispiness and you're in fry heaven. For onion rings or fried chicken you can afford to use a light batter and get your bake on. Some use whole-wheat flour, corn flakes, and/or breadcrumbs, a little milk or beer, and eggs. A light spray of oil will do the crispy trick in most cases. 

Cheese Chompers

The taste of cheese is all its own and replacing isn't as easy as you might think. This means pairing lower calorie cheeses such as grated Parmesan, crumbled feta, and goat cheese with healthier options and limiting how much of it you eat. Add a serving to salsa, hummus, or salad dressing to get that cheesy taste and dip in sliced fruit or  veggies to get the fiber that will keep your hunger at bay. When you're eating it alone, go for smoked, spiced, and full-fat and eat slowly so that your taste buds can fully savor the flavor.

As long as you keep to a serving every once in a while, you can enjoy the tastiest treats the food universe has to offer. Don't deprive yourself of the food you love, but when you know you've had much too much, try a tip to keep you from going overboard.

Your thoughts...

Where are you on the junk food spectrum? Do you skip them at all costs, eat the calorie-laden real thing within moderation, or have you found healthy swaps that are just as satisfying?



Comments


These are good ideas, for me I keep myself away from all of these things, but I give myself an open day every week. It's workin for me till now :)


Love the green bean idea instead of fries. Yum


Great tips!  I especially want to try the frozen banana blended with cocoa powder, sounds good.  I have also read recently that freezing grapes makes for a great treat.  I love learning tips like these, because I am struggling to keep control over myself when I am around these goodies. 



Original Post by: cspencer2012

Great tips!  I especially want to try the frozen banana blended with cocoa powder, sounds good.  I have also read recently that freezing grapes makes for a great treat.  I love learning tips like these, because I am struggling to keep control over myself when I am around these goodies. 


Frozen grapes rock! I also love frozen blueberries. I think of them as little frozen ice cream (sort of like Dipping Dots).  If you don't care about having purple mouth and teeth for a while afterwards, the bluberries are great.  



I do the banana thing along with 6 chocolate chips and 6 almonds. Wonderful treat!


Original Post by: cspencer2012

Great tips!  I especially want to try the frozen banana blended with cocoa powder, sounds good.  I have also read recently that freezing grapes makes for a great treat.  I love learning tips like these, because I am struggling to keep control over myself when I am around these goodies. 


I've tried it, it's great. Add a tbs of peanut butter (all natural) and 1/4 c skim milk and blend into a smoothie! yum



Original Post by: jaclynnrosestanley

Love the green bean idea instead of fries. Yum

sweet potato chips... peel and thin slice yam, brush lightly with olive oil and microwave for about 5 min - depends on your microwave - i like to sprinkle mine with cinnamon before cooking.. yum!



I eat frozen grapes when I'm craving ice cream.  You get the cold and the sweet all at the same time. 

For fries, I just learned how to make baked zucchini fries.  So much heather and they taste so good!

I'm still looking for the replacement for chocolate though!  LOL.



I've found a great substitute for Mayonaisse, -wholegrain mustard - adds the flavour without the calories of mayo.



I have one of those Donvier ice cream makers and it works great with nonfat Greek yogurt. Just add stevia and vanilla and stir. my favorite is to stir in mashed strawberries. And a little hard-shell chocolate topping for dessert.


Diamond cocoa roasted almonds, fantastic. And if you like to bake, any brownie mix made with canned or fresh pureed pumpkin in place of the oil. I bake then freeze individually. They are chocolate gooey yumminess and no pumpkin taste.

 



My favorite craving satisfier - 1 cup fresh mixed berries - I love strawberries blackberries, and blueberries - sprinkle just 1/4 tsp raw sugar to get them juicy and put them on top of a small slice (16th) of an angel food cake, diced.  Thats a tiny piece of fat free cake but dicing gives you a bite of cake with every spoonful of healthy berries!

 



Why put sugar on the peaches??  Better to just have peaches with a squirt of non-fat diary topping

 



Coupla lil squares of 72% cacao or higher chocolate keeps most junk food urges at bay. That and some almonds or macadamias.



I love these! I can´t wait to try these out.



I have to be honest and admit that nothing takes the place of a piece of pie, potato chips, or ice cream.  I tried to replace them with healthier versions, but almost always end up going for the real thing afterward.  For me, I prefer to have the fat and calories in a dessert and crunch of a dorito.  I did eat pretzels and baked potato chips for New Year's Eve with regular fat chip dip and had to try a few regular chips.  Snacks are easier for me to cut the fat than desserts.  I love the taste too much to cut out altogether.     



I've got a food swap menu that sounds outrageous but it works for me- and keeps me happy :) There are occaions certain things are better substituted because it makes me feel healthier.

Butter Cream Frosting- natural or vanilla pea/rice or non GMO soy protein powder, Smart Squeeze, vanilla stevia

Banana Cream- banana, vanilla stvia, Smart Squeeze, Truvia (heated up...mmmm!!!)

Phood Protein powder, Walden Farms Chocolate dip, Vanilla Almond milk, Sugar free Caramel Syrup!!! lol!\

Silken Tofu or Greek, Goats milk, Cocoanut milk yogurt, Cocoa powder, Truvia blended (Avocado idea is awesome too!!)

Gluconaman powder (Konjak) is fabulous!!! It makes things super thick, and is a soluble fiber- I make a mousse with chocoalte protein, vanilla almond milk and konjak powder

Sometimes when I crave nut butter, I will go to Whole Foods, get a small serving and just have that- a real thing better real :)

Cashew cheese, collard wraps nutritional yeast all have wonderful uses too!



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