Healthy Fixes For Junk Food Cravings
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.
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.
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.
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?
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