Choose Healthy Snack Options

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Guilty Pleasures

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Salt. Fat. Sugar. These three essential nutrients influence your guilty food pleasures and cause you to indulge in unhealthy food and snacks.

Read nutrition labels of the popular junk foods and snacks that you enjoy to reveal the excess amounts of salt, sugar, and/or fat. This is why you keep craving them—because they power your hedonic drive. So it will be difficult to cut them off. But you can replace them with healthier alternatives that will deliver the same level of satisfaction.

5 Healthy Alternatives to Popular Snacks

1. Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. If you are craving a frozen, sweet dessert, you can feed on frozen fat-free or greek yogurt instead of ice cream. Yogurt is loaded with protein, vitamins and minerals, calcium, live culture, and gut-loving probiotics, and it is weight loss friendly. Your gut microbiota and your digestive system will thank you every time you ditch ice cream for a cup of frozen yogurt.

Or you can whip frozen bananas and almond milk in the food processor to make nice cream. It is yummy and creamy.

Frozen yogurt
Image source: Pixabay

2. Sweet potato wedges instead of chips. Potato chips are high in fat, salt, and refined carbs. Eat baked potato wedges instead. They contain far less oil, so they are low in calories. Also, they turn out to be much more delicious—they have a crisp exterior but are fluffy on the inside. You can season them to be spicy, savory, or salty.

Tip: Making potato wedges in an air fryer is the quickest and healthiest cooking option.

Sweet potato wedges
Image source: Pixabay

3. Energy bites instead of donuts or cookies. According to Delish, one donut has a quarter of all of the saturated fat you should have in a day. Binge­ing on donuts can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cookies are no better; most are calorie-dense bits of unhealthy fat and sugar.

You can swap the donuts and cookies with no-bake energy bites. Energy bites are packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and good carbs. They have a soft texture and are delicious!

Energy bites
Image source: Foodies Feed

4. Dark chocolate instead of regular milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has less sugar and calories. It is antioxidant- and fiber-rich. Since it is not highly processed, it is packed with vitamins and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, etc. Plus, it is just as delicious as regular milk chocolate.

Small amounts of dark chocolate have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Dark chocolate
Image source: Pexels

5. Homemade smoothies instead of milkshakes. A great way to incorporate more fruits into your nutrition is by blending them with almond or coconut milk. When you are craving a thick, creamy, and cold dessert, think smoothies instead of milkshakes. Include some nuts and seeds for healthy fats and protein. Adding chia seeds to your smoothies will help you feel full and curb your cravings in no time.

Avoid fattening ingredients like whole milk, plant butter, or sorbet. A smoothie can become unhealthy if there is too much added sugar and fat. Try mixing things up by having at least 45% each of greens and sweet fruits in your smoothie cup.

Smoothie
Image source: Pixabay

Swap sweets and candy with dried fruits. Eat salted kale chips instead of potato chips or french fries. Replace chocolate pudding with homemade parfait, and try steel-cut oats instead of artificially flavored cereal.

If you feel you shouldn’t be eating anything, especially after a big meal, but your sweet tooth isn’t making life easy, drink flavored water. Infuse water with your favorite fruits. It will serenade your sweet tooth and stop you from eating unhealthy, calorie-laden snacks.

Good nutrition is neither complicated nor boring. You can have the time of your life enjoying sweet and savory snacks without indulging in unhealthy food. If you seek them out, you will find healthy alternatives to popular unhealthy snacks.

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Chelsea is founder of The Mind Body Writer website, specializing in crafting health­care and well­ness articles. The scope of her work spans nutrition, stress manage­ment, and holistic green living.

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