Food & Recipes

7 Things You Should Eat When You’re Craving Junk Food

Don't blow your diet with food cravings.

Even those of us who eat extremely healthy still get occasional junk food cravings, and in these moments, it’s tempting to want to go all in on a box of pizza or a tub of ice cream.

Although we can occasionally enjoy some of our guiltiest pleasures, we have to make sure we aren’t making our junk-food indulgences a habit. This makes it especially important to know what to turn to instead when these desires strike.

“Often cravings are just your bodies way of alerting you it’s lacking in some form of mineral or vitamin,” says certified holistic health coach, Alexandra Napoli. “The cravings may seem odd, but if you examine them, you will be able to choose something that supports your health and fills the root cause of the craving.”

Next time you’re craving an unhealthy food, turn to one of these seven alternatives instead.

1. Instead Of Potato Chips, Eat Homemade Popcorn

If you’re looking for a crunch, make some popcorn instead. “Pop on the stove with coconut oil and season with light salt and garlic and/or chili powder,” says Dina Garcia, RD. While potato chips are high in fat and calories, popcorn is a high-fiber, low-calorie snack that satisfies that snacking craving.

popcorn photo
Photo by cyclonebill

2. Instead Of French Fries, Eat Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

“Try oven-roasted sweet potato ‘fries’,” says Chandra Duggirala, MD. “Sweet potato is more nutrient-dense and has lower glycemic index than potato. It also has more potassium and carotenoids.”

sweet potato wedges photo
Photo by dearbarbie

3. Instead Of Candy, Eat Grapefruit

Eating grapefruit will not only satisfy your sugar craving, but it can also help naturally suppress your appetite. “The high amounts of fiber contained in this fruit can also satisfy hunger and help people avoid the temptation to overeat, since it is a bulky food,” says Dr. Keith Kantor. “It stimulates cholecystokinin to be released, a hormone that regulates digestive juices and acts as a hunger suppressant.”

RELATED: Here Are 8 Delicious Clean-Eating Crock-Pot Recipes

grapefruit photo
Photo by Muffet

4. Instead Of Ice Cream, Eat Blended Frozen Bananas

Everyone enjoys a creamy bowl of ice cream, but instead of indulging in heavy cream and processed sugar, make your own ice cream substitute by blending together frozen bananas, which creates a cool treat that mimics the traditional dessert. Add your favorite toppings or drizzle with a little touch of chocolate syrup.

banana ice cream photo
Photo by hlkljgk

5. Instead Of A Chocolate Bar, Eat Dark Chocolate

“Instead of regular chocolate with all its additives, grab 70 percent or higher dark chocolate,” says Napoli. “You won’t need as many pieces to feel satisfied.” Dark chocolate has its own health benefits as well, including a plethora of antioxidants, protection against cancer and heart disease, and improved brain functioning and mood.

dark chocolate photo
Photo by Chocolate Reviews

6. Instead Of A Hamburger, Eat A Lettuce Wrap

“Try a burger protein style, with the cheese and the burger wrapped in lettuce,” says Duggirala so you can give your body the nutrients it needs without those extra carbs.

protein style photo
Photo by Neeta Lind

7. Instead Of Cookies, Eat Nuts And Dates

If you’re craving cookies, your body wants carbohydrates, so feed it the healthy kind with some walnuts, almonds, or dates. You’ll still get some sweetness, but instead of processed flour and sugar, you’ll get a good dose of healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants.

RELATED: 7 Snacks That Are Okay To Eat Before You Go To Bed

nuts and dates photo
Photo by Joanna Slodownik

Photo by mealmakeovermoms