Nutritious Junk Food Alternatives You Can Make at Home

When it comes to changing your eating habits, there are generally two approaches. You can either learn to control your cravings and eat less of the foods you’re trying to avoid, or you can cut them out of your life entirely.

I’m not a fan of the second approach. Dieting is tough enough without going cold turkey. If you clear the cupboards to make room for healthy foods only, you risk backsliding into old habits the moment you find yourself in a room with the foods you crave.

Fortunately, there’s a middle ground for people who don’t want to totally sever ties with chocolate, chips, and ice cream. Rather than ignore your cravings for treats, you can fulfill them with healthier alternatives.

And I don’t mean switching to low-fat ice cream, fat-free chocolate, and paper-thin vegetable chips. Those won’t fill you up, nor will they satisfy your sweet/salty tooth.

If you want to beat cravings for unhealthy snacks, you have to indulge in something that is both filling and tasty. These three recipes are ones that have worked for me.

Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds

Craving chocolate? There’s nothing quite like the real thing, but a handful of cinnamon-roasted almonds comes close. Almonds taste pretty great on their own, but covering them in vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon takes them to new heights.

If you’re as big a fan of chocolate as I am, you already know how amazing almonds are when paired with a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth coating. Chocolate-covered almonds are one of my favourite indulgences, and I was looking for a healthier alternative when I came across this recipe.

Like all nuts, almonds are high in fibre, protein, and heart-healthy monosaturated fats. But unlike many other nuts, almonds are also low in carbs, making them great for diabetics or people on a low-carb diet.

I don’t remember where I found the original, but this cinnamon-roasted almond recipe is close. It has more salt and sugar than I care for, but you can easily cut that out and still have a great-tasting snack.

Make this recipe using almonds with the skin still on. That’s where most of the antioxidants are.

Sriracha and Lime Cashews

Rifling through the cupboards for a bag of chips? Grab some Sriracha-lime cashews instead.

I bet half these ingredients are already in your kitchen. Just toss cashews in a bowl of sriracha, lime juice, coconut, and a pinch of salt, then bake them in the oven to seal in the flavour. Your taste buds will quickly learn that this snack is just as good, if not better, than a bowl of all-dressed or BBQ chips.

Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, 82% of which is healthy unsaturated fatty acids. They’re also delicious. Cashews are by far my favourite nut, and when I’m not enjoying them in a bowl of chicken pad thai, I love to bake them with this lime Sriracha recipe for a quick, spicy snack.

Home-Made Frozen Yogurt

Is frozen yogurt healthier than ice cream? Trick question.

Some frozen yogurt is healthy, but there’s a good chance the stuff you get at the local froyo place is just as sugary and calorie-heavy as your typical bowl of ice cream.

That’s why the best frozen yogurt is the kind you make at home. It’s easier than it looks, and it doesn’t require any special equipment or tricky techniques. Just mix Greek yogurt with your choice of flavour – whether it’s fruit, coconut, honey, or peanut butter – and stick it in the fridge to harden up.

Greek yogurt with a high fat content will be creamier, but the no-fat variety can make for fine froyo as well. Go easy on the Nutella or peanut butter – that stuff spreads really well, so you only need a little bit to infuse your frozen yogurt with flavour.

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