Turn Junk Food Into Healthy Food With These 9 Easy Food Swaps

After a big party, the notion of going on a diet to become healthy sounds like a good idea, and so you do a little bit of research on the foods you love and how many calories they have. Suddenly it dawns on you that you have to give up all your favorite foods if you ever were to go on a diet.

At that moment, any hope of you undergoing that magical 3-month before-after Instagram transformation meets a quiet death. But wait! Not all is lost. You don’t need to flip your life to make your choices healthy. You can still enjoy the same foods; you just need to make them healthier. Big things start with small changes. So here’s how you can turn your comfort foods into healthier ones.

1. Donuts

Donuts are basically fried dough in the shape of a circle sometimes filled all sorts of sugary goop like jelly and cream. To make your own healthy version, halve a gluten-free, whole grain bagel, mix some date paste, tahini, and vanilla essence together to form a ‘caramel spread’ and top with natural sprinkles.

2. French Fries

Nothing says soul food like deep fried potatoes. But if you’re watching those carbs, here’s what you can do. Simply cut whole sweet potatoes into shoestring fries, coat with a little oil and sea salt, then oven bake until crispy. They taste so good, you might actually prefer them over the usual fries.

3. Snack Cakes

Give the American snack cake a healthy twist. Just make or buy a gluten and dairy free sponge cake. Cut thin ½ inch layers of the cake crosswise, then cut lengthwise every 2 inches to form thin strips. Spoon a little cashew cream down one end of this strip and roll it up to form your very own healthy treat.

4. Chocolate Ice Cream

Ice cream is a creamy mixture of sugar, dairy, milk solids, vegetable fats, emulsifiers, flavors, colors and additives all blended up. No matter how unhealthy the ingredients sound, the end product absolutely delicious. If you’re craving for ice cream, take one frozen banana and blend with 1 tbsp raw cacao powder and 1 tsp maple syrup. Instant, healthy ice cream.

5. Spaghetti Bolognese

Why are carbs so devilishly tempting, right? Not to fret. Here’s how you can make your spaghetti healthy:

Use Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles instead of pasta.
Substitute cheaper mince/ground beef with lentils or lean mince
Sprinkle nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan over your dish
Use passata or canned (unsweetened) tomatoes instead of ‘ready-made’ bolognese sauces

6. Pizza

Pizza is an all-American staple that you just cannot live without. But just 2 slices can take you up by 800 calories. So here’s how you can healthify your pizza. Use large field mushrooms, thick slices of aubergine (eggplant) or thin gluten-free wraps as your pizza base. Skip the cheese or go for smaller quantities of a richly flavored cheese, such as feta or goat’s cheese.

7. Potato Chips

Potato chips or crisps are thin slices of potato that have been deep-fried, baked, kettle-cooked, or popped until crunchy. A few chips once in a while isn’t going to turn your diet goals upside down. But if you’re a regular muncher, switch to homemade and lightly salted popcorn or kale chips instead.

8. Nachos

This Mexican finger food has become an integral part of the American diet. The flavorsome combination of cheese, corn chips, savory meat sauce, and Mexican spices is the stuff of cravings. But with a little alteration, this dish can become a healthy snack. Make your own healthy corn chips by oven baking thin strips of gluten-free flat wraps. Hold the cheese and substitute half or all of your mince (ground beef) with kidney or black beans.

9. Mashed Potato

Can’t give up your favorite creamy potato mash? You don’t need to. Just put a spin on it to make it healthy. Simply substitute ½ of your potato mix with mashed (cooked) cauliflower and keep your butter and cream to a minimum. You can even use a little bit of coconut cream or olive oil instead. Now you can mash your potatoes and have them too.