It's not easy staying healthy. Junk food is always egging us to quit, sitting on supermarket shelves and taunting us to break our diets. Sometimes, the urge to drop kick that meal management system is too much to ignore, and we just have to cheat a little bit. Luckily, there are some healthy alternatives to junk food out there that can let us cheat, without dreading our scales.
1. Instead of Potato Chips: Baked Zucchini Chips
Despite its tasty nature, a potato chip is the last thing that comes to mind when thinking of anything healthy. Junk food has given the potato a bad rap, poor guy. It's hard to resist cheating with this tasty little snack, though, so in order to quiet the beast within, try cooking up some oven baked kale chips instead. They may not have the same salty crunch of their bagged cousins, but kale chips are easy to make, and are a much healthier way to cheat on your diet than the alternative.
2. Instead of Caramel Corn: Popcorn
It sounds weird, doesn't it? Substituting one snack food for another? Well, when you get past the mountains of salt and butter that's usually found at movie theaters, popcorn can actually be an alright snack to cheat on your diet with. Readers may remember this guy from our piece on Planning Ahead With Healthy Office Snacks
. Popcorn is a great thing to munch on when your jaws itching to chew on something,
3. Instead of Candy Bars: Cacao Nibs
You can kick that craving for chocolate right in the teeth without having to stuff yourself full of sugar and calories. Cacao nibs are stuffed with chocolate flavor, and are sort of like nature's own healthy junk food. They're taken straight from the bean and provide you with antioxidants and other minerals as well as a tasty snack.
4. Instead of Beef Jerky: Ã¢‚¬¦Beef Jerky
Now hear us out. There are a lot of jerky brands that are just stuffed with sodium nitrate and MSG, which are awful for your diet, but not all of them! Many gourmet and all natural brands have a relatively low sodium count, and the protein that dried meat adds to your diet is nothing to sneeze at. Just don't go overboard and make them your main source of meat. We're trying to stick to a diet here, after all.
5. Instead of Cookies: Homemade Granola
Chuck out the cookie jar and instead keep a bag of some homemade granola. There are healthy packs of granola out on the store shelves, but they tend to have a lot sugar and calories in them. Remember, making something yourself lets you control everything going into it, so don't be afraid to cook something up yourself. You can even use this treat as a healthy dessert alternative, which you can read more about here
6. Instead of Ice Cream: Frozen Greek Yogurt
Lets face it, ice cream is delicious, but it sucks for maintaining any semblance of a diet. A healthy junk food alternative is to go for some frozen Greek yogurt instead and mix in some fruit for flavor. Not only does the yogurt come with less calories, it also can be a fair source of protein.
Keeping your bodybuilding meal bag filled with the food that's best for you is tough. Sometimes you just need to reward yourself for jogging that extra mile, or for hitting your new milestone on the weight rack. This list of healthy junk food alternatives won't replace your diet, but hopefully it will help keep you on the right track towards your goals. Know any good healthy alternatives we missed? Let us know in the comments below!