From time to time, the munchies strike. Sometimes with warning signs, but usually out of nowhere. It’s a craving for junk food, and it can be powerful. Sometimes these cravings are triggered by stress, and when that is the case, there are ways to tame the cravings without blowing a healthy eating plan altogether. We all crave junk food. Occasionally, you can go for it and eat a pint of ice cream, even when you’re aware you shouldn’t.
Still, there are snacks and even fast-food meals that are less unhealthy than most choices out there. You just have to recognize which one to choose. Next time you’re craving something, pick up one of these not-so-junky foods. Don’t forget you also have the alternative of making healthier snacks at home! Keep reading to find out our top picks for the least unhealthy junk foods.
Because beef jerky is considered a snack food, many people wonder whether it’s a healthy or unhealthy option. Jerky is a popular and convenient treat. It’s a high-protein snack that will help you feel full for a long time compared to foods full of simple carbohydrates.
It is made from lean cuts of beef which are marinated in various sauces, spices, and other additives. It then undergoes multiple processing methods, such as curing, smoking, and drying, before its packaged for sale. It’s about as full of protein as you can get. If the sodium intake troubles you, stick to the recommended serving.
Since the 1980s, Chips and salsa have become universal. Salsa is made with a lot of vegetables, making it healthier than the other creamy options. Plus, you’ll get a massive boost of lycopene, an antioxidant, from the tomatoes. Salsa is one of the most desired toppings around the world for anything from tacos to raw vegetables.
Whether it’s jalapeño salsa, tomato salsa, or more eccentric flavors like mango, salsa is a standard in numerous countries and diets. But is it healthy? Since it’s often coupled with less healthy foods like chips (which you may want to substitute with tortilla chips because they have fewer calories), most people think salsa isn’t healthy, but the truth may surprise you.
Salsa can store a nutritional punch and is excellent for weight loss. It’s a tasty way to add a distinct flavor to your food while also providing the nutrients that your body craves.
Taco Bell Crunchy Taco
If you want to eat healthier but are still craving junk food, fast food can quickly throw a wrench in your dreams. Fast food is mainly loaded with calories, fat, and carbs yet short on fruits and vegetables unless you choose a salad.
Fortunately, Taco Bell offers an option that suits low-calorie, vegetarian, vegan, low-carb, keto, or high-protein diets. The Crunchy Taco comes with seasoned beef, lettuce, and cheese in a crunchy taco shell. It has 170 calories and is a solid snack. Lower the calories even more by making it fresco-style. That removes the cheese and adds fresh pico de gallo, which brings the calories down to 140 and the fat to 7 grams.
Not near a Taco Bell? There are many other spots to grab a taco across the country or make it yourself at home!
PopcornIt’s low in sodium, calories, and fat, but people continue to debate, is popcorn healthy. The answer is that there’s a right and wrong way to eat it. Popcorn is a whole grain, and it’s substantial, so you feel like you’re eating more. Buy popcorn kernels and pop it yourself on the stove. You can control how much butter goes in it, and you can play around with your favorite seasonings. Parmesan cheese, Chili powder, and cinnamon sugar all make excellent toppings.
You may not have time to make your popcorn at home all the time, so if you’re looking to buy some at the grocery store, it’s essential to check the ingredients before purchasing. Look for varieties that have only recognizable ingredients to avoid artificial flavors and colors.
Also, check that the popcorn was popped in a non-hydrogenated oil and that it contains reasonable sodium levels.
Yes, pork rinds are deep-fried, but compared to potato chips, depending on your dietary needs, they’re practically healthy food. Even though they are high in sodium and fat, there are little to no carbohydrates in them, and they’re full of protein.
Pork rinds or pork skin is commonly eaten as a snack, in which it is fried or roasted on pork fat. Raw pork rinds have high-fat content, and frying causes the fat of the uncooked skin to give up to the point it shrinks considerably.
They have been regarded as an alternative snack for Atkins diet patients. So if you have no religious objections or heart diseases, feel free to munch away at ’em!
When you’re itching for a salty, crunchy snack, there’s nothing quite like pretzels or potato chips. While high-calorie chips are widely known for being less-than-ideal snack choices, are pretzels healthy? They are generally low in calories and can be decent nutritionally depending on the specific type, especially if they’re homemade or contain wheat flour alternatives.
Crunchy pretzels are well-known for being low-fat, salty snacks. They don’t have much fiber, so they are often tolerated by people following a low-fiber diet for digestive reasons. They are high in simple carbs to provide a quick source of energy before or during a workout.
Nowadays, there are many flavored versions to choose from, like honey-mustard or spicy buffalo wings, which run about 140 calories per serving.
McDonald’s Egg McMuffinFor those wondering what a McDonald’s item is doing on our list, hear me out! Breakfast really is the most critical meal of the day. And for those who recognize this but don’t have the time to make a healthy breakfast at home, fattening fast food is the only option most of the time. The Egg McMuffin is actually not that bad for you!
The classic breakfast sandwich consists of an English muffin, one egg, American cheese, one small circle of Canadian bacon, and butter. It comes in at a modest 290 calories. Pretty harmless stuff, considering consuming 350 to 500 calories at breakfast is a standard recommendation. Doesn’t this sound great?
Dove Bar Raspberry Sorbet
Sorbet is always a great option when it comes to frozen treats. Dove makes a raspberry sorbet bar buried in dark chocolate that only has 150 calories. It never hurts to have this box in the freezer when a dessert craving hits. Made with smooth raspberry sorbet and dipped in rich Dove Dark Chocolate, this frozen dessert is an easy treat that doesn’t need a special occasion to savor.
These snack-size ice cream creations are great for sharing with friends and family or for stocking up your freezer for those moments when you want to enjoy a cold treat but want to watch your calorie intake.
There is something so gratifying and delicious about guacamole. It is incredibly satisfying and goes well with some tortilla chips or high-fiber crackers. The chief ingredient in guacamole is avocados which are great for your body because they contain fiber, carotenoids, and folate. Avocados sometimes get a bad reputation because of their high fat content, but it is almost all unsaturated fat, which is good.
Here’s how to quench your guacamole craving without overdoing it. Keep the serving size to a realistic half cup. Limit yourself by placing the nachos or veggies on the plate and not diving into the bag. When the sides and the guac are done, so is snack time!
Life Savers, those sweet, unmistakable rolls of hard candies with the hole in the center, have been a standard American candy for more than 100 years. Even today, Life Savers are still one of the leading candy brands in America. It’s never a terrible idea to keep some hard candy like these around. Since you suck on them, they last longer, and you tend to eat less than candy you chew immediately and swallow.
You get to enjoy the sweetness for a bit and stretch your sugar calories, which are only 60 in four sweets, which can last a long time. They are practically available everywhere, including many specialty shops. As long as you control yourself and eat just a few pieces, you can’t do much damage.
Oh, that sweet smell of soft, warm oatmeal cookies baking on a relaxed, fall afternoon. Or, maybe you would sooner dunk a crunchy one in a cold glass of milk on those hot summer days.
Whichever your preference, you may wonder if that cookie you’re devouring is junk. After all, oatmeal is known to lower cholesterol, right? If you must eat a cookie, an oatmeal one is the best bet for being more healthy. Whole grain oats contain a lot of fiber and minerals like calcium and iron.
When you add dried fruit or nuts, the vitamin, fiber, and protein counts go up even more. It’s even better if your cookies have raisins. They are a naturally good source of phytochemicals that can enhance your immune system.
If you love oatmeal cookies but want to keep it healthy and sugar-free, stick to oatmeal and add some fresh fruits and dark chocolate. This oatmeal brand from Amazon is one of our go-to’s, so check it out.
If you want to read something about how to take care of your diet, here’s another article for you: 8 Dangerous Foods That Can Worsen Your Anxiety!