To me, being healthy isn’t about deprivation. In the words of Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” which is an easy general formula to follow. And I truly believe in the 80/20 rule: eat mostly organic, real, whole foods, but don’t deprive yourself of snacks and desserts! And what if I told you that there are actually healthier alternatives to some of your fave junk foods out there? Yup, you read that correctly. Here are some of my go-to swaps for classic “junk” foods. Trust me, you won’t even miss the originals!
So I’m not saying that the swaps below are necessarily “healthy” but they are definitely healthIER than their counterparts and wayyyyy less processed. Just compare the ingredient labels on each and you will definitely see a huge difference! Many of the popular junk foods contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, refined oils, GMOs, and highly-processed ingredients and sugars 🍭
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A lot of these can be found on Thrive Market. If you haven’t heard of it or would like to know more, I have a blog post all about it and why I’ve been a loyal member for a few years, and how you can get 40% off your first order and a free gift! It’s a great way to save some serious moola on healthy, organic brands. It’s where I buy most of my snacks and pantry staples!
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21 Healthier Alternatives to Your Fave Junk Foods
Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups → Justin’s Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Reese’s are delicious, but they contain emulsifiers, dextrose, and TBHQ (a harmful preservative). Justin’s are a better swap because they use organic dark chocolate and organic cocoa butter 🍫
Little Debbie Brownies → Hail Merry Dark Chocolate Macaroons
Hail Merry bites are paleo, vegan, gluten free, and taste just as good as Little Debbie! They’re quite rich, too.
Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips → Siete Lime Grain Free Tortilla Chips
Siete makes grain free tortilla chips with non-GMO cassava flour and avocado oil. On the other hand, Tostitos use GMO corn, inflammatory vegetable oils, maltodextrin, and natural flavors.
Cheez Its → Simple Mills Almond Flour Cheddar Crackers
Simple Mills has basically made a better-for-you Cheez-It cracker! They are gluten free and use no artificial ingredients. You will literally think you’re eating a Cheez-It (minus the vegetable oil and TBHQ).
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar → Eating Evolved Primal Chocolate Bar
Eating Evolved chocolate bars are the real deal. They contain no gluten, dairy, or soy, and are sweetened with organic coconut sugar. See ya later, Hershey’s (and soy, PGPR, and natural flavors).
Pillsbury Frosting → Simple Mills Organic Chocolate Frosting
I must warn you that you’ll probably want to devour a whole jar of this Simple Mills frosting at once. It’s certified organic and has coconut oil, organic cocoa powder, and sea salt. Pillsbury, unfortunately, has corn syrup, canola oil, artificial flavors, polysorbate 60, and soy.
Chips Ahoy! → Simple Mills Chocolate Chip Cookies
Simple Mills, again for the win! These cookies only have 7g of sugar, compared to Chips Ahoy with 11g. Plus they are gluten free and contain natural, organic ingredients 🍪
I’m a sucker for an Oreo. But not so much a fan of the canola oil, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavor. Annie’s aren’t perfect by any means, but surely an organic upgrade!
Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars → Kind Chocolate Granola Bars
Granola bars that actually have really great ingredients are hard to find. Kind bars still have some ingredients I don’t love, but they are a step up from Quaker for sure! Kind bars are non-GMO and contain no corn syrup. You can always make your own granola bars!
Ritz Cheese Sandwich Crackers → Late July Organic Mini Cheddar Cheese Sandwich Crackers
Mmmm, so much nostalgia from being a kid when I think about Ritz crackers. Late July’s version contain no canola oil, are organic, and produced without pesticides.
Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn → Lesser Evil Organic Sea Salt Popcorn
I encourage you to ditch the microwavable popcorn bags! A lot of them are lined with PFOAs and contain preservatives such as TBHQ and weird oils. The Lesser Evil popcorn is organic and the only addition is organic coconut oil and salt. You could also buy an air popper or make popcorn on the stove 🍿
Cool Ranch Doritos → Late July Dude Ranch Organic Multigrain Chips
Ohhhh I used to DEVOUR Cool Ranch Doritos back in the day. However, they’re made with GMO corn, vegetable oil, corn syrup solids, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. Late July’s are organic and the ingredients are much better quality.
Coca-Cola Soda → OLIPOP Vintage Cola
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried OLIPOP. They’re sparkling tonics that support digestive health! They literally just taste like soda. They’re loaded with prebiotics, fiber, and only 2g of sugar in a can.
Sour Patch Kids → SmartSweets Sour Buddies
Sour Patch kids contain a whopping 24g of sugar, and SmartSweets only have 3g! They are free of corn syrup, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners, too.
Unreal Gems are non-GMO and made with organic dark chocolate, cocoa butter, and vanilla. They’re naturally colored with red cabbage, beetroot, carrot, hibiscus, and turmeric!
Jolly Ranchers → Torie & Howard Hard Candies
Jolly Ranchers are basically corn syrup, sugar, artificial flavors, and dyes. Torie & Howard’s candies are made with organic rice syrup, organic sugar, and naturally colored with fruits and veggies!
Frito Lay Potato Chips → SpudLove Organic Potato Chips
SpudLove chips are made from organic potatoes and organic sunflower oil. Plus they are made in small batches.
Werther’s Original Soft Caramels → Cocomels Organic Coconut Milk Caramels
Do Werther’s instantly make you think of your grandma, or what? Cocomels caramels are scrumptious. They’re vegan, dairy-free, and made from organic coconut milk. Mmmmm!
Slim Jim’s → The New Primal Beef Sticks
New Primal beef sticks have simple, natural ingredients and are made from grass-fed and grass-finished beef. Slim Jim’s actually contain beef, pork, and chicken. Slim Jim’s also have soy, corn syrup, maltodextrin, and nitrites.
Cheetos Cheese Puffs → Lesser Evil Paleo Puffs
I just had a flashback to my fingers turning orange from eating Cheetos! However, they have canola oil, artificial flavors, MSG, and artificial colors. Lesser Evil Paleo Puffs are certified organic, dairy-free, vegan, and are made with organic cassava flour, coconut oil, and coconut flour.
Nabisco Nilla Wafers → Country Choice Organic Vanilla Wafers
Nilla wafers contain soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors. Country Choice wafers are an organic option without the sketchy ingredients!
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Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments, or if you’re looking for some other alternatives! 👇