Healthy Snacks to Satisfy Junk Food Cravings - Healthy recipes and cooking tips for a healthier lifestyle

Healthy Snacks to Satisfy Junk Food Cravings

August 25, 2022
Healthy Snacks to Satisfy Junk Food Cravings

Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savory, having a healthy snack option to satisfy your junk food cravings is essential.

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When your pantry is only packed with high-calorie junk food, it’s too easy to scarf down a bag of chips after promising yourself you’d only eat a handful.

Instead, be prepared with healthy snack options (and tasty snack recipes!) that can satisfy your junk food cravings in a way that’s good for your health and your waistline.

When it comes to healthy snacks, there are plenty of options to choose from, but not all of these foods will satisfy your cravings. If your healthy snack doesn’t stop you from craving the taste you were originally yearning for, it may just set you up for an unhealthy binge later on.

Most snack cravings can be easily identified as sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy, chewy, creamy, or a combination of these (who doesn’t love a sweet and spicy snack!). But no matter which of these tastes and sensations you’re craving, we have healthy snack ideas and recipes that will leave you feeling full and satisfied. They not only pack more nutrition than their junk food alternatives, but they’re also tasty, too!

Tips and Tricks for Healthy Snacks

Prepare Ahead of Time: Keep healthy snacks like cut vegetables, fruits, and homemade energy bars readily available to avoid reaching for junk food.

Stay Hydrated: Sometimes, thirst is mistaken for hunger. Drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes before deciding if you need to eat.

Portion Control: Pre-portion snacks into single servings to prevent overeating and to make healthy choices more convenient.

Healthy Swaps: Substitute unhealthy ingredients with healthier alternatives, like Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or baked sweet potato fries instead of regular French fries.

Flavor Enhancers: Use spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of your snacks without adding extra calories. Try cinnamon on apple slices or paprika on roasted chickpeas.

Protein and Fiber: Choose snacks that are high in protein and fiber that will help keep you feel full longer and stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Healthy Fats: Include healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil in your snacks to help you feel satiated.

Smart Snacking: Pair carbohydrates with protein or healthy fats to balance your snacks, such as apple slices with almond butter or whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese.

DIY Snacks: Make your own snacks at home to control ingredients and avoid added sugars and preservatives found in store-bought foods.

Appetizing: Make your snacks appetizing and visually appealing by incorporating a variety of colors and textures, which can make healthy options more enticing for your eyes and your mouth.

Keep It Fun: Experiment with new recipes and snack ideas to keep things interesting and prevent boredom from leading you back to junk food.

Snack Mindfully: Avoid eating when you’re distracted, like while you’re watching TV. Focus on your snack so you can enjoy it fully and recognize when you're satisfied.

Listen to Your Body: Sometimes cravings are a sign that your body needs a specific nutrient. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and choose healthy options to meet those needs.

Healthy Crunchy Snacks with Lower Sodium

Nuts. Thanks to their saltiness and crunch, nuts are a healthy and filling snack that can satisfy your craving for less-than-healthy salty snacks. The nutrition profile of nuts is far superior to those of sweet and salty snacks like chips, pretzels and crackers. They contain protein, healthy fats and fiber that help fill you up and keep you energized. They’re also high in unsaturated fat, which is linked to heart health, rather than unhealthy saturated or trans fats. To avoid consuming too much sodium, choose a lightly salted nut variety. Almonds and pistachios contain more potassium than other nuts, which helps reduce the effects of sodium and naturally regulates blood pressure.

Pecan Date Nut Bites

Sweet Treats Without Added Sugar

Dried Fruit. When you need a sugar fix, skip the candy and choose chewy, sweet dried fruit. Raisins, dried cranberries, dates, prunes, and other dried fruit such as apricots, pineapple, mango and apples, typically contain no added sugar, but they’re very sweet due to their natural sugar content. They also contain fiber, which helps keep blood sugar levels steady. Keep in mind that dried fruit can have a lot of calories so watch portion sizes—and eat less than you would if you were eating the same fruit in its original form. Enjoy dried fruit on its own or pair it with whole-grain cereal, nuts and seeds to make a healthy snack mix that satisfies your sweet tooth.

Cranberry Almond Trail Mix

Healthy Chocolate Snacks

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge. Diabetic-friendly, gluten-free and a satisfying treat, this fudge combines the rich, creamy flavors of chocolate and peanut butter. This indulgent snack offers a delightful balance of sweetness and savory notes, making it a perfect option when you’re craving a sweet treat. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be a delicious and surprisingly healthy snack when enjoyed in moderation. Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, it supports heart health and can enhance mood by boosting serotonin levels. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Protein-Packed High Energy Snacks

Protein Balls. Convenient and delicious, protein balls are a quick snack option, perfect for fueling your body and keeping energy levels up between meals. Made with nutritious ingredients like oats, nuts and protein powder, they provide a balanced mix of protein, healthy fats and fiber, making them a great snack. These bite-sized high-protein snacks help to keep you energized and satisfied, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Banana Protein Balls

Snack on a Smoothie

Smoothies. A great choice for a healthy snack, smoothies blend a variety of fruits, vegetables, greek yogurt and other nutritious ingredients into a portable and delicious drink. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, providing a natural energy boost any time you need a pick-me-up. Smoothies are versatile, allowing you to customize ingredients to meet your nutritional needs and taste preferences. By incorporating smoothies into your diet, you can enjoy a refreshing, delicious treat that promotes healthier eating habits.

Mixed Berry Smoothie


Fruit-Based Snacks

Fruit. A perfect option for a quick and nutritious healthy snack, fruit is packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Fruit supports overall health while satisfying sweet cravings naturally. This simple yet delicious snack promotes healthy eating by offering a convenient and wholesome alternative to processed snacks that’s sure to be a hit with kids.

Fast Fruit Salad

Vegetable-Based Snacks

Chickpeas. You may not think of chickpeas when you think of snack food, but you should. When you season and roast chickpeas, they become the perfect savory, crunchy snack. One serving also supplies 5 grams of protein and fiber, filling you up and keeping you satisfied longer than other types of crunchy snacks. You’ll find packaged chickpea snacks in stores, but the best way to enjoy this healthy snack is to make it yourself. Here’s how: Rinse and drain chickpeas, then dry with a paper towel. Lightly toss chickpeas with a small bit of olive oil and your favorite herbs or spices. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 35-40 minutes, until lightly browned and crunchy (shake halfway through for uniform results). For more snack ideas using chickpeas, check out these Quick and Simple Chickpea Recipes.

Crispy Chickpeas

Dips and Spreads

Hummus. For a super creamy snack, don’t discount hummus. This healthy and gluten-free snack can satisfy all types of junk food cravings, whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savory. Hummus comes in a wide variety of flavors, from savory garlic, jalapeno, and roasted pepper, to sweet flavors like chocolate and vanilla. Pair a savory version of this bean-based dip with raw veggies and whole-grain crackers or pair a sweet version with apple and banana slices. Since hummus is made from chickpeas, you’ll get a healthy dose of protein and fiber while satisfying your craving.

Garlic Hummus

FAQs: Healthy Snacks to Satisfy Junk Food Cravings

What are some healthy alternatives to potato chips?

Baked veggie chips, kale chips, or roasted chickpeas are all good options. These snacks provide a satisfying crunch without the extra calories and unhealthy fats.

What can I eat instead of candy when I crave something sweet?

Fresh fruit, dried fruit (without added sugar), or a small piece of dark chocolate are great sweet snack alternatives. You can also enjoy Greek yogurt with honey and fresh berries for a sweet and nutritious treat.

Are there any healthy options for salty snack cravings?

Absolutely! Nuts like almonds or walnuts, whole-grain crackers with hummus, or edamame sprinkled with a dash of sea salt are excellent choices.

What are some healthy snack ideas for kids who love junk food?

Offer the kids sliced apples with nut butter, homemade fruit popsicles, or Greek yogurt with granola and fruit. These snacks are not only tasty but they’re also packed with nutrients they need.

 Can I still enjoy popcorn as a healthy snack?

Yes, popcorn can be a healthy snack if you air-pop it and avoid adding too much butter or salt. You can also season it with healthy alternatives to salt, such as cinnamon, cocoa powder or a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. 

What are some healthy snacks to bring to work or school?

Some great portable snack options include mixed nuts, natural fruit and nut bars, baby carrots with hummus, or whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese. These snacks are easy to pack and will keep you satisfied throughout the day.

Are there any healthy dips to pair with veggies?

Hummus, Greek yogurt-based dips, guacamole, and salsa are all delicious and nutritious options to dip your favorite vegetables. If you prefer a sweeter dip, make this strawberry avocado salsa.

How can I satisfy my craving for ice cream in a healthier way?

Make your own frozen yogurt fruit pops, or enjoy a smoothie bowl topped with your favorite fruits, nuts, and seeds.

What are some low-calorie snacks that still feel indulgent?

Rice cakes with almond butter and banana slices, sweet potato cheddar bites, or a banana split made with vanilla yogurt can feel indulgent without being overly high in calories.

How can I avoid overeating snacks, even if they are healthy?

Portion control is key. Try pre-portioning your snacks into small containers or bags. Eat mindfully and focus on your hunger cues to prevent yourself from overeating.

What are some healthy alternatives to soda or sugary drinks?

Infused water with fresh fruits and herbs, unsweetened iced tea with lemon, or sparkling water with a splash of juice are refreshing and healthier alternatives to sugary drinks. You can also make this strawberry agua fresca that’s packed with fresh fruit.

Can I have chocolate on a healthy diet?

Yes, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or higher) can be eaten in moderation. It contains healthy antioxidants and can satisfy chocolate cravings without excessive sugar.

What are some protein-rich snacks that can replace junk food?

Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, or a handful of nuts and seeds are great protein-rich snacks that can help keep you full and energized.

Are there healthy alternatives to store-bought granola bars?

You can make your own granola bars at home using oats, nuts, seeds and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. This way, you control the ingredients and avoid added sugars and preservatives. 

What are some healthy snack options for late-night cravings?

Enjoy a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit, chia seed pudding, a handful of almonds, or a slice of whole-grain toast with avocado. These snacks are light and won't disrupt your sleep.

Can I satisfy my craving for baked goods in a healthy way?

Yes, just bake with whole-grain flour and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, and add fruits or vegetables to your recipes. A few healthy baking recipes you can make include banana bread cookies and chocolate zucchini bread.

What are some healthy snacks that are also budget-friendly?

Carrot and celery sticks, homemade trail mix, air-popped popcorn, and Greek yogurt with fruit are affordable and healthy snack options.

How can I make my healthy snacks at home?

You can make energy balls with a variety of healthy ingredients, including oats, nut butter and dried fruit. You can also bake your own veggie chips, or prepare a large batch of hummus to have on hand for dipping.

Are there any healthy alternatives to fast food snacks?

Instead of fast food fries, try baking your own sweet potato fries. Or instead of a fast food burger, make a homemade turkey burger or veggie burger with a whole-grain bun.

What are some creative ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my snacks?

You can make fruit and veggie smoothies, add vegetables to your hummus or yogurt dips, or create vegetable kebabs and fruit kebabs for a fun and colorful snack.

Craving junk food doesn't have to derail your healthy eating habits. By exploring a variety of delicious and nutritious snacks, you can satisfy your cravings while staying on track. For more ideas, check out our posts on Quick and Easy Heart-Healthy Snacks and Healthy After-School Snacks for Teens.

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