20 Healthy Substitutes To Junk Food

Junk food. Who wouldn’t love them, right? They comfort us during those bad days (especially when we’re on PMS), and the taste is so addictive and unusually tasty that it keeps us wanting more.

As most of us would probably know, junk food contains many unhealthy ingredients. It is especially high in glutamate flavouring to boost their savouriness.

Too much junk food may lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain and many other chronic health conditions. We encourage you to substitute these junk foods for a better and healthier you:

1. Waffles to wholegrain waffles
Store-bought waffles are often laden with preservatives. Opt for whole-grain waffles and the right accompaniments (eat waffles in small portion and top with fruit rather than adding butter and maple syrup).

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2. Fried onion rings to baked onion rings
Onion rings are high in fat, sodium and are pretty much stripped off of all the beneficial nutrients. Still craving for them? Instead of fried onion rings, opt for baked onion rings.

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3. Mac & cheese to cheesy cauliflower
Mac & cheese is alarmingly high in sodium and calories. If you still prefer cheesiness in your mouth, opt for boiled cauliflower. Then whisk up a cheese sauce and bake them in the oven.

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4. Kebab to kebab with less meat and sauce
Nutritionally, kebab is not too bad. The key to keeping the kebab healthy is to skip cheese, extra creamy sauces and less meat.

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5. Pretzels to chia seed crackers
Pretzels are already high in carbs, sodium and calories, so adding on extra flavour by way of sweetening or serving them with additional dipping sauces is just going to exacerbate the problem of unhealthy pretzels.

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6. Fried chicken to baked chicken
Everyone’s favourite snack is high in fat which could clog your arteries. Opt for baked chicken instead.

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7. Cookies to apple slices with peanut butter
Cookies are high in calories. Opt for apple slices with 1tbsp peanut butter instead.

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8. Burgers to turkey slice sandwiches
Among the unhealthy things lurking in a typical burger include ammonia, fat, calories, additives and sodium. Switch to turkey slice sandwiches instead, and throw in more veggies and less condiments like mustard.

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9. French fries to baked carrot fries
The saturated fat in fries is like a ticking time bomb which could lead to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Substitute it by baking carrots in French cut.

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10. Nuggets to chicken soup with noodles
Nuggets are also everyone’s go-to snack. but they contain high fat, sodium and calories. Eat a healthy bowl of chicken soup with noodles instead as it only contain 2.9 g of fat, 343 mg of sodium, and 87 kcal calories.

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11. Regular sausages to homemade sausages
Basically, those who eat processed meats have an increased risk of an early death due to the high content of nitrate, calories, saturated fat and sodium. Make your own sausages for less sodium content.

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12. Candies to fruits
Remember when you were young and your mother stopped you from eating candies? Candies are high in sugar, calories and saturated fat, which could lead to blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. If you have sweet cravings, opt for fruits instead.

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13. Regular cakes to sponge cakes/fruit-based cakes
Cakes aren’t necessarily bad, but stay away from the ones with high calorie content. Substitute the usual cakes with sponge cakes or cakes made from dried fruit or other fruits.

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14. Fried donuts to baked donuts
Typical donuts are normally fried, made from white flour and high in sugar, which makes them highly refined carbs; meaning it lacks fibre which is essential to keep you healthy.  Opt for baked ones with healthy toppings such as nuts and fruits.

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15. Muffins to raisin brans
Store-bought muffins are usually packed with preservatives, processed fat and sugar, with calories amounting to 400 per muffin. Substitute it with a bowl of bran, and eat it with 2/3 cup low-fat milk. It’ll give you the added bonus of 2 g more fibre and 200 mg bone-building calcium.

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16. ‘Naughty spread’ to low fat cottage cheese
Surprisingly, even your nutella and PB&J spreads could pose a threat to your health as they contain more calories, sugar, fat and modified palm oil. Opt for low-fat cottage cheese for its soft consistency and 2 percent fat.

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17. Creamy ranch dressing to hummus
There are harmful ingredients in ranch dressing, and they include MSG and trans fat. Opt for hummus for its complex carbs and monounsaturated fat.

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18. Pizza to bagel with tomatoes
Why is pizza unhealthy? A single serving of pizza alone normally contains saturated fats which could clog your arteries. Substitute it with bagel topped with tomatoes.

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19. Pasta to soba noodles
Pasta usually contains carbs with a high glycemic index, and consuming it increases the risk of coronary heart disease in women. Switch to soba noodles as they are packed with fibre and protein.

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20. Puff pastries to butter-brushed phyllo dough
Pastries generally contain bad carbs which can make you fat and increase your risk for disease. Switch to butter-brushed phyllo dough for less calorie.

Photo credit: Nikki [email protected]


Is changing your diet challenging or a breeze for you? 

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