10 Healthy Alternatives For Your Favorite Junk Foods

Junk foods

January 22, 2021

By Betsy Andrews

With COVID-19 keeping us at home, out of grocery stores, and noshing to relieve stress, snack foods are selling better than ever. Huge companies like Mondelez, which produces Oreos, Ritz Crackers, and other boxed nibbles, have seen record sales as people hoard supermarket brands — the same ones filled with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, and artificial additives.

But those aren’t the only way to satisfy your urge for a treat. There are plenty of small companies that are “able to combine the wellness with the indulgence,” says Denise Purcell, trends expert for the Specialty Food Association. Many use organic ingredients, recycled packaging, and other sustainable practices. And with supply chains disrupted and more powerful companies hogging grocery shelves, these artisan producers are turning to online sales to ship their nutritious snacks directly to you.

So, when you’re hankering for a cookie or potato chips, instead of reaching for Big Snacks, try something healthier and more earth-friendly, made by a mom-and-pop shop that needs your help right now to stay afloat.

Tired of waking up to Fruit Loops?

Open a box of Magic Spoon Fruity Cereal instead. These nostalgic O’s start your day off with lemony flavor and a rainbow of colors — sans grains, gluten, and sugar. Made with milk and whey proteins, tapioca starch, and inulin (chicory-root fiber) sweetened with monk fruit extract, they’re low in carbs and packed with proteins for a Keto-friendly morning fix.

Just The Cheese

Because Cheez-Its are your jam.

Why not go for Just the Cheese? From a Wisconsin family that makes their own cheddar, then bakes it into crunchy, savory bites, this is a one-ingredient snack food (plus chiles for the jalapeño version) whose name says it all.

Having a Snack Pack attack? Grab a healthier pudding.

Made with pasture-raised milk and TCHO’s 66% Fair Trade cacao, certified-organic St. Benoit Creamery TCHO Chocolate Pot de Crème is 200 calories of thick, dark chocolate extravagance in a 3.5 ounce jar.

Lesser Evil popcorn

For a buttery binge on Netflix night.

Reach for LesserEvil Organic Himalayan Gold Popcorn. Air-popped, non-GMO kernels coated in coconut oil, Himalayan salt, and botanical extracts, it has the luxe flavor of movie theater popcorn with less fat and calories. And if it’s sweet you’re craving, the Himalayan Sweetness variety is a healthy ringer for caramel corn.

Change out your Cheetos habit for a healthier addiction.

Sprout Organic White Cheddar Curlz are made with lentil and chickpea flours (with some help from corn and rice) keep these thin, snappy, airy snacks free of gluten, and the organic cheddar gives them a cheesy, tangy flavor. They’ll sooth the hanger in you.

Since you must guzzle soft drinks…

Switch to United Sodas! In a sleek array of monochromatic cans, the dozen creative varieties—strawberry basil, pear elderflower, toasted coconut— are just this side of sweetened with organic cane sugar, stevia, and erythritol, a plant derivative, for only 30 calories each. All natural flavorings make for elegant sipping with a fine effervescence.

American Flatbread

If the Dominos delivery person is your new BFF…

Swap the greasy takeout for American Flatbread. Both the scrumptious pies and the wood-burning, stone ovens they’re baked in are hand-crafted in Vermont. Organic wheat yields a thin crust that crisps up beautifully after just a few minutes in the oven. Locally sourced ingredients include whole-milk cheese and veggies like mushrooms, caramelized onions, and organic tomato sauce, and they come in vegan and gluten-free versions, too.

Too much Campbell’s and Cup-a-Soup in your life?

Re-school your palate with Millie’s Sipping Broth. Created by a teacher who craved a healthier snack between classes, the vegan, gluten-free ingredients—many of them organic or wild foraged—come tucked into a steepable, compostable tea bag. Including none of the MSG or other additives of traditional bouillon cubes, flavors like Delightful Pho and Thai Lemongrass offer a savory break at less than 10 calories each.

Base Culture raspberry brownies

Move over, Hostess.

Let yourself eat cake with Base Culture Raspberry Brownie. Grain-, dairy-, and preservative-free, it’s a fruity, chocolatey Paleo treat moistened and sweetened with honey, cashew butter, raspberry purée, coconut oil, and other whole ingredients. Well-spiced and spongey, the Nutty Pumpkin Bread is delicious, too. Each bar has 5 grams of protein, so if you’re looking for a snack that will also quell big hunger, this is a good option.

Missing your ice cream parlor sundae?

Skip the processed toppings with loads of added sugar, and lavish your ice cream with Picky Bars Drizzle. Vegan, organic, and soy- and gluten-free, this luxe dessert sauce oozes with nutty, spicy, warm flavor. Made from sprouted almonds and the antioxidant-rich superfood maca and spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, and a touch of coconut sugar, it’s a decadent dip for fruit and a sensational spread for toast, too.

Looking for more healthy snacks?