I rarely crave healthy foods. Now and again, something will really appeal to me, and that’s awesome when it happens. But when I’m done work, tired, and not feeling like cooking, I can’t say that I want to order in a salad. I definitely lean toward pizza, chicken wings, burgers and the like. I just do. And I’m not alone in that. Fortunately, I’ve been finding nutritious options that taste like they must be junk food. It’s making a difference.
Some Healthy Foods Are So Good!
Since I found it fun to taste several brands of meatless burger, I decided at the start of this year to start hunting for healthy foods that taste like junk food. I wanted to find some options I would crave but that were actually pretty nutritious. The rule was that even if the options I found weren’t perfectly flawless in their nutrient content, they would at least be substantially better for me than the conventional alternative.
I need to take a minute to give Bree most of the credit here. I might have hunted down a lot of the things I wanted to try, and I did nearly all the shopping for the ingredients, but Bree did more than half the food prep and cooking. She’s just better at it than I am. I’m not a bad cook, but let’s face it, Bree is incredible.
Crave-Worthy Healthy Foods that Taste Like Junk Food
The following are the health foods I tried and that I felt passed the test. This means that they were made with ingredients I could get my hands on at my local grocery store, they didn’t cost an arm and a leg, and they didn’t take a million years to prepare. They were delicious enough that if I was in the mood for junk food, they hit the spot.
1 – Black Bean Brownies
I’m adding these first because I was more than slightly doubtful about these. Black bean brownies were the one item on the healthy foods list that Bree found. I never would have chosen these. That said, they’re easily one of my favorite desserts now. They sound so gross, but they taste chocolaty and fudgy. If I want a rich dessert, these definitely work. Here’s the recipe I used.
2 – Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are sneaky among healthy foods. If you fry them the same as you do making potato-based fries, they’re just as deep fried and just as bad for you (funny about that). But if you bake them in the oven with a touch of olive oil, they’re packed full of nutrients including antioxidants. I’ve started baking mine with rosemary instead of salt and they’re incredible. I’ll eat a ton of them, feel full, and still enjoy the crispiness I’m craving. I used this video to get the crispiness right while oven baking.
3 – Chickpea “Cookie Dough”
Aside from the huge hit of sugar, eating raw cookie dough is very bad for you. Many people think it’s because of eating the raw egg. That’s true, but only to a very small degree. It’s actually the raw flour (I was as surprised as you are). Flour is not intended to be eaten raw, it is permitted to be sold even if it contains E. coli, a type of bacteria that can lead to serious food poisoning. You do not want to get sick off this one. It’s cooked out with the flour, but this is the main reason actual cookie dough shouldn’t be eaten raw. But I’ve found a great recipe to satisfy the sweet tooth and avoid the risk of raw flour and egg while also getting a ton of protein, fiber and nutrients. Mock cookie dough using chickpeas tastes incredible, and I’m amazed at how perfect the texture is. Here’s the recipe I used.
4 – Chia Seed Pudding
Before you roll your eyes at this being on a healthy foods list, try it. Make a recipe that appeals, leave it overnight, then have it for breakfast. Or have it for your dessert. You can alter it with berries or fruit, different types of sweeteners (I like maple syrup or honey the best), dark chocolate (go for a very high cocoa content or just flat-out cocoa), or whatever else appeals to you. The protein, fiber, omega-3s and antioxidants make this as perfect as it tastes. Here’s a good video to get your recipe started.