Let's face it: Almost nothing beats a buttery heap of hearty mashed potatoes or a decadent double chocolate chip cookie. The key word here is almost—and as satisfying as junk food may seem in the short term, we all know that those empty calorie–packed indulgences will really cost us some extra time and sweat at our next gym visit. Thankfully, D'Marge has rounded up a handful of healthy junk-food alternatives that aren't just packed with more vitamins and nutrients—they even (dare we say) taste better than the "original" thing. From a superfood chocolate swap to a vitamin-packed mashed potato replacement, fill your grocery basket with these better-for-you junk-food substitutes:
Instead of croutons, try… almonds or sunflower seeds. You don't have to give up that satisfying crunch in your next Caesar salad—simply ditch those toasted cubes of bread (which often lack fiber and whole grains) and opt for these nut toppings, which are packed with vitamins E and B and heart-healthy fats.
Instead of sour cream, try… Greek yogurt, a protein- and probiotic-packed alternative that makes an equally tasty ingredient in dressings, dips, and sauces. Or dollop this thick and tangy swap onto baked potatoes, tacos, and chili for a healthy dose of vitamin D12, calcium, and potassium.
Instead of soda, try… sparkling water. Swapping those notoriously sugary carbonated drinks for bubbly agua means you don't have to give up the fizz and flavor, especially when the alternatives have fewer artificial ingredients, zero calories, and just as many bubbles.
Instead of mashed potatoes, try… mashed cauliflower. If you're craving carbs and tempted to whip up a packet of mashed potatoes, reach for this equally hearty (and more vitamin-packed) substitute, which can be steamed and mashed. Add almond milk, grass-fed butter, and sea salt to complete the dish.
Instead of milk chocolate chips, try… cacao nibs, chocolate's natural superfood source. Unlike the processed milk chocolate chips in the baking aisle, raw and organic cacao is rich in antioxidants and fiber and has zero sugar.
Head over to D'Marge to see the full list of healthy junk-food alternatives, and then tell us your favorite ingredient swaps in the comments.