We’re all trying to eat healthier these days, but sometimes it’s hard to resist the siren song of junk food. For those days when you’re battling major cravings (and trying to feed picky kids), we’ve gathered up a bunch of better-for-you alternatives to well-loved treats. Keep reading for some major mealtime inspiration.

Junk Food Favorite: Tacos
Healthier Option: Crispy cauliflower & potato tacos

For your next meatless Monday, try this healthy twist on tacos from Veggies Don’t Bite. An almond and cornmeal-based breading give the potatoes and cauliflower a crispy bite, and a tangy sauce on top is the perfect way to finish the tacos off. To get the recipe, click here.

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Junk Food Favorite: Chips
Healthier Option: Roasted chickpeas

Tackle those cravings for salty, oily chips by whipping up a batch of roasted chickpeas, like this recipe from The Awesome Green. They’re just as crunchy as chips but way better for you; plus, you can customize the spices to your family’s liking. Click here to snag the recipe.

Junk Food Favorite: Fried chicken
Healthier Option: Garlic parmesan crispy oven fried chicken

Our kids are obsessed with fried chicken, so we’re happy to take any chance to “healthify” it. This oven-fried chicken from Savory Nothings is just as delicious as the real thing but much better for you. Sure, there’s still some butter in there, but we’re believers of all things in moderation. Get the recipe by clicking here.

Junk Food Favorite: Fast food fries
Healthier Option: Crispy baked fries

Get your fill of crunchy, salty fries with this genius recipe from Well Plated. Baked fries can often become soggy, but this method keeps them super crispy without too much extra work. To see how it’s done, click here.

Junk Food Favorite: Box mix brownies
Healthier Option: Fudgy raspberry brownies

The picture might fool you, but these fudgy brownies from Feasting on Fruit are much healthier than your usual recipe. They’re vegan and gluten-free, the ingredient list is super simple, and the only dish you’ll need to dirty is your blender (sign us up!). Click here to get the recipe.

Junk Food Favorite: Nachos with the works
Healthier Option: Veggie-filled nachos

For a lazy dinner, nothing beats a big pan of nachos. This version from You Totally Got This is healthier than you might think—it’s light on the cheese and heavy on the veggies, making it a great option for the whole family. To grab the recipe, click here.

Junk Food Favorite: Fudgesicles
Healthier Option: Peanut butter banana yogurt popsicles

Instead of sugary ice cream, give these healthy popsicles from Unusually Lovely a try. Made with bananas, Greek yogurt and peanut butter (plus a drizzle of chocolate, of course), you can feel good about giving your kids this protein-filled snack. To find out how they’re made, click here.

photo: Lindsey Johnson

Junk Food Favorite: Milkshakes
Healthier Option: Pinkie Pie punch

Milkshakes are great, but definitely not the healthiest choice, which is where this smoothie by Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner comes in. It’s just as colorful as a strawberry shake, but there are lots of tasty fruits and veggies hidden inside, and you can easily adjust the recipe to fit your kiddo’s taste. Get the recipe by clicking here.

Junk Food Favorite: Hamburgers
Healthier Option: Black bean burgers

Skip the fast food, and try out this lightened-up burger from Our Family Eats. They’re super easy to make with items you probably already have in the pantry—click here to grab the recipe.

Junk Food Favorite: Boxed macaroni and cheese
Healthier Option: Green macaroni and cheese

Our kiddos love mac and cheese, and this green version from Weelicious is sure to be a home run. It’s got plenty of cheesy flavor, but it also incorporates spinach, broccoli and peas—the perfect way to sneak veggies into your picky eater’s diet. Snag the recipe by clicking here.

Junk Food Favorite: Chocolate chip cookies
Healthier Option: Chunky monkey cookies

If you’ve got a cookie monster in your family, you’ve got to try making chunky monkey cookies inspired by Veggies Don’t Bite. They’re packed with oats and sweetened with bananas and dates, plus chocolate chips to lure in the littles. To get the recipe, click here.

Junk Food Favorite: Pizza
Healthier Option: Pizza stuffed peppers

It’s hard to resist the occasional pizza delivery, but we love making these pizza stuffed peppers from Simple Roots Wellness for a healthy weeknight dinner. Filled with ground beef and tomato sauce and topped with melty mozzarella, it’s sure to be an instant favorite. Click here to get the recipe.

photo: Best Cleanse Recipes

Junk Food Favorite: Potato chips
Healthier Option: Beet chips

Keeping potato chips in the house is dangerous (especially for us serial snackers), which is why we love these beet chips from Best Cleanse Recipes. You’ll still get that addicting crunch, but without all the added fat and salt since they’re baked instead of fried. Find out how they’re made by clicking here.

Junk Food Favorite: Cupcakes
Healthier Option: Oatmeal chocolate chip muffins

Instead of sugar-laden cupcakes, whip up these healthy muffins from Our Family Eats that will still manage to satisfy your sweet tooth. They’re packed with fiber and good-for-you ingredients, making them perfect for a quick breakfast or grab-and-go snack. Click here to get the recipe.

Junk Food Favorite: Chicken nuggets
Healthier Option: Baked chicken and veggie nuggets

Take a cue from Cheeky Kitchen and make these fun nuggets that are way more wholesome than what you’d find at your local fast food joint. Coating them in panko breadcrumbs keeps them super crunchy, and baking them cuts the need for oil. Click here to get the recipe.

—Susie Foresman

 

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