Cure your salty junk food cravings with these better-for-you-swaps

By: Hilary Meyer  |  Monday, August 2, 2010

I can pass up an entire tray of brownies, no problem. Cake? No thanks. Cookies? Blah. Not interested. But put a plate of French fries in front of me, and I become a ravenous fiend.
Related Link: 6 Reasons to Keep Carbs in Your Diet
I crave salty, fatty foods. And much like the folks on the sweet tooth side of the fence, my cravings can tax my diet, big time. So when I have a hankering for something salty, I have to strategize to avoid a major pitfall. Whatever I choose to eat has to satisfy my junk food cravings, but not derail my efforts to eat healthy.
Related Link: 5 “Bad” Foods You Should Be Eating
Fortunately, our forte in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, where I test and develop recipes, is taking unhealthy foods and making healthier versions of them. So I have plenty of options for swapping out the bad foods for better ones while satisfying my yearning for junk food.
Here are 4 of the salty junk foods I crave and better-for-you-alternatives:
Onion Rings: Who doesn’t love onion rings? I’ll save 235 calories and 21 grams fat if I avoid the Hardee’s down the street and oven fry them myself at home.
Healthier Recipe to Make At Home: Crunchy Onion Rings
Chips: You don't need a deep fryer to make crispy potato chips. You can toss thinly sliced potatoes with just a touch of olive oil, pop them in the microwave and voilá! Crispy, crunchy homemade potato chips with 8 grams less fat per serving than regular chips.
Healthier Recipe to Make At Home: Crispy Microwave Potato Chips
Fried Chicken Strips: I lust over chicken strips. But if I make chicken tenders at home, I’ll save 158 calories and 16 grams fat over the order I would have chowed down on at Arby’s.
Healthier Recipe to Make At Home: BBQ Chicken Tenders.
Fries: Who said French fries have to be fried? Our Oven Fries make a great appetizer or side dish and come in at 278 calories and 14 grams less fat than their deep-fried counterpart. Enough said.
Healthier Recipe to Make At Home: Oven Fries