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

By Hilary Meyer, August 2, 2010 - 11:23am

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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

What salty foods do you crave? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Health Blog, Good choices, Recipe Makeover, Snacks

Hilary Meyer
EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

Hilary asks: What salty foods do you crave?

Tell us what you think:

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