Healthy Recipes to Satisfy Junk Food Cravings
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Curly Fries
This healthy recipe combines two bar food favorites—fried zucchini and curly fries—into one tempting package. Serve these baked zucchini fries with a simple dipping sauce made with ranch dressing and marinara sauce for a crowd-pleasing appetizer or a side dish for burgers, chicken or pizza. No matter what you serve them with, they're a fun way to eat more vegetables for kids and adults alike.
Pineapple Nice Cream
All-fruit, dairy-free and with no added sugar—these are the hallmarks of nice cream, a healthy alternative to ice cream. This pineapple nice cream has tropical flavors, thanks to a hit of mango and lime. It takes just minutes to make this naturally sweet frozen dessert in the food processor or a blender. Enjoy it alone, or top with fresh fruit and toasted coconut.
Homemade Chicken Tenders with Everything Bagel Seasoning over Salad
Using everything bagel spice is a quick way to season and add extra crunch to breadcrumbs for chicken tenders. If you can't find any premixed, make your own by combining equal parts dried minced onion and garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt and ground pepper (see Associated Recipes). This healthy chicken recipe tops a simple salad for an easy dinner that's ready in 25 minutes.
Buffalo Chicken Wings with Ranchy Cauliflower
Our wings are broiled rather than deep-fried, which reduces greasiness and calories. Served with a side of sauced-up cauliflower to help tone down the spiciness and sneaking a few extra vegetables into game day makes this sheet-pan dinner just as healthy as it is delicious.
Grilled Taco Pizza
Grilling pizza mimics the rustic flavor of a wood-fired oven. It cooks fast, though, so make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go for speedy flipping and topping. For this grilled pizza recipe we've topped the pie with classic taco toppings, including beans and salsa. Once you've mastered the method, you can use it as a template for how to grill pizza—just swap out the taco ingredients for your favorite toppings.
Cinnamon-Sugar Dusted Apple Cider Donuts
Fluffy and light with a warm cinnamon flavor, you'll be craving these homemeade donuts (with a hot cup of coffee) all fall! Because apple cider can be harder to find year-round, take advantage of when it's "in season." Don't forget to make a few extra batches and freeze the donuts to enjoy when cider isn't available.
Kale Artichoke Dip
A riff on traditional spinach artichoke dip, this creamy, cheesy dip recipe is made healthier by replacing some of the cream cheese with yogurt. Serve as an easy appetizer with tortilla chips and carrot sticks.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Looking for a fun cooking project to do with kids? Make chocolate truffles! In this easy vegan dessert recipe, we make a chocolate ganache filling with peanut butter and coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Make chocolate bark with the leftover chocolate and wrap it up together with a few truffles for a beautiful edible gift.
Air-Fryer Sweet Potato Chips
Thinly sliced sweet potatoes fry to a crispy crunch in the air fryer. These homemade chips also use much less oil, which cuts down on calories and fat. They're a naturally sweet side for sandwiches, burgers, wraps and more.
Almond Butter-Quinoa Blondies
People likely won't even notice that these delicately nutty, just a little chocolaty, blondies are gluten-free. They use quinoa flour, which you can find in well-stocked supermarkets and natural-foods stores, in place of all-purpose flour. To make your own quinoa flour, grind raw quinoa into a powder in a clean coffee grinder.
Salted Caramel and Pretzel Popcorn
Popcorn and pretzels combine for a satisfying snack mix that's perfectly sweetened with a hint of caramel.
Make nachos a healthy dinner when you top them with an easy 30-minute chili. Serve this healthy recipe with sliced scallions, avocado, fresh tomatoes and sour cream, if desired.
Shamrock Shake Smoothie
Our healthy take on the classic Shamrock Shake uses fresh spinach and juicy kiwi to achieve the fun and festive color we all love. Using fresh mint makes this smoothie extra minty and refreshing.
Microwave Potato Chips
You don't need a deep fryer to make crispy potato chips. We toss thinly sliced potatoes with just a touch of olive oil, pop them in the microwave and voilà! Crispy, crunchy homemade potato chips with 8 grams less fat per serving than regular chips.
EatingWell's Pepperoni Pizza
Pepperoni pizza gets a healthful makeover with whole-wheat pizza dough and a flavorful tomato sauce that, thanks to the addition of pumpkin puree, provides extra beta carotene and fiber. We've topped the pie with low-fat turkey pepperoni, but if you like, use your favorite sliced vegetables instead.
Southern-Style Oven-Fried Chicken
A blend of dried spices gives the crispy panko coating on these oven-fried chicken thighs plenty of flavor, and marinating the chicken in buttermilk makes it moist and juicy. If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, you can roast the chicken in a baking dish in Step 5. Serve with your favorite vegetables (bake them alongside the chicken to make it easy) for a healthy comfort food dinner that requires just 20 minutes of active prep time.
Piña Colada Nice Cream
Get all the tropical flavors you love in a piña colada in this creamy dairy-free dessert. This ice cream alternative gets its sweetness from pineapple and coconut and is just as delicious with or without the optional rum. Either way, it's sure to put you in a beachy state of mind—not bad for a treat that takes just 10 minutes to whip up in your food processor.
We couldn't get enough of these crunchy onion rings in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. Try any seasoning blend that you have on hand to add flavor to the breading or substitute 1 teaspoon salt instead. Seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs are available in some supermarkets and natural-foods stores. If you can find them, try them in place of the plain breadcrumbs and seasoning blend.
Parmesan Microwave Popcorn
Nutty, salty and incredibly crispy, this cheesy popcorn snack is simple to make and sure to be a favorite snack.
Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles
These peanut butter-pretzel truffles satisfy your craving for something sweet and salty.
BBQ Chicken Skillet Pizza
Upgrade chicken-BBQ pizza with this Alabama-style white sauce recipe made with mayo and a little vinegar. Using premade dough helps get dinner on the table quickly and easily.
Swap parsnips for potatoes in this oven-baked fries recipe and get 5 grams more fiber per serving. Dress these healthy fries up with a side of spicy or garlicky aioli: just mix mayo with Sriracha or roasted garlic (or both!).
Soy-Lime Baked Buffalo Wings
Make this baked Buffalo chicken wing recipe at home to save 138 calories and a whopping 598 milligrams of sodium compared to the same number of deep-fried wings. If your market sells its chicken wings whole, you'll want to separate each into a wingette and a drumette so they cook evenly. They're easy to split apart with a sharp knife. Serve with carrot sticks, celery and ranch (or blue cheese) dressing.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
These doughnut-shaped cakes are flavored with apple cider and glazed with maple syrup. If you do not have a mini Bundt pan, you can use a regular Bundt pan and make a coffee cake; bake it in a 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Curried Onion Dip
Skip the standard onion-soup-mix dip and serve up this healthy caramelized onion and curry dip recipe along with your favorite chips or some crudités.
Crunchy Chocolate and Peanut Clusters
Because these sweet, crunchy treats take just 45 minutes to prepare, they can be made on short notice. Consider doubling the recipe—stored in an airtight container in the freezer, an extra batch will last for up to 3 months.
Sausage, Pepper & Mushroom Pizza
This sausage, pepper and mushroom pizza is just a little more work than calling for delivery (but not by much), but there's no tipping required when you make it yourself. Plus you get it fresh from your oven, and with whole-wheat dough and a generous amount of vegetables on top it's far better for you.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Here's a simple recipe for low-fat vanilla ice cream. Our version has all the richness you'll need but about 90 fewer calories than store-bought premium ice cream and a whopping 15 grams less total fat and 10 grams less saturated fat per serving.
Roasted Corn Cheese Dip
Inspired by queso fundido—melted Mexican cheese dip—this corn and warm Cheddar cheese dip is great with toasted baguette.
Low-Carb Cauliflower Soft Pretzels
These gluten-free and low-carb cauliflower soft pretzels use riced cauliflower in place of flour, with a little cheese and egg as binder, to make a fun grain-free snack. Simply sprinkle them with pretzel salt or jazz them up with seeds or everything bagel seasoning, if you'd like.
Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets
Adults and kids alike devour these crunchy pretzel-coated chicken nuggets. What really makes them special is the tart-sweet cranberry dipping sauce. Make some extra sauce to spread on post-holiday turkey sandwiches.
Slow-cooked onions add moisture and flavor to these lean beef burgers. A quick blend of mayonnaise, ketchup, relish and vinegar makes a perfect tangy, sweet and creamy “special sauce” for this burger. We love the dill relish here, but use sweet relish if you prefer it. Serve with sweet potato fries.
Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes with Mocha Sauce
Some molten-cake recipes call for simply underbaking the batter so the middles stay lava-like, but mini cakes get done so quickly it's best to give them a filling that won't set up. These rich, mocha-flavored morsels are guaranteed to stay moist and gooey, owing to a simple mocha ganache in the middle. Serve the cakes with a scoop of low-fat coffee ice cream and garnish with a chocolate-covered espresso bean, if desired.
Chocolate Avocado Shake
This rich, healthy chocolate shake recipe is dairy-free and gets its creaminess from avocado instead of ice cream. If you aren't avoiding dairy, you can use regular low-fat milk and any type of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips in place of the nondairy chocolate chips.