Sometimes healthy foods taste like leaves and dirt, especially when compared to junk food. But eating healthy has tons of benefits. Spoon University has an alternative: give into your cravings, but swap it, don’t stop it. Here’s a list of our favorite healthy alternatives to our favorite junk foods.

1. Potato Chips


Photo by Emily Palmer

Instead of reaching for that bag of  potato chips, try kale chips. Okay, we admit that we’re not the biggest fans of kale, but kale chips are pretty good. Or, if you don’t have any kale, use lots of vegetables (or fruits) to make great veggie chips.

2. Fries


Photo courtesy of

Instead of frying potatoes, why not try baking them in coconut oil? Get all the health benefits of coconut oil while giving those fries that crunchy, crispy texture. Who says all good fries have to be fried?

3. Mac & Cheese


Photo by Tiare Brown

Throw away that orange stuff in a box and make your own by adding some butternut squash in place of elbow macaroni. It will give your mac & cheese more texture and a hint of sweetness.

4. Candy

Photo by Meredith Marcus

If you’re ever craving something sweet, grab some fruit, which has lots of natural sugars that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Try frozen grapes, which will last you weeks. Once you run out, go for a frozen watermelon on a stick, which won’t drip all over your hands and cause a sticky mess.

5. Pizza


Gif courtesy of

Delivery pizza is the ultimate college student comfort food, but there are also lots of undiscovered healthy pizza recipes that are just as cheap and easy to make. Make pizza bites with zucchini, mini pizzas with eggplant or mushrooms, or make your pizza out of cauliflower crust to add veggies to your diet and reduce your carb intake.

6. Ice Cream


Photo courtesy of Alexandra Penfold

Ice cream is amazing but eating too much isn’t as amazing. Instead of eating ice cream for every meal, swap it out for vegan “ice cream” made of blended frozen bananas and a few other ingredients. There are so many different variations, you’ll never get tired of it.

7. Pasta


Photo by Katherine Baker

If you can’t cut pasta out of your diet, try replacing it with spaghetti squash. If you don’t like the texture of squash, try making your own pasta using a spiralizer. You can now enjoy penne pasta with balsamic butter sauce without the guilt.

8. Pancakes


Photo by Zoe Zaiss

You’ll go B-A-NAN-A-S for this super easy pancake recipe. It only requires two ingredients, and one of them is (you guessed it) bananas! Using bananas adds sweetness to these pancakes, so you’re not going to need any maple syrup to top it. If you want to change up your pancake game, you can also make these banana oat pancakes for an early morning energy boost.

9. Pudding


Photo courtesy of The Sassy Cook

If you don’t believe that chia seeds soaked in almond milk tastes just as good as your favorite pudding, give your overnight oats a rest and try this chia seed pudding. The proof is literally in the pudding.

10. Cookie Dough


Photo by The Cookie Dough Cafe

Cookie dough can sometimes be better than cookies, even with the risk of getting Salmonella from eating raw eggs. Luckily for you, Spoon University has a no-bake vegan cookie dough bite recipe that swaps flour for oats and chickpeas (don’t worry, you don’t even taste the chickpeas!).

11. Chocolate


Photo by Megan Fleming

You can easily satisfy your chocolate craving by munching on a few dark chocolate squares. Or, if you want to eat it in a dessert, try this chocolate mousse or a few dark chocolate avocado truffles. Use cocoa powder liberally because it is good for you.

12. Soda


Photo courtesy of

Water is the healthiest thing for you, but it’s hard going from soda to water. To make that transition for you easier, Kombucha was invented. If you want to drink something quickly without going out, just add fruit to your water.

13. Mashed Potatoes


Photo by Abby Wang

Who needs that buttery Thanksgiving side dish now that you have mashed cauliflower, which tastes lighter and more flavorful than its mashed potato relative? You don’t even need to cover it in gravy, since the garlic and the onions in this recipe already give it the perfect flavor.