31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives for the New Year

Now that 2020 is here, I know a lot of people set goals for moving their body a little more and eating a healthier diet. And while I 100% believe that junk food can be part of a healthy diet (and have even written a post about why I’m healthier eating more processed foods), I did discover plenty of healthy junk food alternatives in 2019 that not only had less sugar, more veggies and protein or a little more nutrition than the typical treats...but also tasted freakin’ delicious. Some of the foods I’m including below have been mentioned in previous blog posts, but most were completely new to me last year, and are totally new for the blog too!

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

So whether you’re looking for healthy snack options or just want some ideas of delicious snacks to try in the New Year - that also happen to be a little more nutritious and 100% gluten free - keep reading to learn about 31+ healthy junk food alternatives.

Savory:

Crunchy Snacks:

The Real Coconut chips

If you’re looking for grain free or paleo chips that give tortilla chips a run for their money, look no further than these. These healthy chips are also vegan, and I love that these are thick and crunchy. As a bonus, all of the Real Coconut's products use easily digestible plants like coconut, plantain and cassava as their main ingredients.

Rhythm Superfoods vegetable chips 

Be warned - these vegetable chips are not everyone’s favorite, and people seem especially torn about the beet chips. However, if you want some crunch and to increase your vegetable intake at the same time, I think Rhythm Superfoods' veggie chips are an awesome choice.My top three favorites are the kale chips, carrot chips and beet chips (in any of the flavors). All of the healthy chips are not only gluten free, but also vegan and non-GMO. 

Beanfields chips

I’ve written about these gluten free and vegan snacks before, so I’ll just say they’re made partially with beans (yay extra protein, fiber and potassium) and addictively tasty.

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Artisan Tropic chips

Artisan Tropic offers a variety of certified gluten free chips made out of cassava or plantain. They come in flavors like Barbecue and JalapeƱo, but my favorites are the plain sea salt. These chips are also vegan and paleo, and have fewer calories and fat than the traditional potato chip. 

Saffron Road chickpeas

Saffron Road offers a variety of certified gluten free frozen meals and sweet chickpeas, but I also love their savory baked chickpeas, which come in flavors like Bombay spice, Chipotle, Korean BBQ and Sea Salt.

Green Mustache crackers

Biting into Green Mustache’s “Cheddarish Crackers,” you would never guess this healthy savory snack is gluten free and vegan. Green Mustache makes their “munchies” out of nutritious ingredients like chickpea flour and kale, and I love that they donate any unsellable crackers to local farmers for livestock.

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Simply 7 Snacks chips

Like Artisan Tropic, Simply 7 Snacks sells certified gluten free chips with a range of different base ingredients, including chips made with quinoa and lentils. All their snacks are free of gluten, trans fat, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors. My favorite chips of theirs are the Original Quinoa Curls and Sea Salt Lentil.

Meals and Sides:

Real Good Foods' pizza  

As I've shared before on Instagram (the best place to see even more gluten free product reviews!), Real Good Food’s cauliflower crust pizza consistently blows me away. I don’t taste the cauliflower at all and I love that the pizzas are the perfect size for one meal. Their cauliflower pizzas are grain free, low carb and high protein. 

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Right Rice

I definitely don’t think that you need to avoid or replace regular rice in order to “eat healthy.” However, if you are trying to increase the amount of protein in your diet, Right Rice is a tasty plant-based option. Right Rice actually made of lentils, chickpeas, peas and rice, but you can cook it just like you would at regular rice and serve it the same. It comes in many different flavors and my favorites are Original, Lemon Pepper, and Spanish. 

Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi

For months, I heard everyone and their mama rave about Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi, and the rave reviews were right on target. My favorite way to prepare the cauliflower gnocchi is defrosting it a bit in the microwave before finishing it off in the skillet. 

Mikey’s hot pockets

Ommmggg, y’all. Like I’ve shared before, I’m an ambassador for Mikey’s and while I love their grain free pizza crusts and English muffins, their gluten free hot pockets are something else. So far, I’ve tried (and loved) the Ham and Cheese, Cheese Pizza Pockets and Pepperoni Pizza flavors. This traditional junk food is given a bit of a nutritious upgrade by using plant based cheese and cassava flour. Besides being grain free, Mikey’s hot pockets are dairy and milk free, soy free and paleo friendly. 

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Sweet:

Crunchy Sweets: 

Safe and Fair's kettle quinoa chips

If you like sweet and salty popcorn, this flavor of Safe and Fair kettle popcorn quinoa chips is sure to become a new favorite. They also feature quinoa for a boost in protein and are certified gluten free, as well as free of eggs, shellfish, fish, dairy, peanuts and treenuts.

Spudsy's sweet potato puffs

Sweet potato gets a sweet upgrade with these gluten free puffed chips. Made with a mix of sweet potato flour, rice flour, pea protein and other ingredients, their churro flavor seriously tastes like a delicious cinnamony fried treat.

Skinny Dipped Almonds

I can thank Skinny Dipped for making me absolutely obsessed with chocolate covered almonds. Their dark chocolate is my top pick, but strawberry and PB are delicious too. The almond base makes this sweet snack high in protein and fiber with just the right hint of chocolate. 

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Dang Foods' coconut chips 

If you love dried fruit, Dang is another awesome company to know about. Their coconut chips come in many different flavors and the crunch is out of this world.

Bada Bean Snacks

You already know I love snacking on flavored chickpeas, but these roasted broad beans are equally delicious. These high-protein snacks are also high in fiber and relatively low in fat, and Bada Bean has many different sweet and savory flavors, but cocoa and cinnamon are my favorite. Bada Bean Snacks are also gluten free, soy free, non-GMO and vegan.

Foods Alive's Globe Trecker Trailmix 

As I've mentioned previously, I’m an ambassador for Foods Alive and one of my favorite products of theirs is this superfood trail mix. Can’t go wrong with crunchy peanuts and cacao nibs and chewy dried mulberries and goji berries. All gluten free, raw, non-GMO, organic and vegan.

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Quinoa Munch

This healthy snack is made with quinoa and corn and not only tastes like a light, crunchy cross between popcorn and cereal but also offers some calcium, iron and protein. I prefer the chocolate flavor to passion fruit but both are tasty.

Bare Snacks' banana chips 

Bare Snacks sells gluten free dried chips made from bananas, strawberries, coconut, apples, sweet potato and many other Whole Foods. Their dried banana chips are one of my favorite healthy snacks before bed.

Candy and Cakes:

Free2B's Dark Chocolate Sun Cups

Now, these sunflower butter cups certainly aren’t “health food.” However, compared to a traditional Reese’s peanut butter cup, Free2B’s is a bit lower in sugar, avoids the top 12 allergens, uses Fair Trade dark chocolate and tastes just as delicious. Free2B also sells different chocolate bark (called “Snack Breaks”) that are also made with high quality, allergen-free ingredients and addictively tasty.

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Alter Eco's Coconut Clusters 

This healthy chocolate snack only lasts a few days at my house...and I live alone. There is just something so irresistible about a chocolatey treat that also has the crunch of toasted coconut shreds. Besides being certified gluten free, Alter Eco’s Coconut Clusters are free of soy, artificial flavors and emulsifiers, and only have 5 grams of sugar per serving.

Project 7’s Gourmet Chewies

I’ve never been a huge Skittles person, but I do love having a few of Project 7 Gouet Chewies with my night snack. These are chewy candies with a slightly crunchy exterior that are made with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. They’re also gluten free (of course), non-GMO, organic and made in the US.

Nibmor

I’ve stumbled upon tons of delicious, healthier chocolate brands over the years (if you want me to write a round up of just those, let me know in the comments!), but Nib Mor is the brand that can now always be found in my parents’ pantry. Their chocolate is certified gluten free and vegan, organic, non-GMO and Rainforest Alliance certified. My Mom’s go-to buy is the Extreme Dark Chocolate, which is 80% cacao and features crunchy cacao nibs for extra antioxidants.

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Rule Breaker Snacks

Who knew that gluten free brownies and blondies made with chickpeas could taste so good!?! Rule Breaker Snacks’ desserts are also vegan and nut free, and come in several flavors. My top two choices are the Birthday Cake Blondies and Deep Chocolate Brownies, and I appreciate how big the chocolate chunks always are.

Veggies Made Great

It is seriously amazing that the gluten free muffins from Veggies Made Great have vegetables as the two first ingredients. You don’t taste the carrots or zucchini at all, and these muffins (particularly the double chocolate and banana chocolate chip flavors) are especially delicious popped into the microwave for a few seconds. These veggie-packed muffins do contain eggs but are free of gluten, soy, peanuts and tree nuts.

Julie's Real Carmel Vanilla Blondie Mix

I couldn't resist sharing an amazing product from another company I love and serve as an ambassador for: Julies Real. They only recently released their paleo blondie and brownie mixes, and they are seriously some of the tastiest gluten free baking mixes I’ve ever tried. Plus, the mixes are certified gluten free, non-GMO, organic, paleo and free of dairy, soy, peanuts, cane sugar, flavorings and extracts. The instructions on the back of the baking mixes do call for an egg and a good amount of nut butter, but I’ve made these baking mixes vegan and lower fat as well by instead using one ripe banana, one vegan egg replacement from Bob Red Mill and only 1/4 cup of nut butter.

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Soozy’s Grain Free Muffins

This was one of my last finds in 2019, and these paleo muffins seriously blew my mind. They are made of all-natural, unprocessed ingredients like cage-free whole eggs, almond and coconut flour and extra virgin coconut oil. Plus, Soozy’s Muffins are certified gluten free and free from grains, soy, dairy, GMOs, fillers and additives. I’ve tried the Double Chocolate and Wild Blueberry flavors and both were insanely soft, moist and loaded with flavor. They reminded me a lot of the fancy coffee shop muffins I enjoyed before celiac disease!

Ice Cream and Cold Desserts: 

Wink Frozen Desserts

Since my last dairy free ice cream round up, I hadn’t tried Wink Desserts yet, and they definitely deserve a mention. This vegan, low sugar and low calorie ice cream alternative is def not a good option if you don’t enjoy artificial sweeteners, since you definitely taste them with Wink. However, I still really enjoyed all the flavors of Wink I got to try - especially Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Bean and Salted Caramel - and the texture of the ice cream got super creamy when given time to thaw.

The Worthy Company's Blendie Bowls 

This isn’t a frozen dessert per se, but the Worthy Company's Blendie Bowls are some of the tastiest veggie-packed puddings I’ve ever tried. Each blendie bowl is packed with two servings of veggies, eight grams of vegan protein and fiber and only eight grams of sugar. You’d never guess that there are legumes one this thick pudding, and while I enjoyed eating it chilled on its own, it also makes a BOMB healthy frosting.

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

Vixen Kitchen

On the note of frozen desserts, I wanted to mention Vixen Kitchen’s paleo and vegan gelato. It’s sweetened with maple syrup as well as being organic, and I ended up loving the Midnight Mint flavor, as well as Naked Vanilla. This isn’t my favorite vegan or paleo ice cream that I’ve ever tried, but it’s a pretty tasty option if you’re looking for a frozen dessert with more wholesome ingredients.

Eat Fronen

Last but not least - I talk about making banana ice cream all the time, but Eat Fronen takes banana ice cream to the new level. This dairy free frozen dessert comes in five different flavors that are made mainly of bananas, along with four or fewer other ingredients.  Madagascar Vanilla and Strawberry were my two surprise favorites. I really wish I could make my own banana ice cream half this thick and creamy!

What I Hope You Learn about "Healthy Eating" in 2020

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I do not think that people need to avoid traditional junk food or comfort food in order to be healthy. Personally, I lovvvve digging into a decadent full-fat, high-sugar cookie when I’m craving one...but I also love eating it with a veggie-packed pudding or using super dark chocolate while baking. That’s my definition of balance, and I hope that 2020 - and maybe even this list of yummy recommendations - will help you find yours.

31+ Healthy Junk Food Alternatives and Gluten Free Snacks for the New Year

In fact, my biggest hope for and goal of this post is to expose people to brands that might make it a lil’ easier to eat more vegetables and protein or less sugar. And if you are starting a new lifestyle like paleo or vegan, or need to avoid allergens like gluten, dairy, soy or nuts, this list should give you more ideas on what food options are really available for you, too.

So whether eating a bit healthier is a goal you want to set in the new year or you just scrolled for the foodporn, I hope you’re taking away whatever tidbits of information will help you craft an even yummier new year!



Have you heard of or tried any of these products before? Which are your favorites...or which do you want to try first?

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