Did you know that July 21st was National Junk Food Day? You might be surprised that as a dietitian, I love the idea of having an entire day to celebrate junk food! Filling your plate with fresh, whole food or tasty, convenient meals made from real ingredients (like Luvo!), is one of the best things you can do for health. But there’s also a place for junk food, or fun food as I like to call it! While junk food may not contribute much nutritionally, it’s still fun to enjoy on occasion as it provides pleasure and a sense of nostalgia.

However, as I’ve gotten older and my taste buds have matured, I’ve realized a lot of the junk food I used to love no longer tastes good to me. It’s often too sweet with an artificial aftertaste. I’ve learned it’s much tastier to make it at home, and a lot healthier too! By reducing sugar and swapping whole food ingredients, it’s easy to healthify your favorite junk foods for an adult palette. Here’s six of my favorite hacks:

Fudgesicles

As a child, I hated fruity popsicles. Give me something chocolatey instead! To make rich and creamy fudgesicles, blend cocoa powder with either coconut cream or avocado and sweeten the mixture with honey or dates. Try this recipe for vegan avocado fudgesicles from Vegetarian Adventures.

French Fries

Crispy and salty, what’s not to love about fries? I’d say the copious amounts of grease that makes my stomach hurt. Sadly, oven baked fries usually turn into a soggy mess. The trick to making baked fries that still have crisp is popping them into a super hot oven and not overcrowding them on the baking sheet. Try these extra crispy baked fries from the Minimalist Baker. Enjoy with this savory beet ketchup from Luvo blog.

Twix

Confession time. Every year at Halloween, I would sneak into my brother’s candy and steal all of his Twix bars. It was my favorite! And I still love the combination of crumbly cookie, rich chocolate and sticky caramel. Ever since I discovered date caramel, I’ve been obsessed with making my own candy bars at home. Try it in these chocolate caramel cookie bars by My New Roots.

Ramen

Ramen noodles got me through many meals in college. And I will admit, I still love the cheap 75 cent version. But with no fiber, vegetables or protein, they’re not exactly balanced meal appropriate. Try a vegetarian ramen with bok choy and shiitakes from Avocado A Day.

Donuts

Since donuts have become trendy in recent years, donut pans are easy to find in most stores selling home goods. Simply make your favorite lower sugar cake batter and bake into little circles. Try these strawberry shortcake donuts from Delish Knowledge.

Hot Chocolate

Tell me I’m not the only one who went for those little packets when in need of a chocolate kick. Although it takes a little more time, making homemade hot cocoa is still incredibly simple, and so much tastier that you’ll never turn back. By making it at home, you’re able to control the sweetness. I like to use coconut milk to make it extra creamy and add a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne for heat. Try this classic hot chocolate recipe from Luvo blog.

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