12 healthy junk food recipes

Next time your child asks, say yes to treating them with these healthy junk food ideas.

12 healthy junk food recipes

Photo: Erik Putz

Banana Soft-Serve Ice Cream

We know what you're thinking – soft-serve ice cream at home? It sounds like a dream come true, and it is: With just a few simple ingredients like bananas and a food processor, you can whip up a frozen treat that your kids will go wild for.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler: Start by peeling and cutting 2 bananas in half, both across the middle and down the length. Arrange the banana pieces cut-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet, then stash them in the freezer for around 2 hours until they're solid.

When the bananas are good and frozen, just toss them in the food processor with a tablespoon each of icing sugar and vanilla. Blitz it all up until it's nice and smooth. That's it – you can serve it up right away and enjoy this delicious frozen treat!

12 healthy junk food recipes Photo: Erik Putz

Fruity Rocket Pops

These frozen delights are not only a blast to make, but they also pack a nutritious punch with simple ingredients like blueberries, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and water.

The addition of fresh berries not only enhances the flavor but also makes it easier for your kids to get their daily serving of fruit. Remember, according to guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture, children need anywhere from half a cup to two and a half cups of fruit per day, depending on their age and gender. With these fruity rocket pops, you can ensure your little ones are getting a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals while enjoying a tasty summer treat.

Get the recipe: Fruity Rocket Pops

12 healthy junk food recipes Photo: Rob Caruso


Supper Nachos

Remember that beloved snack we all enjoy? Well, get ready to transform it into a full-fledged meal that'll have your family coming back for more.

By incorporating tortillas, beans, fresh veggies, lean ground turkey, and a delightful array of toppings, you've got a dish that's sure to become a household favorite.

FYI: Swapping out the ground beef for turkey not only adds a nutritional boost but also reduces the saturated fat content.

According to a 2022 article in the Houston Methodist Leading Medicine, ground turkey packs more of the heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, making it a smarter choice for your family's well-being.

Get the recipe: Supper Nachos

12 healthy junk food recipes

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Icing

Give your dessert routine a boost with this cupcake recipe that cleverly incorporates grated zucchini to create a sumptuous and indulgent treat. This sneaky trick is perfect for parents looking to get their kids to enjoy their veggies in a fun and unexpected way.

And if you need another reason to try this recipe, consider that zucchini is a nutritional powerhouse, as highlighted in a 2018 article by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. It's packed with nutrients like potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C, making it a nutritious and delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Icing

12 healthy junk food recipes Photo: Jodi Pudge

Zucchini Chips

Potato chips are so last season. This zucchini chip recipe is a game-changer, and your kids will be begging for more.

And the cherry on top? This recipe It's ridiculously easy to make. You only need two basic ingredients: some trusty canola oil and green zucchinis. That’s it.

Get the recipe: Zucchini Chips

plate of baked zucchini chips Photo: Roberto Caruso


Frozen Fruity Yogurt

Okay, okay, we know ice cream is the ultimate treat. But don't sleep on frozen yogurt! This creamy, dreamy dessert can be just as indulgent and bursting with tasty flavors. And you get a bonus – most fro-yo has real fruit blended right in, making it a low-key method for your kids to get their fruit servings for the day.

What’s also great about this recipe is that not only is it bursting with yummy fruits like bananas, strawberry, and mangoes, but also contains greek yogurt.

BTW: Greek yogurt, according to Harvard T.H. School of Public Health, is a rich source of protein, calcium, and B vitamins.

Get the recipe: Frozen Fruity Yogurt

12 healthy junk food recipes

No-Bake Brownie Bites

You know what's great for keeping little hands busy? These super easy brownie bites!

No need to fire up the oven for this one. Plus, they're packed with all sorts of good stuff – pecans, almonds, cocoa powder, dates, and even flax seeds.

Speaking of flax seeds, did you know they're a great way to rev your kid’s nutrition? According to the Mayo Clinic, they are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans.

Get the recipe: No-Bake Brownie Bites

12 healthy junk food recipes Photo: Roberto Caruso

Quinoa Banana Bread

Banana bread is a beloved classic that brings warmth and comfort to any occasion. But what if we could take this favorite loaf and give it a healthy spin?

Introducing this delicious twist on classic banana bread! It’s got bananas and chocolate chips for sweetness, plus some quinoa for extra texture and nutrition.

ICYMI: Quinoa is a powerhouse of essential minerals, fiber, and protein. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, one cup of quinoa contains eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber. By adding just one cup of quinoa to our banana bread, we’re not only enhancing the texture but also boosting the nutritional value

Get the recipe: Quinoa Banana Bread

12 healthy junk food recipes Photo: Emily Cumming


Kale Chips

Want to switch things up with a new chip recipe that your kids won’t be able to resist? Well, you’re in luck because this kale chip recipe only calls for four simple ingredients.

If you’re wondering, these chips are baked, not fried, so they contain fewer calories and less sodium compared to regular potato chips. And let’s not forget, kale not only tastes amazing but also packs a punch with minerals and nutrients.

Get the recipe: Kale Chips

12 healthy junk food recipes Photo: Roberto Caruso

Kettle Corn Snack Mix

Picture this: a snack that’s the perfect blend of sweet and salty flavors that your kids will absolutely adore! This easy-to-make treat includes pretzels, popcorn, cereal, nuts, and dried fruits – all coming together in just 10 minutes of prep and cook time.

And guess what? You’ll have a generous 10 cups of this delightful mix to play around with – whether it’s for school lunchboxes, party goodies, or simply satisfying your sweet tooth after dinner. Yum indeed!

Get the recipe: Kettle Corn Snack Mix

12 healthy junk food recipes

Green Bean Oven Fries With Sweet Potato Dip

These green bean oven fries are sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. The panko breadcrumbs give them that perfect crunch, while the parmesan cheese adds a savory kick. They’re perfect for snacking, as an appetizer, or even as a party dish when you have guests over.

This recipe serves four and comes with a side of creamy dipping sauce that’s not only tasty but also packed with protein from Greek yogurt, sweet potato goodness, and just a hint of zing from ground ginger.

Just a heads up: this recipe requires a prep time of around 35 minutes and a cooking time of 45 minutes, but the praise you’ll get afterwards will be totally worth the effort.

Get the recipe: Green Bean Oven Fries With Sweet Potato Dip

12 healthy junk food recipes Photo: Roberto Caruso


Banana Mouse Pops

At first glance, you might think these mouse pops are just darn adorable to eat. But don’t be fooled ‒ they are actually loaded with ingredients that bring some serious nutritional benefits to the table.

Think of them as a powerhouse of goodness, with bananas, quinoa, peanut butter, and a mix of dried fruits like apricots and currants. Not only do these ingredients give a delightful sweetness to the pops, but they also bring a punch of protein and antioxidants to the party.

And here’s the kicker – making these mouse pops is easier than it looks.  It’ll only take you five minutes to whip up the mixture before popping it into the freezer to set into those adorable mouse shapes. Plus, if you need to make a whole bunch of these, no sweat – you can effortlessly double or triple the recipe in a jiffy.

12 healthy junk food recipes Photo: Maya Visnyei

Read more:
13 healthy comfort food recipes 8 handy on-the-go snacks 18 delicious fruity dessert recipes

This article was originally published on Jun 27, 2019

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