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Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult at times. While it’s important to fuel your body with healthy food choices, it’s also important to have balance – you should be able to treat yourself, too! What if we told you there was even a way to treat yourself to some of your favorite guilty pleasures while sticking to your healthy diet? Keep reading for some awesome, healthy guilty pleasures!

1. Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Healthy mac and cheese? Sign us up! To give your regular old mac and cheese a healthy twist, use butternut squash in the sauce. Doing this eliminates most of the cheese, which is arguably the unhealthiest part. You still get that warm, gooey, savory sauce without the added calories. We found a great recipe here. (Note: if you’re vegan, eliminate the cheese altogether and just use the butternut squash!)

2. Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Participating in a weekly wing night is no problem, thanks to our good pal cauliflower. You’ll notice throughout this article that cauliflower is a great replacement for foods typically deemed “unhealthy.” This is no exception! Instead of using chicken, roast a cauliflower and slather on some Buffalo sauce. If you bread the cauliflower, you’ll get the same great flavors of wings and your intake of veggies all at once. This is also a great option for vegetarians/vegans. Check out our favorite recipe!

3. Kale Chips

If you’re craving something crunchy and salty, kale chips are a great, healthier alternative to your usual potato chip. Even people who hate raw kale love the taste of some crunchy kale chips! All you have to do is rip up some kale into nice, bite-size pieces, season with salt and other seasoning (garlic or onion powder are fan favorites) and toss them in the oven! Here’s a full recipe.

4. Cauliflower Pizza

More cauliflower! For those who love pizza, using cauliflower instead of the typical dough makes this guilty pleasure classic a super healthy meal. When the cauliflower is mashed up, it has a very similar consistency to thin-crust pizza dough. Top it with your favorite sauces, cheeses or other toppings and you’re set! Check out this cauliflower pizza dough recipe here and get cooking!

5. Spaghetti Squash

This is arguably one of the easiest and tastiest healthy recipes you can make. Just head to the store a buy a spaghetti squash (not to be confused with a butternut squash – trust me, they’re different). Cut the spaghetti squash in half, season it and roast it in the oven. After it roasts, let it cool and use a fork to shred it. The result looks like spaghetti noodles, hence the name. The key is to have a seriously tasty sauce on top – you won’t be missing your usual pasta. Here’s 68 (!!!) different ways to make some seriously good spaghetti squash.

6. Banana Pancakes

Two. Ingredient. Pancakes. Need I say more? All you need is a ripe banana and eggs to make these paleo, gluten and dairy free, no sugar added pancakes. Breakfast will never be the same. Recipe here.

7. Chickpea Cookie Dough

If you’ve never baked cookies and snuck some of the dough, you’re probably lying. Cookie dough is the ultimate sweet treat, but it’s notorious for giving people stomach aches. Luckily for us, a healthy cookie dough exists, and it’s made primarily with chickpeas! If you tried it blind, you’d never know it wasn’t grandma’s usual cookie dough. Check out this recipe and get ready to lick the bowl clean.

8. Ice Cream

There are tons of dairy-free and protein-filled ice creams on the market, but we’d rather stay in and make it ourselves! Here are 10 healthy ice cream recipes – everyone’s sweet tooth will be satisfied.

9. Zucchini Brownies

Talk about hidden greens! Zucchini brownies are a great way to have a treat, but still get some veggies into your day. This is a great option if you have kids that hate eating their greens. You seriously won’t even see or taste the zucchini, but you will notice that it gives the brownie a delicious, gooey texture. Go on, try it here.

10. Cauliflower & Parsnip Mash

All hail cauliflower! If you’re craving mashed potatoes, but don’t want the carbs that come with them, try mashing cauliflower. We prefer cauliflower and parsnip mashed together, because it gives you an even smoother mash. The best part? It tastes exactly like regular mashed potatoes. Try this recipe.

There you have it! Next time you’re craving something salty or sweet, reach for these recipes to satisfy the craving while helping you stay on track with a healthy, well-balanced diet.

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Source: Nature Food Nutrition

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