dark chocolate
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
May 2, 2024 ·  5 min read

25 So-Called ‘Junk Foods’ That Are Actually Good For You

Today’s world is often plagued with dichotomies, good and evil, right and wrong, healthy and unhealthy. But there is one area that stands out prominently: the idea of “junk food.” Traditionally, these foods have been dismissed as lacking any nutritional content and banished to the realm of guilty pleasures and midnight cravings. But these foods defy convention and offer satisfaction as well as nourishment for both the body and mind. Let’s explore 25 so-called ‘junk foods’ that shatter stereotypes and reveal their hidden virtues and surprising health benefits.

1. Dark Chocolate

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More than just a decadent snack, dark chocolate boasts antioxidants that enhance heart health.1

2. Popcorn (Air-Popped)

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A snack high in fiber and low in calories, air-popped popcorn gives that satisfying crunch without compromising on nutrition.

Read More: How to Plant a Garden that Can Help Supply You With Food Year All Year

3. Peanut Butter

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Natural peanut butter has a great balance of protein and healthy fats, crucial in weight management and controlling feelings of fullness. 

4. Greek Yogurt (Full-Fat)

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Full probiotics and protein, full-fat Greek yogurt supports gut health and muscle maintenance.

5. Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, etc.)

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Nuts offer a nutrient-dense medley of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, all great for your heart health.

6. Cheese

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Famously high in calcium and protein, cheese helps promote bone health and muscle function (when consumed in moderation).

7. Avocados

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Rich in monounsaturated fats and potassium, avocados help elevate your heart health and are a great creamy addition to dishes.

8. Sweet Potato Fries (Baked)

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Sweet potato fries (baked, not fried) are full of vitamin A and fiber, and offer a nutritious twist to a beloved snack.

Read More: Brittle Nails? Poor Sleep? Start Eating More Of These Foods Immediately

9. Whole Wheat Pizza with Veggie Toppings

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Whole wheat crust (crucial) and veggie toppings create a fiber and nutrient-rich meal compared to a regular pizza. 

10. Hummus

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A versatile dip packed with protein and fiber, hummus is great for supporting digestive health and weight management.

11. Oatmeal Cookies

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That’s right, cookies made the list! Made with whole oats and sometimes even dried fruits, oatmeal cookies have great fiber content and contain essential fatty acids for a guilt-free experience.

12. Baked Chips (Potato or Veggie)

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A crunchy alternative to fried chips, baked chips provide a lighter snack option with fewer unhealthy fats.

13. Trail Mix

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This one is both nutrient-dense and easily portable! Trail mix has a mix of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, all great for getting a slow release for sustained energy.

14. Frozen Yogurt

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Low-fat frozen yogurt has probiotics that help serve as a lighter but equally tasty alternative to traditional ice cream.

Read More: The amazing farming preschool that teaches kids how to grow their own food

15. Granola Bars (Low-Sugar, High-Fiber)

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Low-sugar granola bars offer the convenience of its counterpart but with the high fiber and whole grains the other lacks.

16. Sushi

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Sushi is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, helping promote heart health and feeling full when made with fresh ingredients.

17. Quinoa Chips

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A crunchy alternative to traditional snacks, quinoa chips pack a punch of fiber and essential nutrients compared to their alternatives. 

18. Whole Grain Bagels

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Full of fiber and essential nutrients, whole grain bagels offer a nutritious start to the day, especially when paired with wholesome toppings.

19. Turkey Burgers

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Lean in fat and protein-dense, turkey burgers are a much healthier option to traditional beef for a more satisfying meal overall.

Read More: 6 Foods That Can Make You Pee To Avoid Before Bedtime

20. Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds

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The benefits of dark chocolate mixed with almonds, what isn’t to love? This tasty treat combines antioxidants and healthy fats for ultimate indulgence.

21. Coconut Chips

coconut chips
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This sweet-salty snack is rich in fiber and healthy fats. If you haven’t had them before, give them a chance. Coconut chips provide a nutritious twist to traditional munchies.2

22. Tortilla Chips (or something similar)

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The most versatile choice on the list, options range from high-fiber bean chips to kale-based snacks. Tortilla chips offer a multitude of diverse, healthful choices.

Read More: How to Make ‘Doritos’ That Are Delicious, Lower Calorie, and Dairy-Free

23. Ramen

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Healthy ramen options with added veggies and lean proteins can provide a satisfying meal with reduced sodium content. Try using less of the sodium packet and putting in your favourite veggies and protein – even an egg goes a long way.

24. Potatoes

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The true king of all vegetables, potatoes are super rich in multiple essential nutrients and is starch resistant. There are so many things you can do with potatoes, so be sure to incorporate them into your meals (when prepared healthfully, no cheating).3

25. Breakfast Cereal

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The dark horse on the list, not many saw this one coming. While a whole host of the cereals would be deemed ‘unhealthy’ not all of them are. Infact, many cereals can be low in sugar, high in fibre, and offer an array of vitamins and minders; some even offer a decent hit of protein. Think of cereals made with whole grain wheat, oats, and buckwheat to name a few.


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Let these 25 ‘junk foods’ be beacons of hope and balance for your nutrition goals. Each indulgence on this list offers not just great flavor but a bounty of nutrients integral to our well-being. As we continue to navigate modern nutrition, let’s embrace these unexpected treasures and savor the harmony they bring to our plates and our lives. Remember, there’s nuance to our choices, and no foods foods are ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ There are no absolutes in cooking – only delicious possibilities waiting to be explored.

Read More: 10 Foods That You Should Eat Daily For Clean Arteries


  1. 25 Junk Foods That Are Actually Good For You.” MSN. April 2024.
  2. 8 Healthier Junk Foods That Are Actually Kind Of Good For You.” Huffpost. Leigh Weingus. March 5, 2019.
  3. 5 seemingly unhealthy foods that are actually good for you.” NBC News. Samantha Cassetty, RD. November 26, 2019.