Published on January 14, 2019

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Is it just us or does it seem like the moment we start a diet, our cravings go into overdrive? Dishes we barely ever gave a second thought are suddenly at the forefront of our minds, enticing us with their deeply caloric flavors and utter decadence. Surely there is solid medical reasoning behind this, but that’s neither here nor there.

Eating healthy or abiding by the strict guidelines set by a diet shouldn’t have to feel like a chore or an unfair compromise. Instead of having to give up the foods you love, make a handful of health-conscious swaps that will satisfy said cravings and remain compliant with whichever fad diet is your current flavor of the month.

Read on for the healthy alternatives to the dishes you’re probably (definitely) craving right now.

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Courtesy of House and Home

Instead of Takeout Pizza

Make Cauliflower Pizza With Mozzarella, Kale and Lemon

Donna Hay’s cauliflower crust pizza is a refreshing take on the classic if we’ve ever seen one. Topped with garlic, lemon zest, and crispy kale, it’s the guilt-free bite of pizza your life was missing.

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Photography by CHARLIE GILLETTE for Delish

Instead of Gnocchi

Make Cauliflower Gnocchi

Nothing beats an indulgent bowl of saucy potato dumplings, but this healthy take comes pretty close. Delish’s version of the Trader Joe’s classic is drenched in marinara and a touch of cheese.

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Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Instead of Cheesy Tacos

Make Spicy Turkey Taco Salad With Baja Dressing

Consider this a deconstructed rendition of the Taco Tuesday staple. With the bounty of greens serving as the base, you can freely indulge in the chipotle-seasoned taco meat and crushed tortilla chip and cheddar garnish.

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Courtesy of Primavera Kitchen

Instead of Stir-Fry with White Rice

Make Mushroom Cauliflower Rice

It’s safe to say that cauliflower has secured itself as the go-to alternative to most complex carbs. Primavera Kitchen’s vegan-friendly skillet recipe features a cauliflower rice base paired with sauteed garlic-mushrooms.

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Courtesy of Lexi’s Kitchen

Instead of a Sandwich

Make a Turkey Club Lettuce Wrap

Your go-to sub becomes exponentially healthier when lettuce is swapped in place of the bread. Feel free to stick with your fillings of choice or take note from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen and get creative with BLTs, tuna melts, and more.

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Courtesy of Pinch of Yum

Instead of Loaded Fries

Make Mediterranean Street Cart Fries

It’s hard to believe that a dish as mouthwatering as this could boast any sort of healthy qualities, but Lindsay of Pinch of Yum managed to make it happen. Set on a bed of sweet potato fries, this loaded combo comes with tzatziki, marinated tomatoes and chickpeas, and feta cheese.

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Courtesy of Eat Well 101

Instead of Chicken and Rice

Make Chicken With Parmesan Cauliflower Rice

This 15-minute, one-pan garlic-butter chicken recipe from Eat Well 101 skips out on the carb-heavy rice and will satisfy just about every craving you’ll come to have.

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Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Instead of Pasta

Make Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese

Cauliflower rice not your thing? Spaghetti squash makes for another great alternative to pasta or similar carbs. Half Baked Harvest’s Crockpot lasagna bolognese is actually what dreams are made of.

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Courtesy of Three Olives Branch

Instead of Buffalo Chicken

Make Vegetarian Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza

Sure, this may be a bit of a stretch from spicy, buffalo sauce–drenched wings, but indulging in the dish in the form of pizza more or less evens things out—even if it does happen to be a vegetarian-friendly one.

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Courtesy of Whole Bite Blog

Instead of French Fries

Make Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries With Pesto Mayo

If you’re going to have to have fries, at least make them a touch healthier than its deep-fried counterpart. This garlic Parmesan– loaded version warrants little convincing.