Upgrade Your Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

Last week on the Healthwise Facebook page (like it if you don’t already – it’s where all the action is!) I asked what ‘guilty pleasure’ people would like to see upgraded.

Here are the 5 foods that got the most votes with a blog round-up of  links to recipes that are healthier upgrades to the original food.

As I have written before, I don’t believe in eating perfectly all the time – 80% is already perfection. This leaves space for ‘guilty pleasures’ in every diet – which can work even better if we ‘upgrade’ them in one or more of these ways so that we can have only ‘pleasures’ with food instead of ‘guilty pleasures':

1. Upgrade on quality: Buy the best quality of the food you can find and afford – the quality of the ingredients used makes a huge difference in how healthy something is.

2. Upgrade your attitude: Make it a moment that you really, fully enjoy. Savor every bite of your food and get rid of the notion of ‘guilty’ in pleasure. Make it just pure pleasure. When you are fully present for what you eat, you are satisfied with less.

3. Upgrade by making it yourself: When you make something yourself, you know exactly what goes into it and you can use healthier alternatives to common ingredients.


This recipe is vegan, bringing the creaminess from blended cashews. You have to try it to believe it – and you can leave out the spicy ingredient to make a regular mayo.

This recipe shows you how to make your own mayo the traditional way – a much healthier alternative to the mayo that comes in tubes.


This gluten and dairy-free recipe is a healthier alternative of the pancakes my father used to make for us on weekends and was one of the first recipes I upgraded when I started changing my diet.

Chocolate Cake

This recipe is for more of a fondant au chocolat style cake.

This recipe is more of a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream.

This recipe is a chocolate orange cake with a sweet potato ganache – and it is all vegan.

Butter and eggs both play an essential role in our diet but make sure you buy good quality, preferably organic butter and eggs from animals who lived outside and ate their natural diet.

These recipes all use healthier sugar sources like honey, maple syrup, date syrup or coconut sugar.

Pasta with Warm Creamy Cheesy Sauce

This recipe is just incredible – it uses cauliflower to provide creaminess -but nobody would realize it wasn’t cream if you didn’t tell them. Tried and tested on guests!

Reeses Pieces Peanut Butter Cups

This recipe is a simple healthier alternative: The secret is to use dark chocolate (at least 70%) instead of milk chocolate and peanut butter without anything added – no oils, salt or sugar – and then add your own high quality salt.

What is your ‘guilty pleasure’?

  Take the guilty out of guilty pleasure!  Click to Tweet!

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  • Audrey on Mar 22, 2014 Reply

    Great article Hiba! The creamy cheesy sauce is really delicious, and I will soon try out the peenut butter cups. :)

    • Hiba on Mar 24, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Audrey! let me know how the peanut butter cups turn out for you!

  • The Nia girl on Feb 17, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for the mayo recipes. I don’t have a powerful blender yet, but one of these days will get one! Love cashews!
    I came across ranch sauce recipe with such ingredients as avocado, lemon, olive oil, garlic and hot sauce- this sauce can be used instead of mayo. I will send you the link :-)

    • Hiba on Feb 18, 2014 Reply

      A powerful blender or food processor is one of the best healthy kitchen investments! You can also replace the ground cashews with cashew purée which you can find in health food stores!

  • Faris on Feb 17, 2014 Reply

    Can’t wait to try the Reeses Pieces Peanut Butter Cups – thanks for looking into this!!

    • Hiba on Feb 18, 2014 Reply

      Let me know what you think!

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