The world changed beyond recognition in the past few months, with billions of people throughout the globe practicing social distancing and isolation in an attempt to minimize the spread of the new coronavirus. 

However, as it turns out, spending 24 hours locked in your own apartment, with access to endless supplies of food, snacks, toilet paper, and a good Internet connection is still not easy. Even though many of us had the privilege of keeping our jobs and work from home, even though our bellies were full of food, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and burnout symptoms still occurred.

Many people consider food as the ultimate escape from reality, indulging in thousands of calories to help them cope with stress and anxiety. The good news is that most psychologists and therapists consider that guilty food pleasures are not “that guilty” during these uncertain times, as long as they remain occasional. 

Here is a list of unapologetic foods you can try while in quarantine, as long as you also opt for a healthier choice for dinner or the next day. 

 

Waffles

Belgian waffles are the best in the world but you don’t have to plan your next trip to Brussels or Gent just to get a taste of them. With the help of some simple ingredients and the right baking form, you can make a perfect snack, dessert, or breakfast in the comfort of your own home.

If you want the “healthier” alternative to this guilty-filled dish, try using sugar alternatives and opt for fresh fruits instead of maple or chocolate syrup. Low-calorie ice cream and homemade whipped cream also work wonders. 

 

Burgers

If it were for many people, they would have burgers day every day and it would still not be enough to try out all the delicious recipes. The good news is that burgers can become a healthy choice, as long as you know how to cook them. 

The success of juicy, tasteful, yet low-calorie burgers is the ingredients they contain, especially the buns. Swap the regular diner buns filled with artificial flavors and sugars in the favor of whole-wheat or seed buns. 

Regular “American” orange cheese should also be replaced with healthier options such as gouda or feta cheese, while the rest of the ingredients should be organic and as fresh as possible. 

Veggie burgers are also delicious even if you swear by ground beef, while the easiest way to cut on the calories is to opt for healthier seasonings. Replace your regular ranch sauce with the holy trio of seasonings – mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise. 

 

Bacon

OK, there is no healthy alternative to bacon, and this is why it’s called a guilty pleasure. Sneak it in your breakfast alongside eggs to soak up the alcohol we know you’ve been drinking lately or combine it with kale, boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, and scallions for a decent lunch salad. 

If you want to feel better about your food choices, you should know that bacon still counts as a decent source of proteins and carbs, which are essentially good as they boost your energy levels. A few slices of crispy bacon eaten in the morning or at lunch didn’t kill anyone, so you are allowed to create an emotional bond with this ingredient during self-isolation. 

 

Chinese food

Dumplings, spring rolls, chicken Gong Bao, hot & sour soup, ramen, fried ice cream, meat pans, and do we even need to mention algae salad or the soy sauce noodles? Yes, these foods are deep-fried and contain a lot of salt and sugar which are no good for your health, but we are living in uncertain times. 

Indulging in some of these dishes (not all at once!) won’t make you lose weight but will improve your serotonin level, which is the hormone of happiness. In other words, food can make you happy, even for a short while. As long as you don’t use this trick to get past painful experiences and deep wounds, Asian comfort food is a good remedy. 

 

Mac & cheese or EVERYTHING CHEESE

Cheese cravings might not have anything to do with quarantine but we can all agree that finding an excuse only works for our guilty feelings. 

Mac & cheese, grilled cheese, cheese sandwiches, melted cheese for nachos, and cheeseburgers are all bad choices for your diet. Unfortunately, opting for healthier types of cheese will alter the recipes beyond recognition and may not satisfy your cravings. 

As long as you store your cheese in a safe place and opt for effective solutions to keep pests away, 100 grams of cheese per day (in any form) is still doable. Just make sure to run that extra mile on the treadmill. 

 

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