There may be certain yummy foods that you've completely banned from your diet, but experts say that there's no need for this type of black-and-white thinking. Every so often, enjoy one of these totally guilt-free. By Jane Bianchi, REDBOOK.
Frozen blended coffee beverage
You may assume that all Starbucks Frappuccinos will wreck your diet. Not so, if you choose wisely. A large cinnamon dolce Frappuccino with whipped cream contains a whopping 480 calories. But a small, light, coffee-flavored Frappuccino with no whipped cream has only 90 calories. You could burn that off by walking just one mile. "According to U.S. dietary guidelines, if you eat 2,000 calories a day, 260 can be 'empty,'" says Ruth Frechman, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and author of The Food Is My Friend Diet. "So you can have a small indulgence daily without feeling bad about it."
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A sugar-raised doughnut
If you're grabbing breakfast on the go at a deli, you might reach for a muffin, thinking that it's the healthiest option. But in most cases a dessert-like doughnut has fewer calories. "Most muffins are large and dense-they're basically cake," says registered dietitian Joan Salge Blake, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the author of Nutrition and You. At Dunkin' Donuts, for example, a blueberry muffin has 460 calories, while a basic sugar-raised doughnut has half that and an original glazed yeast doughnut from Krispy Kreme is only 200 calories. Lower-calorie doughnuts tend to have no filling, so go for something non-gooey.
A roast beef sandwich
When someone asks you what kind of cold cut you'd like on your sandwich, you might automatically say turkey. But don't forget about roast beef. "People often think they should avoid all beef, but roast beef is much leaner than, say, a steak," says Blake. "Plus, it offers iron and filling protein." Put three slices-about three ounces-on whole-wheat bread, and then top with vegetables such as lettuce and tomato and reduced-fat mayo for a healthy lunch.
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There's nothing like biting into the crisp cookie outside and licking the creamy center of a good old-fashioned Oreo. You may have labeled this delicious dessert a "diet don't," but they're really not so terrible for you. One Oreo clocks in at 80 calories, and has 1 gram of saturated fat and 7 grams of sugar. If you eat it the classic way by washing it down with an 8-ounce glass of nonfat milk, you'll get some calcium, vitamin D, and protein-which will fill you up and save you from demolishing a whole sleeve.
A slice of pizza
Cheesy pizza dripping with grease may seem like the ultimate no-no, but it doesn't have to be a diet downfall, since tomato sauce is packed with cancer-fighting lycopene and protein-rich cheese. When you order, choose a whole-wheat crust and reduced-fat cheese if you can, so you'll get more fiber and less saturated fat. Go for a slice with a thin crust, as opposed to deep dish, and try to avoid toppings like pepperoni and sausage, which just pile on extra sodium and saturated fat. "Opt instead for lots of veggie toppings, which will add nutrients and keep you feeling full so you don't reach for a second slice," says Blake.
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If you're craving a chocolate candy, go for Peanut M&Ms. One bag of the crunchy treats will cost you 250 calories, but they pack more nutrients than many other competitive candies. Thanks to their peanut filling, one bag contains 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, along with 5.7 grams of unsaturated (good) fat. Those three nutrients help you feel satisfied, so you're less likely to overeat later. Plus, research shows that eating a moderate amount of peanuts may lower risk for cardiovascular disease by reducing cholesterol.
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