Ten Guilty Pleasures

That’s right, you can have your cheesecake, eat it, and lose weight too; all you need to do is remember that it’s all about moderation. It’s also about not beating yourself up if you overdo it at lunch, or have one of those weak moments and eat a gallon of ice cream; just get on that treadmill and run it off; does that make sense? Anyway, this article is about the top 10 guilty pleasures you should treat yourself with once in a while, and even some good-for-you options that make you feel a tad bit guilty; they’re just that good!

Here’s something fun, watch this sneak peek of Glee’s Guilty Pleasures episode.

1. Whose mouth doesn’t water at the thought of eating a crispy piece (or 2) of bacon? If bacon is your guilty pleasure on the weekend’s fine, just keep in mind that bacon is loaded with saturated fat and sodium so eat responsibly.

2. Next on the list; French fries, those heavenly tasting, fat loaded guilty pleasures. There’s no point in calling them your “vegetable helping” for the day because the minute they’re deep fried any redeeming value goes away. These fat loaded treats are okay once in a while but get in the habit of ordering small helpings and avoid super sized anything.

3. Everyone’s favorite cookie seems to be chocolate chip (warm with a glass of milk – skim of course) and while eating a couple of cookies isn’t going to blow your diet (unless they’re as big as your head); most of us don’t stop at 1 or 2. These sugar loaded treats are guaranteed to pack on the pounds if you don’t use self control. Instead of baking dozens at home when the mood hits you, buy a couple from a local bakery, feed your craving, and don’t bring any home with you, even if you’re telling yourself they’re for the kids or hubby.

4. You know how it goes; “we all scream for ice cream!” If your guilty pleasures include ice cream (high in saturated fat) go for lighter versions whenever possible (and 1/2 cup) or stop by your favorite ice cream parlor and order a cone of small sundae. Same tip as above here; if it’s not in your home you won’t be tempted to overdo during those late night cravings.

5. Chicken isn’t a bad thing to eat, it can actually be good for you if it’s not covered with salt loaded batter and deep fried; then it turns into bad news when it comes to your blood pressure, and a ton of other health issues. If fried chicken is a guilty pleasure, thoroughly enjoy the moment as you eat it but then get back on track.

6. Pizza is a favorite food for most of us but, yet again, can be full of artery clogging ingredients. The good news is that most pizzeria’s offer “delite” versions now that taste as good as the full fat versions. The lower calorie pizzas usually come on a thin crust and have a lighter amount of toppings on them, but they’re still tasty, and if you top it off with fresh veggies you can treat your body to a healthy serving of veggies as well.

7. Would you still want to treat yourself to cheesecake if it meant no more goodies for the rest of the week? Probably . . . if so that’s okay. You can get creative and whip up some healthy sweet treats during the week like a fresh berry parfait with yogurt, or sugar free chocolate pudding.

8. How about Macaroni and Cheese? This all time favorite guilty pleasure contains a hefty 900 calorie per serving! The good news is you can cut those calories with just a few simple changes. Make your own Mac and Cheese using skim milk and low fat Parmesan and cheddar cheese; delish. For a little more pizzazz add some garlic powder and experiment with some of your favorite spices.

9. Yes you can have mashed potatoes; boy this yummy side dish gets a bad rap! A medium sized potato is a great source of fiber, contains 25% of the recommended amount of vitamin C, and 18% of the suggested daily intake of potassium. It’s only when you load in full fat milk and butter that it turns into a diet crasher. Instead go with skim or 1% milk and a butter substitute with no Trans fats. Or skip the milk and butter and add some lower-salt chicken broth instead, with some green onions or garlic. (Cook a couple of garlic cloves in with the potatoes, and mash them right in).

10. Now for the top guilty pleasure . . . Chocolate! Chocolate is A-Okay; just don’t eat the entire box (more importantly – don’t buy a box of chocolates!). Instead, treat yourself to a couple of pieces of your favorite chocolate and savor every creamy bite. Chocolate actually has several health benefits but that doesn’t mean you should eat a ton of it.

Bottom line, you can enjoy your guilty pleasures, just indulge yourself in your favorites once in a while and don’t blindly eat something just because it’s there. If you don’t have a sweet tooth (yeah right!), don’t eat dessert just because it’s there; make the calories worth every delicious bite.

Cheryl, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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