We all have guilty pleasure foods we just love. From popcorn, to chocolate and ice cream, these guilty pleasure foods are comforting and delicious. But what do you do if you’re trying to lose weight and get healthy?
Whether you’re on the road or on a break at home, here are 10 guilty pleasure foods you can enjoy that, when eaten in moderation, won’t break your diet or the scale.
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy, whole-grain snack that is low in calories and high in anti-oxidants. Stay away from theater popcorn, which is popped in coconut oil and is a diet disaster at 1,200 calories per cup. A 3 cup serving of air-popped popcorn is a reasonable snack with only 31 calories per cup, 1.2 grams of fiber and less than 1 gram of fat.
Harder cheeses are matured for weeks, months or even years. This aging process allows them to develop good bacteria, increasing the levels of short-chain fatty acids in your stomach. Try Gruyère, Gouda, Cheddar, or Parmesan for a snack or a complement to a meal. Cheese is also a rich source of protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals, making it a good choice when you need that protein pick-me-up.
Nuts, like avocados, are loaded with healthy fats. But healthy doesn’t always mean low calorie, so be careful how many nuts you eat. Best bets? Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios. Just read the label and keep portion sizes in check.
4. Dark Chocolate
Nothing signifies “guilty pleasure” more than chocolate. Stick to dark chocolate though. With cacao contents higher than 70 percent, dark chocolate has been found to contain beneficial anti-oxidants, lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.
5. Ice Cream – With Fruit
Who doesn’t love a scoop of ice cream? When you pair it with a bowl full of berries, cherries or other favorite fruits, it adds to the nutrients and helps you cut down on cravings. 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream (1/2 cup) is only 137 calories. And a healthier alternative is frozen yogurt at only 110 calories in a scoop. Both ice cream and frozen yogurt offer a variety of nutrients, including Vitamin D and calcium. Just be careful to choose a brand that is lower in sugar.
6. Red Meat
Red meat has gotten a bad rap in the past, but today we know that lean protein, including red meat, is thermogenic, meaning it can boost the body’s metabolism. Red meat contains vitamins B12, B3 (niacin), B6, iron, zinc, selenium and other vitamins and minerals. Look for organic and grass-fed varieties in order for it to have the most nutrients.
7. Brown Rice Chips
Rice chips are surprisingly delicious – and a good replacement for potato chips. A serving size contains only 140 calories, 18 grams of carbs, and are low fat. Plus, you gain the benefit of whole grain brown rice. Lundgrens (a grower of brown rice) offers a variety of flavors, from Fiesta Lime, Honey Dijon, Pico de Gallo, Santa Fe, Sea Salt, Sesame Seaweed, Smoky Maple and Sriracha. Some grocery chains carry them – or try looking for them at natural food marts. Try them with with your favorite salsa – so good!
Avocados, while admittedly high in calories, contain a high concentration of vitamins, nutrients and a beneficial ratio of heart-healthy fats. Guacamole is, in fact, quite healthy for you. Just watch the portion size – it is high in calories. Baked chips (or rice chips) pair well with guacamole, or it can be used as a spread for wraps and sandwiches.
9. Chinese Take-Out
Chinese take-out is certainly one of life’s greatest guilty pleasures, but some dishes are very high in fat, salt and calories. However, there are plenty of guilt-free options to choose from. Try Chicken & Broccoli, Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce, Chop Suey, Moo Goo Gai Pan or Sweet and Sour Soup. The key is to avoid deep-fried foods and noodle dishes (high in carbs and calories.)
Waffles, especially if they are made at home, aren’t too bad. The main ingredients are eggs, milk and flour. Loading them up with extra butter and syrup isn’t so healthy, so try limiting your butter and using a fruit spread instead.
It can be hard to get healthy meals and snacks in when you’re on the road. These healthy food guilty pleasures can help with those cravings. These delicious foods will help you satisfy more than just your hunger – enjoy!
When it comes to becoming a healthier truck driver and owner-operator, turn to AAOO for information and support. Click here to join AAOO today and start living a healthier lifestyle.