I've done posts on my favorite junk food, I've mentioned cold cereals and goodness knows I post plenty of fattening, luscious, straight-to-your-hips recipes during the year so maybe guilt is catching up with me. Maybe it's the fact that I'm facing Florida beaches, the Blogher 2008 conference and my 20th high school reunion this year that's got me fearing my scales each morning.
But whatever the reason this week I'm posting my favorite diet treats--the things I can snack on without guilt or trauma that actually still taste pretty good (you'll notice there isn't a rice cake to be found). Right about now I'm stocking the cupboards with these little guys so I can make it from that deadly 2-6pm period that is typically my downfall.
So here goes . . .
1. Yoplait light yogurt. The little blue cans? Only 100 calories and they keep me away from my first and greatest love--ice cream (or is it donuts? I can never decide which I love more). When I was pregnant I got these horrible cravings for ice cream, I think it was something about the cold and the texture and having everything else smell horrible that did it but I tried to channel it as best I could into these guys and it worked pretty well. Some times. Favorite flavors are cherry, raspberry or boysenberry, though hats off to key lime.
2. Shrimp. I keep a bag of frozen Costco shrimp (pre-cooked, peeled and ready for smacking) with a bottle of cocktail sauce in the freezer and when I get frantic for something I can drop a handful of these little guys in a bowl of water to thaw and five minutes later I'm happy and content slurping down some protein--call it krill to kill. Sixty calories never tasted so good! Scallops are nearly as good, though check out this recipe here that is my absolutely favorite way to eat them.
3. Tiny cheeses. You know those little wax-wrapped rounds of cheese from Babybel? They make a low-fat variety with 50 calories that I love to munch on. The biggest trick is sticking with just one. Only one, darn it!
4. Popcorn. Now of course it's best with real butter drizzled all over it, enough to stick your fingers together, but when I'm being good I can survive with a couple cups and some fakey sprayed butter to flavor it. In a pinch. When I have to.
5. Applesauce. Those little cups of applesauce that Motts and Seneca make are only 80 calories and the cinnamon or berry flavors are tasty--especially when I'm looking for a bit of something sweet. I can do 80.
6. Mandarin oranges. While I LIVE for the fresh ones that come out at the holidays (they are seriously the best thing to eat at Christmas) I'll settle for the canned ones in a pinch. An 11-ounce can has 150 calories--but that includes the syrup. Tasty and good for you when you've got to have some sugar.
7. Mushrooms. And while we're on the subject of canned foods (which normally are not my thing I'm afraid) give me a jar of button mushrooms. Though slices are fine too now that I think about it. No, I take that back because the buttons are more fun to eat than just a plain old slice of mushroom. At any rate, a 4.5-ounce jar is 75 calories and that's completely doable. If I'm feeling really crazy I might even pour a couple tablespoons of marinara sauce over the top before snarfing them down. I get my thrills where I can apparently.
8. Scrambled eggs. For some reason (and maybe one of you can explain it to me) but I feel I'm getting more to eat when my eggs are scrambled rather than hard-boiled. Two large scrambled eggs are only 160 calories which makes for a smallish but satisfying snack when I'm trying to be good. Throw some dill or basil in there and it's even better.
9. Hot chocolate. Now I know this sounds fattening but if you fix a mug of the low-cal powdered variety it's only 50 calories. Now stick with me on this one because I know you're thinking, "Yea, Michell but that low-cal stuff tastes like shoe lint--who'd drink it?" Well I've got a secret: syrup. I buy the flavored syrups like the kinds they have at espresso stands: caramel, hazelnut, almond, raspberry, coconut . . . and I pour a shot of that in with the low-cal hot chocolate and it makes all the difference.
What about the calories from the syrup you say? Well have I got news for you because Walmart sells brands like Torani and DaVinci which make sugar-free varieties with zero calories. Yes, zero calories. So when I've got to have some chocolaty dessert after dinner, if I can go for a cup of the low-calorie hot chocolate I'm living high for only 50 calories. I had some tonight in fact.
10. Sparkling water. Likewise, if we're talking beverages here I can't forget to mention Sam's Clear American sparkling water. Again at Walmart, it's inexpensive and sugar-free so there are no calories and lots of fruity flavors to choose from (I like peach myself). It's marketed as a carbonated water drink, not a soft drink, and there aren't any carbs or sodium in it but I'm unclear what the final judgment on the nutritional aspect of the drink would be. I try to not drink pop--it's really not very good for you and our water here tastes so amazingly wonderful that it's not like we need to find a substitute--but sometimes I can mistake hunger for thirst and just drinking a big glass of something will help me not feel so peckish. Also, it's flavored and it's sweet so I feel like I'm getting a bit of a treat when I have one of these. So in summary, I wouldn't really drink these every day or in place of the good stuff (water) but as a treat here and there they help me keep away from the real fatty stuff. And that's a good thing.
11. Pudding. When I want a dessert or a treat chocolate pudding is a luxury like no other so sometimes when I'm trying to watch what I'm eating I'll have pudding for dessert while the rest of the crowd eats their cookies or cake. Warm pudding is comfort food and (to me) is actually even better than a cookie or cake and if I buy the sugar-free Jello brand pudding it's only 60 calories a serving which makes it even more attractive. Lots more. The only caution I have is that I can't stand the taste of the instant stuff, it has to be the cook-and-serve variety or it tastes too powdery-fake to me. Go with the cooked stuff and maybe a splurge of light whipped cream on top if you're really going for broke. Sugar-free Jello gelatin isn't a bad treat either, pudding is just better.
12. Soup. If you're really starving, I mean really starving, try a can of Campbell's soup. It's not fancy--certainly not gourmet--but a can of chicken noodle only has something like 140 calories which is completely easy on the hips plus it has the added benefit of really filling you up and making you feel like you've had a meal. It's not bad for you either.
13. Chocolate. Gasp! Chocolate? Well under certain qualifications. I like having a box of large fancy chocolate truffles around, the richer the better, because (for me) it's nice to have a little bit of sweet after a meal and a good quality dark chocolate truffle is pure heaven. The richness of one chocolate truffle is enough to satisfy me where with a cookie it's hard to stop, a piece of cake is a killer and don't even bring up ice cream or cheesecake. One 70-calorie truffle is satisfying, fairly healthy with all those anti-oxidents in the dark chocolate and should help you top off the meal without toppling over the edge. If you're careful. So bring on the Godiva!
Any treats you have to see you through to a slimmer, fitter you? I'm always up for ideas.
Technorati tags: Thursday Thirteen, New Year's resolutions, dieting, food
I go for the 0% fat diet vanilla puddings. Somehow they taste good where the chocolate ones just taste all chemically and awful. That or plain popcorn with a bit of salt.
Sadly, shrimp is way too expensive here to just eat as a snack, because that sounds like a fun option too.
These are some good recommendations. I love Babybel cheeses as well, and sparkling mineral water is always a treat.
The chocolate, though, well, I can't leave any quantity of chocolate in the house if I'm trying to cut back... I'll just sit down and eat it. OR my husband will. ;-)
"Krill to kill," now THAT'S funny!
I am with you on the cheeses and yogurt. And warm chocolate pudding, mmmmm mmmmm!
My FAVORITE thing to do for dessert after a nice dinner in the city is to go to Godiva for a truffle. (I have to have something sweet after I eat out. It is a must.)
It is the PERFECT sweet after bite.
They are so rich it is satisfying and it costs two bucks.
For indulgence I HEART MacDonald's "Ice Cream" cones.
150 calories. 3.5 grams of fat.
Totally doable for a big, sweet treat.
I reread my first comment and I make it sound like I'm leaving a new tip instead of just gushing over yours (Which was my intent.)
Sorry. It's freakishly late. I'm freakishly tired.
I also freakishly rambling...
Rice cakes--the cheddar cheese kind. It takes a full to create that "I just ate something" feeling, but you get there without the self-loathing that comes from indulging in a fatty snack!
Great ideas! I could use some of these because I only have one and only one goal for 2008 and that is to shed some pounds. I even have a deadline.
Can't go for shrimps, as I am allergic to them.
-Grace in Dubai-
These are some tasty treat ideas for diets! However, I have trouble stopping myself so when I have Lindt chocolate truffles around I usually end up eating 4 of them instead of just one!
What can I say? I'm weak!
Great ideas! I like to snack on trail mix.
Love your hot chocolate idea! For a more nutritional version: try steamed skim milk laced with your syrup. mmmm...
I also like: Snyder's of Hanover Bavarian style pretzels -- they're so crunchy and they take so long to eat, and no trans fats! Fancy, marinated olives from the deli. And baby carrots dipped in hummus.
PS Thanks for putting your posts up on a timer, so that I have something amusing to read when my kids wake me up before 6am. (I'm just assuming you weren't awake before 6am in Michigan!!)
Well, wouldn't you know I'd read your blog for the first time a few hours before I board the plane on assignment to cover Mardi Gras traditions in south Louisiana for the next week?? LOVE the suggestions, though.
One of my favorite "good treats" is sugar-free Godiva chocolate bars, which I often pick up in larger airport stores.
Good luck with your New Year goals. I'll be joining you by the 15th.
These are some really great tips! You have made me hungry! I love Parfaits and I have to agree with you on the shrimp!!!
Wow! These are some good suggestions, thanks.
I keep fat free salad dressing and ice berg lettuce on hand. When you feel like you could eat a whole bag of chips or something I make a big bowl of salad and eat that until I feel like I'm full. Full-- but not many calories.
One of my favorite snacks is a chocolate slim fast shake made in the blender with ice. It is chocolate, has protein in it and is chilly. I also like to keep popsicles and ice creams in the freezer that are 100 calories or less.
I heart anyone that adds quality chocolates to a list of diet must haves!
They are great suggestions and right now after the holidays I need them. I need to go to the store and stock up right now.
I'm not good at watching what I eat, and it's only by the grace of God that I don't have a weight problem. (yet)
However, when I want something to munch, but for some reason can't find sweets, I like a cup jam-packed full of crushed ice with some water. (OK, Dr. Pepper is better, but still.) You can take those concentrated Juicy Juice cans and pour out just a bit to flavor the water.
Oh, and Olives. Green or Black.
My husband loves club soda with a variety of stuff inside. (ie. olives or Twang [lime salt] or just a smidge of juice.
I gained a few pounds over Christmas, so these tips will come in handy!!
My favorite is a homemade milkshake. Skim milk, frozen strawberries (or any other type of frozen fruit ...mangos and peaches are good too), 1 packet of sugar-twin (sugar substitute). MMmmm, It's fabulous!
mmmm great list .. now that we are into the new year I *need* to get back on track :)
Great tips! And thanks for checking out my site today!
I LOVE Haagen Daazs Sorbet---Rasberry, Mango or Lemon. No fat, but it tastes so good that I usually pick it over ice cream everytime!
Popcorn? yes. Yogurt? sure. Chocolates? I wouldn't trust myself.
Just blogged you: http://blog.feefifoto.com/2008/01/thursday-thirte.html
I love kiddie cones at Mcdonalds. Great post. My favorite snack is cottage cheese made with the hidden valley ranch packet. If you use fat free cottage cheese you get flavor without calories. It is also great in salads because it adds flavor without tons of calories. I love it as a dip with carrots and broccoli. Highly recommend this.
I love the SF syrups ! Love to put them in my chai tea or almost any tea, cocoa, coffee...or a low fat smoothie!!
yummm...a nice thick , creamy smoothie, maybe even with a dash of protein powder .
Davinci has a nice online site with lots of flavors if you can't find them in your area!
These are great ideas. I don't normally worry about dieting, my weights fluctuates between 5-10 pounds depending on time of year (I always gain weight in winter when I can't be outside), but this year is hubby's high school reunion and I don't want to go looking as dumpy and tired as I feel. I'm with some of the others though. No way could I have Godiva chocolates in the house and only eat one a day.
Almonds are good and good for you, too! Though when it's sweets I crave, there's nothing like chocolate!
Great list, and Happy TT, dieting, and 2008.
thanks for the suggestions.
An apple with a mini fat-free caramel dip or a mini bagel with low-fat strawberry cream cheese are a couple of my favorites.
GREAT post! I'm starting my third year following the principles of Weight Watchers (71 pounds lost since 1/1/06), and I already enjoy a lot of the same things you listed. A couple of comments and suggestions though...
-- the shrimp is a great idea! I occasionally cook with it, but I've never thought about having a few for a snack, but I'm going to now.
-- I've never had the Babybel cheeses, but also very good are the Laughing Cow cheese wedges. Only 1 WW point each and so yummy!
-- HUGE fan of mandarin oranges!
-- I also love scrambled eggs, and while I'll have actual eggs once in a while (did this morning, as a matter of fact), I've found Egg Beaters to be a very good substitute. Less cholesterol, calories, and fat, but the same amount of protein, and honestly, the difference in taste is minimal. Plus, the equivalent of two eggs is only ONE WW point.
-- Soup is great! You might try Progresso's soup, particularly their Minestrone and Lentil soups, which are high in fiber. They offer some that have less sodium and I LOVE their new Light line which is WW-endorsed. They taste great and one serving is ZERO points.
I still have about ten pounds to lose and all this goes a long way to helping make it bearable. :)
I am with you on the Chocolate.
A little indulgence would be anything with Dark Chocolate. I've read the darker the chocolate is better for you. That way I feel I am eating something good for me.
I get the candy bars, that I can share like Almond Joys, or Twix bars, that way it is around 100cal., and I agree, it satisfies my sweet tooth.
Our pantry is always stocked with granola bars. And we love to eat apples and string cheese too. Of course anything chocolaty is a shoe in.
A small bowl of cereal (not the sugar filled kind), half a grapefruit, strawberries in season, and especially a smoothie made with Orange juice, frozen berries, a little milk and a small amount of sugar or honey to sweeten, although the OJ does a pretty good job of that.
Don't forget the laughing Cow little cheeses!
Only you could make diet food sound so good ;) I am going to have to try the hot chocolate trick- thanks for the idea!
I love to buy those portobello mushroom caps and invert them and fill them with pizza toppings. HEAVEN! I put a little olive oil and salt & pepper on them,then my pizza sauce and toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes and you have a delicious lunch. Two of those and I am full the rest of the day because they are so filling.
I shouldn't have read your blog when I was hungry! I stopped at the part about the eggs and fried up some in lots of butter. I ate more than the recommended two.
But the sparkling water treat is one of my favorites. Just regular seltzer water with fresh sqeezed lemon.
I believe in the hot chocolate indulgence for keeping on track. Satisfies my chocolate craving every time!
Blessings and Happy T13,
I have my 20th reunion this summer too, guess I better work on my weight....would be nice to be close to my grad weight even. Uhm, I think you need to rethink the chocolate on the list though.
I love mandarin oranges and Yoplait light yogurt.
Again with the fungus...
I love the Yoplait Lite, too. I have 2 or 3 a week mixed with GrapeNuts for breakfast. YUM!
For me, the best is things with strong flavors--even when I'm eating fewer calories, it makes me feel like I'm getting more. So for the popcorn, for example, I'll sprinkle a bunch of paprika on it or Italian or Greek seasoning.
The key seems to be moderation.
My favorite snack food is always cold cereal. The milk gives me a protein boost, the cereal usually has some sweetener (I'm thinking Frosted Mini-Wheats here, not Cocoa Puffs) and it's EASY.
Sugar-free Popsicles and Fudgesicles are also wonderful. But it's too cold for that right now.
I love those little cheeses. Of course, they should be eaten at room temperature, like all cheese -- not straight out of the refrigerator where they have had all the flavour chilled out of them
No cheap shrimp here either. Happy TT.
Thanks for the suggestions, I appreciate them since I'm dieting...My favorite diet or anytime snack? I like to mix the Special K red berry with some Special K chocolate with skim milk. It helps with my chocolate and carb cravings. Two birds...:-)
YUMM good diet treats
Great ideas, thank you!
I just bought a bag of frozen raw shrimp to help me get past the post-holiday munchies. Thanks for the other ideas.
I am in awe of anyone who is able to maintain such self control in the face of chocolate!!
I'm Jewish so the shrimp-thing is out...
And I'm definitely going to try the hot chocolate trick.
Hey, welcome to the Twenty Year Reunion Tour. You will laugh. You will cry. You will never be the same again. At least you'll be slim and trim!
Great tips. Can I add one? I like to smash up a banana and put it on top of a rice cake. It's a three-point treat that's surprisingly filling and fools you into thinking it's a dessert. Plus tea. For some reason warm drinks are filling.
Thanks for all the great ideas, an egg is always a fave for me because it is real food, but low-cal. I have been known to purchase those 100 cal chocolate bars in the past, but I can only buy one at a time or I eat 3 or 4 of them and that just defeats the purpose!
Mandarines and Sparkling Water are my TOP TWO favorites!!! YUMMMY!!!!
Those are some great ideas for snacks! My favorite low cal ones are the hot chocolate and soup. Could I have a glass of you water with that?
I'm a juicer. As in, juicing fresh fruits and vegetables. You can drink as much fresh juice as you want in any variety and never gain weight. And you get all those great antioxidants. Yes, I know, I'm abnormal, but I come from a family of juicers who are just as abnormal as me...
Aren't BabyBels the best? I always keep them in the house...they have certainly saved my diet on more than one occasion :)
Those are some really great ideas...keep up the good work!
you have quite an eclectic mix of diet foods!! Not too much in common with my list...until you got to the chocolate at the end!! LOL!
Isn't "diet treat" an oxymoron? ;) I like those little cheeses too. And fresh fruit.
Here's my fave!!!! In addition to the late great news that dark, low sugar chocolate is GOOD FOR YOU!!! now I find out the good news about PISTACHIOS..YIPPEE. They increase immunoglobulin-G (strengthen immune system) have B6, GABA (for mood) and stimulate production of cholecystokinin, a hormone that decreases hungr pangs a-a-a-nd they are good for PMS. I'm munching them for BREAKFAST and sometimes forget to eat lunch.!!! WOO HOO!! GMAM
For a special dessert I fix sugar free raspberry jello with a bag of frozen raspberries and low cal whipped topping. yum.
Ahhhh.... someone else has discovered the DaVinci sugar-free syrup too!! Don't ya just LUV that stuff? It makes my morning decaf coffee taste like a candy bar, if ya ask me. :)
On that popcorn, try drizzling some agave nectar over it. You'll find agave nectar at a health food store. It's kind of like honey except thinner and doesn't "settle out" in time. It doesn't have an aftertaste like honey does (to me) and it has a very low glycemic index so even diabetics can use it without any effect on the blood sugar.
Drizzling that stuff on popcorn, along with the fakey spray butter, makes it taste like caramel corn.
One in the Body~ Pearl
My problem is I like to eat M&M's when I eat popcorn :) !!
Fiber One makes a chocolate chip granola bar that is only 2 WW points (for the folks who do points) and have something like NINE grams of fiber. Oh, and they're delicious. Seriously, I love these.
I am a huge fan of Dannon Light yogurt because it is so low in calories and has 0 fat. I also have a daily treat of 99% fat free kettle popcorn. They help me stay on my eating plan. Great list here.
Soups: Amy's organic tomato/chunky tomato bisque - great! Trader Joe's Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper. and concur re Progresso Minestrone - chock full of stuff - w/some shredded parmagiana (Reggiano) atop. If you have Wegmans, their CocoPops are 16 calorie each, maybe apread with their organic Jammin Red Raspberry Fruit Spread (25 cal/tbl) or splurge w/ a little almond butter.
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