Think you can’t have your cake, chocolate, or chicken wings and eat them, too? Think again. The 30 foods on this list may sound sinful, but the nutritional evidence says otherwise. You may have to swap out a few ingredients or serve a treat a new way, but any sacrifices made will be repaid with major health benefits.
Chocoholics, rejoice! Research has shown that daily consumption of about one ounce of chocolate may reduce the risk for diseases such as diabetes. Plus, chocolate is good for your emotional well-being (but you already knew that). Milk chocolate, which contains a relatively modest 150 calories per ounce, is also a source of calcium.
When air-popped and butter-free, a three-cup serving of this cinema favourite contains only 93 calories and very little fat. Other significant nutrients include fibre, iron, beta carotene, and vitamin A.
Break it down, and a frozen vegetarian burrito is really just a tortilla-wrapped salad of black beans, avocado, cheese, and salsa. No wonder there are just 285 calories in there, along with a healthy dose of protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A.
Because it is made with real milk instead of cream, gelato has about 30 percent fewer calories per serving than ice cream. Not only that, but there’s lots of calcium in there, as well as protein and iron.
A pizza overflowing with bacon, sausage, and other fatty fare isn’t going to make it onto this list. But a 200-gram slice of veggie pie contains around 400 calories, plenty of potassium and calcium, and a serious dose of vitamin A to boot.
Are you craving the crunch of chips but worried about the fat and calories? A one-ounce bag of veggie chips clocks in at 147 calories, with under 9 grams of fat. You also get 359 milligrams of potassium and more than 3 grams of fibre.
While these nuts aren’t especially low in calories—a cup of them has around 690—their finicky shells have been shown to slow down the rate of consumption. In short, that cup of pistachios could last a while. Plus, pistachios are packed with protein, potassium, and iron.
Dieters needn’t be afraid of 6-inch whole-wheat pancakes. One of them contains a reasonable 268 calories, lots of fiber, 322 milligrams of calcium, and very little fat. If you pour maple syrup on top, you get antioxidants that help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and help prevent obesity.
Yes, milkshakes are a full-fledged indulgence, and yes, they are high in calories: around 500 for a 300-milliliter glass. But the milk in the shake is another story. It delivers nearly 300 milligrams of calcium and more than 8 grams of protein, putting that milkshake a step above pure junk food.
There are fast-food burgers, and then there are burgers made with whole-grain buns and extra-lean patties. Each of those healthy patties has just over 100 calories, a mere 3 grams of fat, and a whopping 18-plus grams of protein.
If you simply must have cheese on that burger, here’s some good news: while high in calories and fat, a one-ounce slice of brick cheese is a protein and calcium powerhouse that also contains zinc.
If that slice of cheese puts your lean burger over the top in terms of fat, consider switching to a turkey patty. It has just 2 grams of fat, a similar calorie count, and many of the same nutritional benefits.
Fries are actually pretty healthy—that is, if you follow them up with a solid workout to burn off the 17 calories in each 6.5-gram fry. After all, each fry also contains a bit of protein, fiber, calcium, and iron.
Sweet potato fries
The same 6.5-gram fry, but this time made from sweet potatoes, has several health advantages over its regular-potato rival: fewer calories (14), less fat, and some vitamin A.
By going light on the BBQ sauce and serving it with salad instead of fries, you can make that side of ribs a little more nutritious. A one-pound serving is packed with calories, to be sure (close to 1,000), but the 89 grams of protein and abundant calcium and iron in them makes ribs a manly, muscle-building meal.
Again, cutting down on the BBQ sauce will save you a ton of calories and sugar here. You’re still left with a tasty, meaty, protein-rich treat—with a modest 107 calories per 100 grams—that becomes even healthier when paired with a whole-grain bun.
Baked wings that aren’t slathered in buffalo sauce aren’t even close to a cheat food. A single 17-gram skinless wing has just 17 calories and less than a gram of fat, with protein and potassium to spare. Dip ’em in hot sauce for some extra zing.
Instead of using the fatty meats or deep-fried fish favored by many restaurants, make your own healthy tacos with grilled fish and leafy greens wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla.
Since you can put pretty much anything on nachos, take the healthy route by opting for lean chicken or turkey, low-fat cheese or sour cream, and plenty of vegetables, such as bell peppers, olives, jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions. And don’t forget the salsa and guacamole! Speaking of which…
Guacamole and corn chips
Packed with healthy fats and digestion-aiding fibre, a tablespoon of guac is also rich in protein and vitamin C.
It’s the combination of frying and calorie-rich sauces that makes Chinese fare such as General Tao’s Chicken so diet-derailing. The good news? You can keep your diet on track by baking the chicken instead and giving it a light glaze or putting the sauce on the side for dipping.
Low-fat beef and cheese, combined with a whole-grain bun, can turn this belt-buster into a surprisingly healthy treat.
Chocoholics, rejoice again! This sweet and salty combo has all the health (and taste) benefits of chocolate, but with protein-, calcium-, and iron-packed almonds at its core.
You can never have enough chocolate—especially when it’s combined with a fiber-, calcium-, and potassium-rich raisin center.
In this case, you can actually see what’s beneath the smooth chocolate coating: strawberries, which are low in calories, contain almost no fat, and are chock-full of vitamin C.
Not just any chocolate cake—a flourless chocolate cake. With no flour, this extra-luscious treat helps curb carbs.
What do you get when you combine a graham cracker with a marshmallow and a one-inch square of chocolate? Only about 150 calories, along with the goodness of chocolate, some fiber in the cracker, and hopefully some fun around a campfire.
Vanilla ice cream
Portion control is the key here. An ice cream scoop serves up 68 grams of this calcium-rich treat, so keep it to one scoop—topped with some fresh fruit—to keep your diet intact.
Bananas with peanut butter
Comfort food meets cheat food in this classic combo, which also happens to be healthy. Peanut butter is full of protein and healthy fats, and bananas are packed with natural sugars and potassium.
Some pre- or post-workout Froot Loops or Frosted Flakes aren’t so bad when eaten with calcium- and protein-rich low-fat milk. Toss some fresh fruit into the mix, and the nutritional value just keeps on climbing.
Author: Adam Bisby
Source: MSN: The healthiest cheat foods