The amount of food you choose to eat is important as is the type of food. Constantly depriving yourself of foods you love will sabotage your ability to manage your weight. That’s where portion control is important.
Did you know that chocolate bars have grown more than 10 times in size since they were first introduced? This means that we need to pay closer attention to how much of a food we eat. But – when you eat reasonable portions occasionally, you can eat anything you want in moderation.
You can eat chocolate, cookies, cream desserts, whipped toppings, and rich creamy ice cream, but ensure you do it occasionally and with self-control and restraint on portion size. An occasional small piece of chocolate cake or ½ cup of pistachio ice cream is not going to increase your weight or harm your health. Over-indulging in these types of foods is what leads to weight gain and health problems, but eating them in moderation is acceptable.
If you have a craving for a chocolate chip cookie, then have one. The key word here is “one”! Don’t eat cookies from the package until you’re stuffed! One cookie is not going to make you gain weight, but continually eating many cookies will quickly add up to more pounds and a sluggish feeling. And remember that packaged cookies and treats, pastries, and other desserts contain those trans fats and saturated fats that are oils to be avoided whenever possible.
Rather than chocolate, think about other sweet treats that can satisfy your cravings without the high sugar content. Fruit or low-fat yogurt may be a good substitute for high-fat desserts. But if chocolate is what you really want – then have a small portion.
Delightful Non-Chocolate Desserts
As you’ve learned already, you can eat anything you want when you control the frequency and portions of foods you consume. This applies to desserts too! So you can have your cake and eat it too!
Before you indulge in decadent desserts, ask yourself if you really want the dessert or are you eating because you are stressed, or maybe you’re eating dessert because others are eating. Make sure you truly want the sweet treat before you indulge.
If the answer is still “yes,” then go for it! But make sure you manage the portion you consume. Eat ½ slice of cake or pie, take only one cookie instead of 2 or 3, and definitely don’t go back for seconds! Allow your brain to tell your stomach that you are satisfied.
If you still feel the urge to eat, drink water or some other low-sugar beverage. Maybe a cup of coffee will do the trick. Find what works for you and use it to help manage your cravings for fat and calorie-laden foods.
In spite of what many people believe, there are some desserts that are healthier than others. Pay attention to your hunger signals, and if they signal that you need dessert then consider some of the lower sugar, lower fat options that are available:
- Angel food cake (lower in fat and calories than regular cake)
- Fresh fruit with low-fat whipped cream
- Sorbet in place of high-fat ice creams (but still watch the sugar!)
- Sugar-free cookies or cakes
- Yogurt with fruit
- Frozen yogurt
- Graham crackers or vanilla wafers and pudding
- Jello with fruit and fat-free whipped topping
- Whether you choose the calorie-laden desserts or the healthier versions, you still need to exercise portion control. A beautifully displayed dessert can quickly give your will-power and self-control a big “whap,” but don’t let it sabotage your healthy habits and over-power your common sense.
Indulge occasionally and enjoy decadent desserts, but do it with awareness and purpose.
Everyone enjoys snacks – there are healthy choices that make snacking a good part of your daily weight control plan. You should choose snacks that are satisfying and filling – helping you ward off hunger between meals without giving you unnecessary amounts of sugar or fat. Some recommended snack options are listed below.
Use these ideas to come up with your own ideas for a healthy, nutritious, and delicious snack. Remember to occasionally include foods you love, such as chocolate and other sweets – but manage your portions closely!
- Fresh fruit – apple, orange, banana, grapes, or other fruits
- Raw vegetables and 2 tablespoons dip
- Individual sized bag of whole-wheat pretzels and diet soda or water
- 1 ounce Cheese and 4-5 crackers (preferably whole wheat crackers and low-fat cheese)
- ½ cup frozen yogurt or ice cream
- 15-20 tortilla chips with salsa
- Low-fat fruit smoothie
- Juice Spritzer (one part juice and one part sparkling water or Diet 7-Up)
- 12-14 almonds or other nuts
- 4 crackers and 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 Cookie and a glass of 2% milk
- 2 cups air-popped popcorn and 1 glass sparkling water or diet soda
- 1 cup fat-free hot chocolate made with hot water and 3 vanilla wafers
- 1 cup low/no-sugar cereal (such as Cheerios)
- Rice cakes
- Celery with 1.5 oz. Hummus