8 cheat foods that won't ruin your diet

Here are the top 8 top cheat foods you can eat and still like you in the morning.

1. Cheese plate: Nothing feels as indulgent as wine and a cheese plate. You can create a great cheat meal with some healthier options. Start with high-quality cheeses from your favorite market. Throw in a few nuts and fresh fruits for added flavor, and avoid traditional cheese plate additions such as sugary jellies and high-fat meats.

2. Guacamole salsa and tortilla chips: what better way to cheat on a diet than with tortilla chips and guacamole. Baked tortilla chips are a healthier option than fried tortilla chips, so shop around for a baked brand and compare calories, fat and other nutritional values between brands before making your final selection. The price of baked tortilla chips may be slightly higher than fried tortilla chips, but you are eating a smaller portion now so the bag will last longer. As for guacamole, avocado is packed with tons of nutritious vitamins, healthy fat and fiber, but commercial guacamole is also packed with ingredients that drive the calorie count well above healthy levels. Buy your own avocado, tomato, onion, garlic and lime to create a fresh, nutritious guacamole salsa to create the perfect “cheat” food.

3. Pizza: opt for meat-free; pepperoni and sausage offer little in the nutrient department. Instead add a veggie topping or order it plain. The tomato sauce in pizza offers a hefty dose of lycopene, an important nutrient for prostate health. The added vegetables will add beta-carotene and vitamin C, among others, to fight free radicals, which promote aging.

4. Dark chocolate covered strawberries: dark chocolate is high in a compound called phenols, which may help prevent "bad cholesterol" from forming plaque in your arteries. Add the benefit of strawberries, a great source of vitamins C and A, and dessert never sounded so good. Let's not leave out that most women find these foods
romantic, so your heart may not be the only thing that benefits.

5. Cream cheese spread and crackers: there’s nothing better than cheese as a “cheat” food while dieting, but choosing the right cheese is crucial to keeping your calorie count down and your hunger at bay. Whipped cream cheese or Neufchatel supply fewer calories than full-fat cream cheese. Whipped cream cheese is also easier to spread and combine with other ingredients, making it ideal for this healthy “cheat” snack. Mix a few tablespoons of your favorite spices into the entire container of cream cheese. Think dehydrated onions for a French onion taste or garlic and herbs for a Mediterranean option. If you want to create multiple cream cheese spreads, divide the container of cream cheese into smaller storage containers and get creative.

6. Popcorn: you’ve probably read that popcorn is a healthy, low-calorie snack a million times before, but not the way we suggest you eat it. Popcorn is a rather dull food, but a single three-cup serving supplies less than 100 calories, nearly four grams of fiber and more than three grams of protein when air-popped. Popcorn is actually an extremely healthy food, but you want to “cheat” so let’s transform that boring popcorn into a delicacy. Throw three cups of air-popped popcorn onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. In a separate bowl, melt two tablespoons of dark chocolate chips in the microwave. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn and sprinkle with salt. Allow the chocolate to cool before enjoying this amazing “cheat” snack that contains less than 300 calories, about five grams of fiber and about five grams of protein.

7. Berry pie: unfortunately carrot cake doesn't count as a vegetable, so instead order berry pie for dessert. Berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit or vegetable and have even been shown to contain compounds that help prevent Alzheimer’s; the darker the berry, the higher dose of nutrients, so blueberry or blackberry pie would be great options.

8. Sushi: you want Chinese food and you want it now, but you know in the back of your mind that Chinese food is packed with fat, sugar and tons of calories. Take a step out of your comfort zone and try sushi instead of fried rice. Ask for brown rice instead of white rice and choose a sushi that does not contain cream cheese. Drizzle a little soy sauce over your entire sushi roll instead of dipping each piece in the soy sauce and remember to eat all the wasabi you want.

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