The Trick with Treats

The Trick with Treats

Megan McNamee, RD

Sometimes the thought of giving up all treats on your weight loss journey seems impossible. Fortunately, planned indulgences have a place in your diet and may help you eat healthier. When you feel satisfied with the foods you eat, including the occasional treat, you are more likely to stick to your plan. Overly restrictive diets only work for so long, and once you finally give in, your small indulgence can avalanche into a day-long binge. Instead of thinking about eating perfectly, remember that occasional treats are good for you mentally and will keep you focused on your goals. The key to keeping treats in their place is to balance what, when, and how much you eat. Remember, a treat can still be made healthier – think chocolate covered strawberries or cocoa dusted almonds. Keep treats to no more than 250 calories.

What is considered a treat, and how much is an appropriate serving size?

3" chocolate walnut cookie12 cup low-fat ice cream12 onion bagel with 1 T. light veggie cream cheese
2 pieces bacon1 individual bag baked potato chipsSmall nonfat café mocha
12 piece of pizza (add veggies)2” square brownie12 blueberry muffin
Pear slices topped with 1 T. chocolate hazelnut spread1 ounce dark chocolate2 cups air popped popcorn with 1 T. melted butter
Dark chocolate strawberries (2)Protein drink with 1 T. chocolate or peanut butter chipsFrozen fruit (berries, bananas) with 2 T. Truwhip

When should I indulge?

Treats are an important, yet small part of a healthy diet. Most people do best when limiting indulgences to 1 or 2 times per week.

Make healthy foods feel indulgent.

  • Add cocoa powder to a protein shake for a chocolate fix or drink low sugar hot chocolate.
  • Bake chick peas with a sprinkle of salt, garlic powder, and 1 T. olive oil for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Peel and cut 2 large sweet potatoes into sticks, toss in 2 tablespoons coconut oil, season with cinnamon and sea salt, and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until slightly crispy to make “fries.” Serves 3-4.
  • Make peanut butter sandwiches by smearing 1 teaspoon of peanut butter between two round slices of banana; freeze.
  • Freeze your favorite flavored Greek yogurt for 1 hour and enjoy!
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