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Good-for-you indulgences

Tasty treats that are surprisingly healthy

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Chatelaine

Let’s face it; we’re not going to stop snacking. But the sweet and salty foods we often nosh on are usually not the healthiest. Instead of trying to ignore your rumbling tummy – and we all know how well that works – try one of these healthy bites. They’re tasty enough to be crave-worthy, and so nutritious they’re 100 percent guilt-free.

Instead of potato chips…
Say goodbye to chips coated with simulated cheddar. Instead, try the real thing: whole-grain crackers with thinly sliced and – this is the key – strongly flavoured cheese like old Cheddar or Gouda. When the cheese has a good bite to it, we need less of it to feel satisfied, says Calgary dietitian Andrea Holwegner. She also suggests capping the cracker with a dash of salsa for a wee dose of veggies. (Fresh salsa from the local deli will be lower in sodium.)

Instead of pop…
Not one to munch on a plum? You still need up to eight servings of fruits and veggies a day. Drink four of them in a large smoothie, with a hearty blend of berries and bananas – it’s naturally sweet and delicious. Or, for a pick-me-up, try a latte: A standard size from the coffee shop of your choice typically contains a full cup of milk. It’s has about as much calcium and protein as three quarters of a cup of yogourt, says Holwegner. Just ask for one made with skim, one percent or soy to keep the fat content low.

Instead of take-out…
Okay, you can still have takeout. Barbecue chicken and cheeseburgers for dinner needn’t leave you guilt-ridden. Just limit the damage by making sure they’re not more than 500 calories per portion, says Helene Charlebois, a registered dietitian and nutritionist in Ottawa. Before you head out, check the nutrition analysis online – big restaurant chains are now obligated to post this information on their websites. If you’re facing a buffet, divide your plate into quarters, and fill one with protein, one-quarter with starch, and half with veggies.