Order pizza by the slice, not by the pie, and ask them to go light on the cheese. Plus, you’ll feel fuller if you load your pizza with veggie toppings like broccoli, mushrooms or peppers. “Pepperoni, sausage and meatballs can more than double the calories on a slice,” says Lauren Antonucci, a clinical nutritionist and certified sports dietician.
It’s not the potatoes that are inherently bad in this classic side dish, it’s the high-fat, high-calorie butter and cream that often get added. Flavor your own recipe with salt, pepper and low-fat buttermilk, Antonucci recommends. “The buttermilk adds a lot of calcium and creaminess and you get to skip the butter.” For an even healthier version, substitute mashed cauliflower for potatoes, or go half cauliflower, half potato.
Try this easy low-cal treat instead, no rolling pin required: Preheat oven to 350°. Wash and core a sweet apple, like Red Delicious. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and some chopped walnuts in a small bowl. Place the apple on an ovenproof baking dish and fill the core with the sugar mixture. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup. Add enough water to cover bottom of the baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the apple is soft.
“Find a really high-quality, tasty brand,” says Ellen Glovsky, a registered dietician and nutrition professor at Northeaster University in Boston, then skip the sugary toppings. The idea is to re-create the texture of ice cream, since tactile experience is all part of craving. If a milkshake is on your mind, make a quick fruit smoothie: throw nonfat vanilla yogurt, a splash of skim milk, a teaspoon of honey and the frozen fruit of your choice in a blender, then combine till smooth.
Don’t fret ogling the perfect pastel confections lining your local boutique bakery’s window. Cupcakes have built-in portion control and one should be enough to cancel out a craving. “The cupcake should look like the ones your mom made when you were a kid,” Antonucci says. “If its size is equivalent to two or three of those, you may want to pass.” And be wary of mountains of frosting; scrape some off to save on calories.
Sure, super-dark chocolate has health benefits, but the recommended four-ounce daily serving won’t necessarily scratch a double-fudge-brownie itch. Pinpoint the item you’re craving and eat that instead of a cheap stand-in. “You’ll need less to be satisfied if it’s the perfect kind of chocolate,” Glovsky says.
Reach for a single-serving bag of the baked varieties. Or take a handful out of a larger bag and put it in a bowl — and stop there. “Soy crisps are a great substitute because you get to eat a whole bag and you get the same crunch.” Apple chips also a pack a sweet and satisfying crunch.
Mac and Cheese
This homemade recipe beats anything out of the box — and it lets you control the calories: in a medium saucepan, melt a 1/4 cup of shredded low-fat extra-sharp cheddar into 1/4 cup cottage cheese and stir. Add a few dashes of hot sauce and then fold in the cooked whole-wheat pasta of your choice. Enjoy with a salad to fill up faster.