I've sworn off fries, burgers, and ice cream treats too many times to count. You have too, right? Well, give up swearing off. First, you'll eventually cave anyway (and risk binging when you do). Second, when your taste buds are demanding a little, well, junk food, just healthy-up those cravings instead so you can indulge occasionally without busting your good eating intentions or tipping your scales. Here's how.
With more and more pizza places offering healthier options, all you really have to do is order smart. Ask for a thin, whole-wheat crust - the thinner, the fewer the fat grams and calories, plus whole wheat ups the fiber and protein. Then ask for half the cheese (cuts saturated fat) and extra chicken and heart-friendly veggies, like artichokes, onions, and red and green peppers. Just before eating, blot any pools of extra grease with napkins to knock off another 3-5 grams of fat. Then dig in.
A medium fries from Carl's Jr. has (brace yourself) 460 calories and 22 grams of fat. Don't even think about 'em.
Okay, I know this sounds strange, but mixing unsweetened chopped tart cherries (fresh, frozen, or canned) into ground beef is a tasty way to reduce the amount of meat (and thus fat, calories) in each burger. Also, if you're cooking on a grill, adding cherries means fewer carcinogens will form during grilling. After the burgers are done, eliminate more fat by blotting them with paper towels. The cherries help keep them juicy.
You're already on the right track with burritos, since they're wrapped in soft tortillas, not fried taco-style. For the filling, choose chicken, black beans, or seafood, not fat-laden beef, pork, or refried beans. Top with salsa (naturally low-cal and no-fat) and a little guacamole - its heart-healthy good fats also unlock extra antioxidants in the salsa's tomatoes. The only thing you should skip: sour cream. Not only does it have 11 grams of fat per measly quarter cup but 6 of those are sat fat! Ole! You've turned burritos into a health food.
Go-for-it Banana Split
Fancy vanilla ice cream can have a yikes-inducing 17 grams of fat in just one half-cup. So start with a version that has half the fat, like many of the slow-churned ice creams. Top with sliced bananas, fat-free chocolate, and walnuts or slivered almonds. Yum. (Yes, the nutrients in the banana and the good fats in the nuts take the guilty edge off.)
If you loathe sugar substitutes (and thus diet sodas) but hate the calories of regular soda even more - not to mention the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that's often in them and may fuel obesity - make your own vitamin C-filled fizzy fruit concoctions. Start with one or two favorite juices (try combos of cranberry and orange, or pomegranate and pineapple). Halve their calories by fizzing them up with an equal amount of club soda. Add a wedge of lime or lemon if one's handy. Put your feet up.