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Don't Ditch These 'Fattening' Foods When You're on a Diet

How 'treats' like peanut butter, cheese, and pasta could actually help you lose weight.

6 'Fattening' Foods to Keep in Your Diet continued...

Fat-free and low-fat cheeses are improving in taste and texture. Experiment with different brands to find a lower fat variety you enjoy. Or, choose full- fat cheeses but limit your portions to 1 ounce. Pair cheese with an apple, veggies or whole grain crackers to pump up the fiber and help you feel full longer. One ounce of cheese has 100 calories, 8-9 grams of fat, 7 grams protein, and 200-300 milligrams of calcium.

Many dieters avoid pasta, bread, and rice. It's true that foods high in sugar or refined carbohydrates tend to cause a spike in blood sugar, followed by a rebound drop, with hunger reappearing soon afterward. (Refined grains are those in which the outer shell or bran has been removed, resulting in less fiber.)

But if you choose whole grains that are also high in fiber, your body will absorb them more slowly, and you'll feel more satisfied. Choose toppings for your whole-grain pasta, brown rice, or whole-wheat bread that are high in fiber, lean protein, and/or healthy fats and you'll stay feeling full even longer. Of course, portion size still matters. One cup of pasta has 190 calories, 1 gram of fat and if whole grain, 6 grams of fiber.

Make Room for the Foods You Love

You've heard the saying, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder?" Well, that holds true for your favorite foods, too. When you eliminate foods you love, it can set up feelings of deprivation, sometimes to the point that all you do is think about how much you long for that special food or beverage. Eventually, this can lead to a binge and the end of your diet.

A long-term solution is to factor in your favorite foods, especially those that are rich in healthy nutrients. Some dieters find strength in just knowing that there are no forbidden foods, and as a result have more resolve to stick with their eating plans.

Just be sure to keep the portions of higher-calorie treats small so you can enjoy them without sabotaging your weight loss plan. So if you love chocolate, keep snack-sized portions on hand and treat yourself to one each day. (Choose dark chocolate to get a boost of antioxidants while satisfying your sweet tooth.)

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