pizza with friends
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Pizza

Sometimes you just gotta have it. But that doesn’t mean you have to have the deep-dish with a thick crust (with loads of carbs), extra cheese, and four kinds of meat (tons of calories and saturated fat). Go for a thin-crust veggie version, light on the cheese. Order a salad to help fill you up and add nutrients without extra calories.

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potato chips
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Potato Chips

You never can eat only one. And the fat, salt, and carbs add up. For a crunchy treat with a little more health appeal, try nuts. Their nutrients help your cells work, and their good fats keep you full and satisfied. Just keep an eye on portion size -- they have fats, too. You could also pop some popcorn. It’s high in fiber and low in calories -- as long as you watch the butter. Either one will satisfy hunger better than potato chips.

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pasta
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Pasta

If you crave it, but want to cut down on the carbs, skip the flour-based noodles and use spaghetti squash instead. It’s great with a simple tomato sauce. You’ll cut calories and carbs by half -- or more -- compared with the same dish that has pasta. Add some lean ground beef or turkey breast if you want something a little heartier.

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chips and dip
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Dip

Whether it’s made with sour cream, cream cheese, or stuff that just looks like cheese, it’s hard to say no to this fatty party fare. Next time you have a shindig, switch to hummus. You’ll slash the fat and add protein from the chickpeas. While you’re at it, trade those less-than-healthy chips for all-you-can-eat veggies like bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, and celery.

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breakfast cereal
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Cereal

Many are loaded with simple carbs and sugars. Try oatmeal instead. The fiber helps fill you up and slows the absorption of calories into your bloodstream. That keeps your energy steady. It may even help you eat fewer calories over the course of the day.

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chocolate
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Chocolate

A typical candy bar is full of sugar, unhealthy fats, and preservatives. If you want the sweet stuff, go for some dark chocolate. It can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to your brain and heart, and protect cells from damage. Look for a plain bar with a cocoa content of 70% to 85%. Skip fillers like nuts and fruit, and don’t eat more than 1 ounce a day.

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french fries
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French Fries

Skip the deep-fried version and bake them instead. You’ll save calories: A small order of fast-food fries has 230 calories, but a whole medium baked potato has 130-140 calories. Check the grocery store for frozen fries you can pop into the oven. Just be careful what you put on them -- sour cream, butter, or ketchup can add lots of calories and fat.

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donuts
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Doughnuts

They come in sets of a dozen for a reason, right? Wrong. These nutrient-free sugar bombs are custom-made to pile on pounds and leave you hungry for more. If you want a breakfast that will keep you going all day, try eggs or cottage cheese. They’re both nutritious, satisfying, and full of protein that will give you an even supply of energy for a longer chunk of time. 

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white bread
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White Bread

It has very little fiber to slow the release of sugar into your blood and expand to make you feel full. It’s also missing the nutrients that help your body work the way it should and make you feel more satisfied. Look for a package that lists whole grain or whole wheat as the first ingredient.

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ice cream
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Ice Cream

You start off thinking you’ll just have a spoonful and wind up eating the whole carton. That’s a lot of fat, sugar, and calories. If you want to splurge on something cool and creamy, switch to sorbet or fat-free frozen yogurt. You might even try a carton of plain Greek yogurt with some berries and nuts. You’ll get calcium along with protein, plus fiber and other nutrients from the add-ons.

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smoothie
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Smoothies

They’re fine as a treat from time to time, but it’s better to eat your fruits and veggies whole. The problem with mashing them up in a smoothie is that blender-smashed food -- even fruits and veggies -- simply won’t satisfy you as well as if you eat them whole. Plus, it’s easy to eat too much too quickly. Calories and carbs, from fruit especially, can add up quickly. 

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ketchup
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Ketchup

It’s mostly tomatoes right? Well, yes -- and sugar. Lots of sugar. Four grams in every tablespoon to be exact. If you want something tomato-y, make some homemade tomato salsa. You can add a bit of cayenne pepper for a spicy little kick.

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muffins
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Muffins

If you want to have cake for breakfast, just do it. Calling it a muffin won’t make it any better for you. It’s full of refined white flour, sugar, and fat -- which packs in the calories but doesn’t help your hunger. Try a whole grain English muffin with peanut butter instead. You’ll get complex carbs -- which absorb more slowly -- less sugar, and lots of protein.

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rice
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White Rice

It breaks down into sugar and gets into your blood too quickly. But there are things you can do to help. First, pick the right type. Basmati, for example, has a lower glycemic index (GI) -- it breaks down into sugar more slowly. Second, don’t overcook it, which can raise GI. Special rice cookers can help. And as with potatoes, more “resistant starches” -- that are good for your gut and slow digestion -- will form as the rice cools.

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cookies
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Cookies

Don’t get caught with your hand in the cookie jar. The carbs, sugar, saturated fat, and extra ingredients you get from processed treats don’t do you any favors. For a snack that will soothe your sweet tooth and give you a protein boost to boot, try graham crackers with a dab of peanut butter.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 09/20/2017 Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on September 20, 2017

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SOURCES:

Fast Food Nutrition: “Little Caesars Deep! Deep! Dish Pepperoni Pizza Nutrition Facts,” Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Dip Nutrition Facts.”

 

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Carbohydrate Counting for People With Diabetes,” “Give Your Teen’s Favorite Foods a Do-It-Yourself Makeover.”

 

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28: “Basic Report: 09507, Fruit juice smoothie, Naked Juice, Mighty Mango,” “Basic Report: 18140, Cake, yellow, commercially prepared, with chocolate frosting, in-store bakery,” “Basic Report: 18274, Muffins, blueberry, commercially prepared (Includes mini-muffins),” “Basic Report: 19411, Snacks, potato chips, plain, salted.”

 

Obesity Society: “Walnut consumption increases satiation but has no effect on insulin resistance on the metabolic profile over a 4-day period.”

 

European Journal of Nutrition: “A mid-morning snack of almonds generates satiety and appropriate adjustment of subsequent food intake in healthy women.”

 

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “A review of the effects of nuts on appetite, food intake, metabolism and body weight.”

 

Nutrition Journal: “Popcorn is more satiating than potato chips in normal-weight adults.”

 

American Diabetes Association: “Glycemic Index and Diabetes,” “Spaghetti Squash with Light Marinara Sauce.”

 

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Household USDA Foods Fact Sheet: “Spaghetti, Enriched, Dry.”

 

The Dash Diet Eating Plan: “Spaghetti Squash.”


Daisy Brand Sour Cream: “Ingredients.”

 

Kraft: “Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese 8 Oz. Box.”

 

USDA: What’s Cooking?: “Hummus.”

 

Kellogg’s Froot Loops cereal: “Nutrition Facts.”

 

Appetite: “Dietary fibres in the regulation of appetite and food intake. Importance of viscosity,” “The satiating effects of eggs or cottage cheese are similar in healthy subjects despite differences in postprandial kinetics.”

 

Journal of the American College of Nutrition: “Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Intake Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial.”

 

Snickers: “Nutritional Information.”

 

Cleveland Clinic: “Dark, Milk or White -- Which Chocolate Is Best for Your Heart?” “Heart Healthy Benefits of Chocolate.”

 

McDonald’s: “The crisp, craveable fan favorite. World Famous Fries.”

 

University of California: Berkeley Wellness: “Don’t Drop the Potato.”

 

Ore-Ida: “Country Style French Fries.”

 

Krispy Kreme: “Product Name: Original Glazed Donut.”

 

Nemours TeensHealth: “Which bread is better: whole wheat or whole grain?” “Why is whole grain bread healthier than white bread?”

 

USDA Branded Food Products Database: “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45008824, Ben & Jerry’s, Chubby Hubby, Vanilla Malt Ice Cream With Fudge & Peanut Buttery Swirls, UPC 076820199125,” “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45114504, Ben & Jerry’s, Salted Caramel Core, UPC 076840363957,” “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45129864, Red Gold 20 oz Ketchup Upside Down Bottle, Unprepared, GTIN: 00072940115212.”

 

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Your Guide to a Healthy Heart.”

 

Calcified tissue International: “Effects of Dairy Products Consumption on Health: Benefits and Beliefs -- A Commentary from the Belgian Bone Club and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases.”

 

International Journal of Molecular Sciences: “Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity in Different Types of Berries.”

 

Advances in Nutrition: “Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables.”

 

Smoothie King: “Nutrition Information.”

 

American Heart Association: “Healthier Condiments.”

 

Harvard Health Publications: “A healthy breakfast may protect against heart disease.”

 

International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition: “Glycaemic index of some commercially available rice and rice products in Great Britain.”

 

American Diabetes Association: “Glycemic Index and Diabetes.”

 

The British Journal of Nutrition: “A systematic review of the influence of rice characteristics and processing methods on postprandial glycaemic and insulinaemic responses.”

 

Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Effect of variety and cooking method on resistant starch content of white rice and subsequent postprandial glucose response and appetite in humans.”

 

ChooseMyPlate.gov: “Added sugars and saturated fats: know your limits.”

 

DiabetesCare.net: “Healthy Snacks for People with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.”

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on September 20, 2017

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.