Healthiest Unhealthy Foods: What to Eat When You Splurge | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Healthiest Unhealthy Foods: If You're Going To Splurge, This Is What To Eat

January 20, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

It may come as a surprise, but as a dietitian I encourage my clients not to label food items as good or bad. Obviously, some foods have a higher nutritional value than others and make you feel better overall. But it's important to indulge in foods you love every once in awhile. Eating healthy on a regular basis helps you achieve or maintain proper weight, provide energy and nourish your body. Fun foods help you balance the scale and satisfy your cravings. When you feel like splurging, remember the following list of the healthiest "unhealthy" foods.

Dark Chocolate


Rather than eating candy bars and sugar-laden trail mix, keep individually wrapped pieces of dark chocolate with you for portion control when a sweet craving hits. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants that may help with cardiovascular health. (See Can Dark Chocolate Benefit Your Workout?)

Eggs


Eggs get a bad rap because of their high cholesterol content. But although the yolk does contain cholesterol, eating a couple of eggs during the week will not be harmful. Check with your dietitian on the correct amount for you; but rather than eating just the whites, also eating the yolk provides vitamin and nutrients and may keep you feeling full longer.

Oatmeal Cookies


If cookies are one of your guilty pleasures, I recommend making your own oatmeal cookies. Homemade versions have more fiber, which makes them more satisfying. Mix a few nuts into the batter to get protein and healthy fats. (We hear Brian Urlacher's a fan.)

Peanut Butter


The fat count in peanut butter is high, but they are healthy fats, the ones that help lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Of course you still want to control portions, but PB is a great food to include in your rotation. Try natural peanut butter (i.e., without sugar added). When shopping, look at the ingredients: the list should include only peanuts and salt.

Thin-Crust Pizza


Next time you order pizza, opt for a thin-crust pie to cut back on simple carbohydrates. Also, ask for less cheese and load up on veggie toppings. Making your own pizza at home is another easy, fun way to control portion size.

Red Meat


Not everything in red meat is bad for you. It's actually full of B vitamins and iron, essential nutrients that provide energy and reduce the risk of anemia. Choose lean cuts whenever possible and limit your weekly intake to one or two helpings. (See Maintain Consistent Nutrition Habits.)

Ice Cream


If you're in the mood for a frozen treat, enjoy a 1/2-cup serving of natural ice cream. It's actually a great source of protein and calcium. Although fat-free yogurt and fruit bars are lower in calories, they usually contain more sugar. Choose an ice cream like Breyers, which has just five ingredients (the fewer the better), and savor a small portion.

(See also Eat What You Love: 3 Simple Guidelines for Healthy Trade-Offs.)

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Must See
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 5,007,069
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 3,213,612
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 8,045,527

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,672
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,618
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,880
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,427
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,006,048
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,635
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,529
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,176,187

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

The Case for Red Meat

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

The Boston Cannons'

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts