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Eat Your Can’t-Live-Without Foods Without Gaining An Ounce

I love French fries. I really don’t think I could live without them, but I also don’t think it’s necessary. I’m not referring to fast food grease bombs. I’m talking hand cut pomme frites made from whole, skin-on potatoes, preferably cooking in extra virgin olive oil and rosemary and dusted with sea salt. Yum! I definitely get the, “But you’re a nutritionist!” comments when seen ordering or eating my can’t-live-without dish, but I tell my clients that even if you’re trying to lose weight, you can find ways to fit in some splurge foods.

I don’t eat fries every day or even every week, but when I do, I eat them with strategy. Fries are carb and fat heavy, so I always eat them with lean protein and veggies. One of the reasons people get into trouble with foods like fries or chips is because they eat them with more carbs and fat, like a burger on a bun.

To enjoy your splurge without going creating calorie overkill, make room for it. For most of my clients, must-haves are carby and fatty: chocolate, baked goods, ice cream and fries or chips. Avoid more of the same and you can create pretty balanced combos that don’t rack up hundreds of excess calories.

Here are a few examples, all under the 500 calorie mark:

3 oz grilled chicken breast – 120 calories
2 cups broccoli sautéed in 1 tsp garlic infused olive oil – 80 calories
1 4” chocolate brownie – 250 calories
Total: 450

3 oz grilled shrimp – 70 calories
On a bed of 2 cups of spinach tossed with 2 Tbsp light vinaigrette – 55 calories
One half cup premium chocolate chip ice cream – 300
Total: 425

1 piece lemon pepper baked extra firm tofu – 90 calories
10 asparagus spears sautéed in 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil – 80 calories  
1 serving pomme frites – 300
Total: 470 

When it comes to nutrition, it doesn’t have to be “all” or “nothing.” Instead of taking a total healthy eating detour and going on a full-on eating spree, create a little balance when a craving strikes. Does this approach make sense to you? Please share your thoughts!   

P.S. If you’re going to “budget in” a splurge food, go for a high quality “real food” ingredient version. A fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookie from a bakery will be a lot more satisfying than a processed, packaged version  - and you can buy just one so the leftovers won’t be calling your name! 

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