What Everything in Moderation Looks Like with Your Favorite Unhealthy Foods

Here’s how you can get away with not depriving yourself

What Everything in Moderation Looks Like with Your Favorite Unhealthy Foods

Moderation is easier said than done and if you overthink it, you will definitely fail. At the end of the day, you know how your body reacts to certain foods and eating too much junk will not make you feel good, but depriving yourself could mentally exhaust you.

Focus on What You Can Eat



Deprivation is never the answer, especially when it comes to your favorite foods. You will feel less guilty about indulging if you follow a healthy diet regularly and focus on all of the good foods you can eat. When you realize how many different types of healthy foods you can enjoy, you will feel less deprived.

Learn How to Eat Less

Portion sizes have increased dramatically and we are accustomed to cleaning our plate and eating the entire portion, even if it is a lot larger than we need. According to the dietary guidelines, we are recommended to cut back on fast foods and refined grains because there are a lot of calories in small portions of these foods. When you decide to indulge, cut your portion in half and save the other half for another time or share with a friend.

Look at Where the Calories Are Coming From

Most of the calories come from high-fat, sugar laden foods. According to a chart created by WebMD, the top sources of calories include grain-based desserts, yeast breads, fried chicken, sweetened beverages, pizza, and alcohol. Knowing that these foods are higher in calories than other foods can help you practice portion control and reduce the serving size of these foods and drinks when you do decide to enjoy them.

Problem: Bagels



Reaching for a whole-wheat bagel makes sense but a large bagel can be over 300 calories, and that’s without the toppings.

Healthy Alternative to Bagels

Aiming for half a bagel will be helpful, but make sure that half is only the size of a hockey puck. A better choice would be a slice of whole wheat toast with an egg white omelette.

Problem: Chips


Photo Modified: Flickr / Mike Haller / CC BY 4.0

Whether you are watching TV or behind your desk at work, it’s easy to swallow an entire bag of chips in one sitting.

Healthy Alternative to Chips

whole grain chips


Portion out your chips in advance by putting single servings into small sandwich bags. If possible, choose baked, multigrain, and vegetable chips.

Problem: Ice Cream

ice cream


One cup of ice cream may seem like a portion-controlled dessert but that will load you with over 290 calories and 75 percent of your recommended fat for the entire day.

Healthy Alternative to Ice Cream

banana ice cream


If you crave a frozen treat after dinner, try blending frozen bananas with peanut butter or even plain! It will give you the same texture as ice cream with half of the calories.

Problem: Meat



Meat is a hearty source of protein but eating meat everyday can add up in the fat category.

Healthy Alternative to Meat

You can enjoy red meat every once in a while but your protein should come from lean sources, such as fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, and beans. Eating protein at every meal will help you build muscle and lose weight.

Problem: Oil



We love roasting our Brussels sprouts with olive oil or sautéing vegetables in coconut oil, but oil can be easy to overdo if you do not measure it correctly.

Healthy Alternative to Oil

healthy salad dressing


When it comes to your salads, use a light vinaigrette instead of a creamy salad dressing. When you are cooking in a pan, you can spray coconut oil instead of pouring in endless amounts of oil.

Problem: Pasta

The serving sizes at restaurants are more than three times the size of what you should be eating. Not to mention, the sauce tacks on additional calories.

Healthy Alternative to Pasta

A serving of pasta should be around the size of ½ a baseball, or half of a cup. If you choose pasta when you eat out, avoid the creamy sauce and opt for tomato-based sauce instead. If you have the option, try whole-wheat or quinoa pasta. This way, your meal will provide you with fiber and a healthy portion of grains.

Problem: Pastries

Doughnuts and croissants are delicious, but essentially have no nutritional value and spike your blood sugar within 30 minutes of consuming. Try having a couple doughnut holes instead of a full doughnut, or split your portion in half.

Healthy Alternative to Pastries

If you are guilty of a sweet tooth in the morning, put your cooking skills to good use and make whole-grain blueberry or even chocolate chip muffins. These will satisfy your craving and give you a dose of fiber.

Problem: Peanut Butter

peanut butter


Whether you love peanut butter in between your Reese’s peanut butter cup or with your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, this nut butter provides a healthy dose of good fats and protein. However, too much can add up quickly.

Healthy Alternative to Peanut Butter

almond butter

Photo Modified: Flickr / jules / CC BY 4.0

Aim for two tablespoons of peanut butter, which clocks in at around 200 calories. You can also try other nut butters, such as almond, cashew, or pistachio butter.

Problem: Pizza



Pizza is a quick, and typically cheap, meal option. However, it is loaded with calories, refined grains, and fat. Enjoying one slice every once in a while is approved and a necessary indulgence if you like pizza.

Healthy Alternative to Pizza

healthy pizza


If you can’t get enough of the real thing, try making your own pizza or opting for a healthier alternative. You can choose a thin, whole-grain crust, add vegetables, and use just a sprinkle of cheese.

Problem: Potatoes


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Potatoes are considered a vegetable, but when they are fried and smothered in cheese, you are consuming a lot more calories and fat that you would hope.

Healthy Alternative to Potatoes

sweet potatoes


If you are willing to branch out, sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A, which promote eye and skin health. Sticking to white potatoes is fine, too. Just be sure to avoid the excess toppings at restaurants and aim to eat a potato that is the size of a computer mouse.

Problem: Waffles and Pancakes



There is nothing like a big plate of stacked pancakes or Belgian waffles sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Healthy Alternative to Waffles and Pancakes

healthy pancakes


You can still enjoy your pancakes or waffles, but instead of having three or four pancakes, have one pancakes (the size of a CD) and an egg. This way, the egg will give you protein, which can prevent you from overeating later. If you have the option, try to make or order whole grain or whole wheat pancakes or waffles and use fruit as a topping.