Super-Simple Tricks That Make Your Guilty Pleasures Healthier

We get it — eating healthy all the time can be a real pain in the behind. You want to take care of yourself and live longer, but there are so many delicious and un-nutritious foods out there. Fear not, for there are ways that you can have your cake and eat it too! (Well, maybe not the whole cake.) Here are the tricks to help out your otherwise unhealthy meal.

Bake your bacon

Fried Bacon on an old vintage wooden table.

If this is a breakfast staple you just can’t live without, bake it in the oven instead of frying.  | HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

At 45 calories and 3 grams of fat, a single piece of bacon is one of the most fattening foods on the planet. Not to mention the negative impact it has on your health. But there is a solution if you simply can’t give up this tasty meat! Opt for less fatty cuts of bacon, and bake the strips instead of frying them to reduce your fat intake. You still shouldn’t eat bacon everyday, but this trick will make it less guilty!

Next: A less guilty pie in the sky?

Order thin-crust pizza

A pizza cut up into slices on a tray.

Place an order for the thin crust instead. | Bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

Love pizza night, but hate how terrible it is for your cholesterol? There is a solution to help you have the occasional slice of pie without raising your chances of obesity and risk of heart disease. Opt for a thin crust pizza instead of the fluffy processed dough. Choose more toppings over cheese — and make those toppings vegetables and lean protein like chicken. (Skip the salty, fatty Italian meats altogether.)

Next: Not all salads are created equal.

Make your own ‘Caesar’ dressing

Caesar salad with chicken in a bowl.

Nix the dressing and extra toppings in favor of protein and crunchy veggies.| iStock.com

Just a side salad with the popular Caesar dressing contains upward of 362 calories, 26 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 913 milligrams of sodium. Thankfully, there is a way to have a Caesar salad without putting your health at risk. Make your own dressing, substituting all the oil and cheese with healthier ingredients. Also consider adding more protein, like white meat chicken, to fill out your salad more.

Next: Mr. Potato Head’s guilt-free cousin.

Bake French fries at home

Container of fresh fried french fries with ketchup and white sauce on wooden table.

Make your own fries at home for less oil and salt consumption. | Miroha141/iStock/Getty Images

Oh yes, America’s favorite side order. Too bad many people end up having to cut them out of their diet. Sure, potatoes on their own are fine. But all the salt and oil involved in making fries is a one-way ticket to obesity. If you really can’t kick your French fry habit, consider making your own version at home with better ingredients. Slice your own potatoes, and bake them in the oven instead of frying them. Skip the salt and opt for a your favorite couple of spices to give your healthier fries more pizzazz.

Next: Just skip the frosting.

Nix the Oreo frosting

chocolate sandwich cookies in a box

Who ever reaches for just one cookie? | iStock.com

Even if you don’t eat a whole sleeve in one sitting, you aren’t going to get any nutritional value from eating an Oreo. Especially since that white frosting between the wafers is loaded with sugar. One easy trick, however, is to get rid of the icing altogether. Taking the frosting out of just one cookie cuts a whopping 20 calories.

Next: What? There’s a way to make your takeout healthier?

Doctor up your takeout

Chinese take out food in boxes on a wooden table.

A quick meal chock-full of sodium and fat. | Rez-art/iStock/Getty Images

Chinese food takeout is hailed for its convenience and flavor. But it is also lauded for its unhealthy amount of fat and MSG. If you have to watch your salt intake and are having trouble letting go of your favorite takeout spot, there is a way to doctor the food once you get it home to make it less unhealthy.

Diluting wonton soup with low-sodium broth, adding fresh veggies to your kung pao chicken, and ordering brown rice instead of white are just a couple ways you can make your takeout habit a little less unhealthy.

Next: Don’t be chicken when it comes to making this food healthier.

Order your drumsticks baked, not fried

Two hands holding a piece of crispy fried chicken.

There are healthier options that are just as tasty. | PhanuwatNandee/iStock/Getty Images

Sure, chicken can be a healthy meal option, with a drumstick containing 17 grams of protein. But that all depends on how the chicken is prepared. And those battered, fried drumsticks that you are so fond of pack in more fat and cholesterol than your body needs. The trick here is to have your chicken baked instead of fried, with the skin removed. (You can make up flavor by adding your favorite dipping sauce.)

Next: Your favorite barbecue meal just got a little bit healthier.

Upgrade your cheeseburger

A burger with cheese on a white table with bright lights overhead.

You can still enjoy a mouth-watering burger. | Rez-art/iStock/Getty Images

It doesn’t take much to make a burger unhealthy. Fatty beef, salty toppings, mountains of cheese … This meal can do a lot of damage to your waistline, and your heart, in just one sitting. (And that’s before you order that side of French fries.)

But instead of giving up this backyard barbecue favorite altogether, use a couple tricks to make it healthier. Go for a leaner meat or chicken patty, skip the cheese, and pile on some vegetables for toppings.

Next: This next trick will satisfy you and keep you fuller, longer.

Opt for whole-grain pasta

Italian pasta in a black pot with a wooden spoon.

Pasta itself won’t do anything to fill up your belly. | Alleko/iStock/Getty Images

Ever notice that you’re always hungry a couple hours after eating a huge plate of pasta? That’s because run-of-the-mill pastas are made of refined grains, which don’t keep you full. And if you are adding heavy cream sauce, then you are also adding fat, sodium, and cholesterol to your meal. Go for a whole grain pasta instead, which will keep you fuller for longer. Add a healthy tomato sauce or mix of chicken and veggies to complete the dish.

Next: How to avoid a sugar bomb first thing in the morning.

Choose high-fiber cereal

Breakfast cereal in a white bowl.

Pick a cereal that has fiber instead of sugar. | Pamela_d_mcadams/iStock/Getty Images

Like pasta, many cereals leave people hungry just a couple hours after eating. This is because a basic bowl of cereal lacks the protein and fiber to keep you full, and often packs more unnecessary sugar than you think. If cereal is still your go-to breakfast, opt for a high-fiber variety that will keep you satisfied until lunch.

Next: Indulge in this dish, without indulging in the fat.

Choose your curry wisely

Pork curry stew with spicy chiles and rice.

An indulgence that can be enjoyed by controlling portions. | iStock.com

Curries are tasty, but boy are some of them bad for you. For example, Livestrong.com points out that one cup of lamb curry has roughly 255 calories, almost 14 grams of fat, and 90 milligrams of cholesterol. The trick is to get a healthier, vegetable-based curry that skips the heavy cream. To make it even healthier, skip the naan bread and minimize the amount of rice you eat with it.

Next: Take the fat out of your next trip to the movies.

Add spices, not butter to popcorn

White bowl filled with buttered popcorn.

Skip the butter and try a few drops of Tabasco. | iStock.com

This one’s a no-brainer. Order a small popcorn from the movies, and you will consume roughly 225 calories and more than 10 grams of fat. And that’s just a small! Always go for non-buttered popcorn, whether you are eating out or at home. If you want to add flavor, use some of your favorite spices and skip the salt. For an extra kick, add hot sauce.

Next: Great alternatives for the late-night eater.

Choose sorbet over ice cream

Three large scoops of vanilla ice cream in a white bowl.

Dessert can come in tons of healthy forms. | AnnaPustynnikova/iStock/Getty Images

Sadly, there isn’t much you can do to your bowl of ice cream to magically make it healthier. You can, however, substitute in cold treats that are just as tasty, but contain less fat and sugar. Swap heavy cream ice cream for sorbet or chocolate-dipped fruit. HuffPost has some healthy options that will inspire you.

Next: You want candy? Have at it!

When it comes to candy, go fat free

Candy gummy worms on a white background.

Empty calories are lurking in your favorite candies. | Jenifoto/iStock/Getty Images

That’s right — you can still satisfy your sweet tooth without rotting your teeth or consuming too much sugar. It’s just a matter of buying different kinds of candy. Chocolate fan? Stick to dark chocolate, which is less fattening and also packed with antioxidants. Into gummy candy? Skip the sour worms and opt for a pack of Twizzlers, which are a fat-free food.

Next: Sodium has finally met its match.

Spices over salt

Salt spilled on a brown wooden surface.

Salt isn’t the only thing that can add flavor to your plate. | Sebalos/iStock/Getty Images

As you have figured out by now, loading up on salt is bad for your health. Sodium overload can cause bloating and raise your risk of many health ailments, including heart disease. If your doctor has instructed you to eat less salt, it’s time to look to your spice rack for better options. Spices such as cayenne pepper and turmeric boast health benefits in addition to making your food taste good. So you really can’t go wrong with this salt-replacing trick.