Healthy diet programs have to accommodate small treats now and then. As a Certified Nutritionist and Weight Loss Specialist, I always advise my clients not to ban their favorite indulgences. Doing so most often results in binging, followed by a few more days of unhealthy eating.

Why Healthy Diet Programs Permit Occasional Treats

There are good reasons that healthy diet programs permit occasional treats. I believe that no junk food indulgence is so bad that it will do any harm in moderation. It’s just the repeated behavior of caloric snacking that will get you in trouble.

As a Certified Nutritionist, my advice is to recognize your snacking habits, learn techniques to rein them in a bit, and then make intentional decisions to enjoy your favorites now and then.

I think of cravings, whether they be for sweet treats or crunchy/salty foods, as big earthquakes that will build up and explode unless the pressure is relieved. Small, intentional appeasements of the cravings work. Enjoy the treat outside of the house and to make sure you really savor the flavors and eat slowly.

Ice cream is a good example of a caloric dessert that just seems to call your name from the freezer. Once you know it’s there, you have to fight with yourself not to answer the call. Then, typically you make a bargain with yourself that you will only have one spoonful. This strategy rarely works. Sadly, once the taste is on your tongue the carton is a goner.

Another technique that can help with cravings is to make less caloric, healthy versions of your favorite desserts.

 

Healthy Diet Programs Include Healthier Treats

Healthy diet programs will not be successful without some guilty pleasures. Lately I’ve been cooking up a variety of tasty desserts that substitute healthier ingredients for some of the sugar and fat.

Here’s one of my favorites:

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These mini pumpkin spiced muffins are made healthier and lighter with pumpkin puree and egg whites. They also have mini chocolate chips in every bite. These mini muffins taste great and only have 2 tablespoons of oil in the entire batch. Pretty amazing!

 

INGREDIENTS: (makes 28 mini muffins)

 

• 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
• 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup raw sugar
• 3/4 tsp baking soda
• 1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
• 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil (or canola)
• 2 large egg whites
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• baking spray
• 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and lightly spray liners with oil for easy removal.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl mix pumpkin puree, oil, egg whites and vanilla; beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

4. Add flour mixture to the wet mixture, then blend at low speed until combined; do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.

5. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and bake on the center rack for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. Let them cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: (for 2 mini muffins)

Calories: 160
Fat: 5g
Carbs: 27g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 2g

Click here for this recipe that fits in healthy diet programs.