- Have I met my other nutritional goals for the day so I can afford an indulgence?
- Am I eating this within 2 hours of dinner to help blunt a potential blood-sugar spike?
- Can I point to at least one beneficial ingredient, such as fruit, antioxidants, or dairy?
- Is this dessert smaller than a snack—about 200 calories or less?
Sensible choices during the day leave you plenty of caloric space for dessert—and the anticipation of a reward will help keep you motivated. Just make sure your avoid these 15 Worst Desserts in America.
Newman-O's Mint Creme Filled Chocolate Cookies (2)
Total: 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 10 grams of sugar.
Newman-O's takes the gold trophy for cookie credibility with a recipe that features simple, mostly organic ingredients. Think Oreo or Famous Amos can make a claim like that? Not a chance. Add a small glass of milk for dunking and you earn a glucose-stabilizing shot of complete protein.
Best Chocolate Bar
Green & Blacks Organic Dark 70% Bar (1/3 of a 3.5 oz bar)
Total: 182 calories, 14 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar.
Time to swear off milk chocolate. The dark stuff contains far more epicatechin, an antioxidant that may relax blood vessels. With 70 percent cocoa, this organic bar is perfect—dark enough to provide cocoa's benefits, but sweet enough to be indulgent.
Best Fruit Bar
Kashi TLC Soft-Baked Ripe Strawberry (1 bar, 35 g)
Total: 130 calories, 3 grams of fat, 9 grams of sugar.
You wouldn't guess it, but the soft-baked shell is made with whole grains and the bar contains 3 grams of hunger-fighting fiber.
—For more ways to drop pounds in the real world, pick up a copy of the Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet, by MH editor-in-chief David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, available in stores and at eatthisnotthatdiet.com.