7 surprisingly healthy foods to indulge in, guilt-free

Seven dietician-approved foods that are either higher in nutrients or lower in calories than you might think.
© ELLE // © ELLE

To counter the womp womp-ness of all the foods you suddenly can't have, we rounded up some ones you actually don't need to cross off your list. (Hooray!) From salty snacks to sweets to fast food (yes, really), click through for seven dietician-approved foods that are either higher in nutrients or lower in calories than you might think. Go ahead and indulge, guilt-free, without feeling like you stepped completely off course. (Just, ya know, do it in moderation.)

1 of 9 Getty

For a sweet treat: Regular ice cream

Think frozen yogurt or low fat ice cream is a better alternative to the classic stuff? Think again. "Beware of frozen yogurts, because most contain the same amount of calories as ice cream. And while fat-free ice creams will be close in terms of calories, they're usually higher in sugar! Instead, when you really need a conscious indulgence, go for the real ice cream, but in a small portion, or about a half cup," says Keri Glassman MS, RD, dietitian and judge on Upwave'sCook Your Ass Off.

2 of 9 Image courtesy if ELLE

For a meaty dinner: Red meat

Red meat isn't really as rich as people assume, "especially if you're choosing a leaner, good quality meat," says Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN of Middleberg Nutrition. "The grass-fed variety contains high concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), associated with a lower body-fat percentage, plus they're a good source of iron which many women are deficient in. Just aim for four to five-ounce servings, which is about the size of your smart phone."

3 of 9 Image courtesy if ELLE

For a dairy craving: Full fat milk

"There is still the feeling that if you are trying to watch your weight, you should look for foods with less fat," says Middleberg. "Surprisingly though, skim milk doesn’t help you lose weight, so go for whole fat dairy instead. Fat in milk not only helps with appetite control, it also helps you absorb vitamin D, which, for the skeptical ladies reading this, is very important when it comes to fertility."

4 of 9 Image courtesy if ELLE

For a fast food fix: Chipotle

"Let’s talk fast food. Everyone loves Chipotle, right?" asks Middleberg. But it's actually not a bad option, if you follow this plan: "Forget the salad and go for the bowl with a half-portion of brown rice, black beans, chicken, marinated veggies, salsa fresco and a dab of guacamole."

5 of 9 Image courtesy of ELLE

For a heat-and-eat option: Frozen vegetables

It'd be easy to assume that frozen veggies aren't as good as fresh, organic produce, but that's not always right. "Sometimes frozen veggies are not only more convenient, they're also more nutritious, because they're flash frozen at peak ripeness. Just remember to look at the ingredients and check for added preservatives and chemicals. The only ingredient listed should be the food itself," cautions Glassman.

6 of 9 Image courtesy if ELLE

For an afternoon snack: Something coconut

"Once a diet no-go due to its high saturated fat content, coconut is now on everyone’s list of superfoods," says Middleberg. "It contains lauric acid that can kill bacteria and viruses and prevent infections, and it also can prevent heart disease and aid in weight loss. Fortunately, there are some really great coconut-based treats on the market now, like coconut frozen fruit bars, coconut sorbet, coconut meat, and coconut bars." All of them make great snacks.

7 of 9 Image courtesy if ELLE

For carbs: White potatoes

"Spuds get a bad rap, but a good old white potato packs vitamin C to combat free radicals, and vitamin B6 and potassium for a healthy heart. Just be sure to watch your portion and include some skin in every bite—the fiber will help to keep you full," explains Glassman.

8 of 9 Image courtesy if ELLE