It’s almost time to renew those New Year’s “eat right” resolutions. Luckily, there are smart ways to indulge. Whether you have a sweet tooth or seek the gratifying crunch of something salty, stores are increasingly filled with healthier versions of forbidden junk foods, including less sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats or food coloring. Here are a few ways to sneak in a guilt-free cheat.
A low-carb crust
“Cheese pizza” and “heart health” are not generally in the same sentence -- but the cauliflower crust on the Caulipower line of frozen pizzas says it provides rich nutrients to the body that help fight off heart disease, arthritis and Type 2 diabetes. Not having a wheat base drastically cuts down on calories as well. Five slices - or about half - of the three-cheese version contain 380 calories, compared with about 285 calories in one slice of regular pizza. In addition to the Margherita and veggie varieties, the company makes a frozen cauliflower crust that can be dressed up any which way. $7.99 at Whole Foods, Vons, Wal-Mart, Ralph’s. caulipower.net
Ingredients in regular marshmallows can include corn syrup, dextrose and a chemical called tetrasodium pyrophosphate -- which is sometimes found in household detergents. Smashmallow has re-invented the marshmallow by eliminating additives and simplifying ingredients; the just-launched festively flavored candy cane is a non-GMO treat that has tapioca and rice syrup, fruit and vegetable coloring and peppermint flavor. Other flavors include Meyer lemon poppy seed and mint chocolate chip. 80 to 90 calories for four pieces, perfect for dropping in your cocoa. $4 a packet at smashmallow.com
These grab-and-go crackers are for when you are craving a salty, crunchy snack without trans fats or additives. Blue Diamond Nut Thins now come in 2-ounce bags of 240 to 250 calories and can be found at convenience stores. The gluten-free product is made from almonds and rice and in flavors including sea salt, cheddar cheese and Sriracha. $1.99 at select 7-Eleven stores. bluediamond.com
Guilt-free muffin tops
The ingredients in Mikey’s Chocolate Chip Muffin Tops are so clean that there is virtually no guilt associated with them: eggs, almond and coconut flour, honey, chocolate chips and cocoa butter. The non-GMO 190-calorie-a-slice muffin tops are suitable for those on Paleo and grain- or gluten-free diets, and also come in flavors like toasted onion and lemon blueberry. $5.99 at Sprouts, Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Wal-Mart. mikeysmuffins.com