This is the final week of challenges. These challenges will be lighter in volume but still high in the intensity. Today’s challenge (#3) is about turning an indulgence into something more reasonable.

Challenge #3

Your assignment is to pick an item (food or drink) that is considered a treat because you tend to go overboard when you are around it. This can be something that you consider your weakness or it can be something that you believe you should have less of. For some people, this could be cookies. For others, it could be alcohol, pizza, chips, or pork. You are to take that item that you love (or overindulge in) and make it healthier.

Instructions: Name your indulgence. Then explain how you will make it healthier. If you don’t know how, do the research and share it with us. If you found a low-cal version of a meal, put the link in the comments. If it’s a product you discovered, you can tell us about it or put the link. If it’s something you made up, explain it to us in detail. Note: You cannot use an idea you found on this site. It has to be something that I haven’t told you.

Here’s an example of how you might comment: “I love candy bars. Even though I am sensible all day, I cannot resist a Snickers. But I did some research and I found a recipe for ___ that includes peanuts, cocoa, and almond butter. It tastes just like a Snickers but it’s healthier, creamier, etc. etc.”

Remember, this isn’t just about junk food. It could be a “healthy” item that you make unhealthy because you eat/drink to much of it. If that applies to you, respond with a way to fix that.

This assignment is due Friday.

What food or drink do you love? How will you make it healthier?


Shannon · 12/23/2011 at 9:50 pm

I’ve been struggling with this one because I have quite a few substitutes in everyday eating, so I can really eat the good stuff when I want it. If Chobani pineapple yogurt came by the gallon, I’d eat that instead of ice cream, and I love me some ice cream. I’ve discovered that the Safeway brand of reduced fat peanut butter satisfies my taste much more than any other…and I love peanut butter. Instead of chips, I’ve disovered Pop Chips and Snack Factory flat pretzels.
I have 2 recipes for healthy alternatives to peach cobbler and macaroni and cheese. The mac and cheese is actually good and it uses skim milk and low fat cheese. Will keep my eye out for others.

Sab · 12/21/2011 at 6:29 pm

@Victoria – I eat Smucker’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter. I think/hope that’s a healthier alternative!

Stacy · 12/21/2011 at 5:31 pm

Snickers are my downfall. I have only been able to reduce the amount i eat (which would be two a day) yuk. Well I have gotten better i either eat two of the mini snickers or the Snickers Chocolate Nut Burst Marathon Protein Bar which satisfy that craving plus I get protein (if i eat the marathon protein bar). This is the last obstacle I’m trying to overcome. I know dark chocolate is suppose to be good but its bitter. Any suggestions?

Quynn · 12/21/2011 at 4:10 pm

@ Danielle awesome thanks

Danielle · 12/21/2011 at 11:13 am

@Quynn From what I read cupcakes have about 250 calories on average. This recipe gets em down to 141! Hope it helps 🙂

Nancy · 12/21/2011 at 11:10 am

crunchy potato chippy/bacon flavory = kale chips with textured vegetable protein, hot pepper flakes and a little sea salt sprinkled on top of olive oil sprayed, kale, baked until crispy at 350 degrees.
sweet pudding dessert = homemade applesauce (lots of different types of apples cored but not peeled and cut up into eighths, cooked in a saucepan on top of stove with a little water until mushy, then put thru foodmill) with a scoop of yogurt (greek is esp. nice) and sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings.

Slomo · 12/21/2011 at 11:03 am

Coconut oil is also great for making popcorn on the stove. It doesn’t lose its nutritional value like olive oil does when heated.

Angel · 12/21/2011 at 10:41 am

@Chelsey, Hmmm, gummy bears…I’ll put my goons on it. That’s a hard one. Ideas anyone?

Angel · 12/21/2011 at 10:39 am

@Jennifer. You beasted this assignment. That means you did well!

Jennifer · 12/20/2011 at 5:12 pm

I love a good chicken parmigiana with spaghetti and a delicious bread with dipping oil…major carb overload! I saw this recipe on Pinterest and am going to give it a try!

Skinny Chicken Parmesan (adapted slightly from Skinny Taste) and placed on

4 (8 oz) chicken breast halves, sliced in half
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasonings in a shallow bowl. Melt the butter in another bowl. Lightly brush the butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture. Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Lightly spray chicken with a little more cooking spray (this makes it crispy) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon sauce over chicken and top with shredded cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and chicken is done. Serve over whole wheat spaghetti or with a salad.

Makes 8 servings. 225 calories per serving (4 ounce breast)

Angel · 12/20/2011 at 4:17 pm

@Sara. Great details and great tricks. You are the best!

chelsey · 12/20/2011 at 3:57 pm

I just caught up on your blog – got lost finding the new site. I’m going to take this as a no-fat by New Year’s challenge.

As for guilty foods – any one have a suggestion for gummy bears?

I love to make popcorn on the stove with a bit of chili oil mixed with olive oil to cook and then sea salt on top.

Quynn · 12/20/2011 at 3:53 pm

uhhh hmm. My favs are cupcakes and Chipotle burrito bowls. I coule do brown rice and not sour cream for the burrito bowl, but the cupcake… idk i love the sugar lol

Sara K · 12/20/2011 at 2:51 pm

My two faves – a tasty adult beverage and popcorn. The way I make the adult beverage healthier is by having flavored vodka – ie: Pomegranate or Blackberry, soda water and a twist of lime. I try to limit my intake to 2 at a time and drink water as I’m enjoying the adult beverage.

For popcorn – I either make air-popped or I make it on the stove using less than 1 tbsp olive oil and unpopped kernals. I try to use a seaonsoning that doesn’t contain salt or maybe a sprinkle of parmasean cheese.

FVR · 12/20/2011 at 1:46 pm

Ohhh, Deanne I love your pizza suggestion! But this is an easy one for me … The healthiest way to get your alcohol is with a freshly made bloody mary, complete with “groceries” (aka celery, okra or green beans) as garnish for an extra vegetable serving. If you make the veggie juice yourself, you can also cut down on the salt that comes in V8. YUM!!!!

Slomo · 12/20/2011 at 10:21 am

My problem these days is not what I eat, but how much I eat. For example, I almost always am still hungry after I eat whatever I first serve myself, especially at night when I have more time after I eat. For this challenge I will make sure that after dinner I will drink a cup of hot tea after my first serving, before allowing myself to serve more food. Hopefully this will allow me the time I need to feel full, and therefore not need to serve myself seconds or look for an after-dinner snack.

Slomo · 12/20/2011 at 10:19 am

I love ice cream. Almost as much as I love my mom (and I really love my mom). I don’t ever keep it in my house because the little food-related self-control I had before it arrives in my freezer it immediately squandered by its creamy, sweet deliciousness. I fight the cravings with chocolate banana smoothies. I realize this idea comes from your site and therefore doesn’t by itself qualify for the challenge BUT what I do to make it taste like ice cream is I add 1/4 or 1/5 of avocado. It totally transforms any regular fruit smoothie into creamy, Edy’s-like bliss. My favorite whey protein for smoothies is Mark Sission’s Primal Fuel ( If you are like me and can’t afford it though, this one is also good and still comes from grass-fed cows and such (

Angel · 12/20/2011 at 9:30 am

@Victoria. Get on that peanut butter investigation. I don’t even keep it in the house because I can’t resist!

Deanne · 12/20/2011 at 8:57 am

Great challenge! There are so many guilty pleasures. One of my loves (like so many others) is Pizza. My healthy version of pizza consists of the following: 1 whole wheat english muffin cut and split in 2; spread tomato paste on each 1/2 of the english muffin (approx. 2 tbsp); take 1 part-skim mozzarella string cheese or 1/4 cup of shredded part skim mozzarella, and spread evenly on top of each muffin; sprinkle with oregano or italian seasoning and pop it in the toaster oven on 350 and bake until cheese is just browning . Total calories approx. 200 and makes for a perfect little snack and/or small meal. Also great snack idea for kids. This helps feed my craving without all the extra oil and fat from ordering pizza. You could throw some veggies on top to make it a little more healthier, but there isn’t a lot of room on the enlish muffins. I have also taken flax flatbread and done the same thing in the oven…it makes for a thin and crispy version of this and there is more room to add some greens.

Victoria · 12/20/2011 at 7:37 am

My weakness is peanut butter. Not the heathly kind. I like the old school, sugary version. I eat it everyday, sometimes mutliple times a day. And I usually eat way more than the 2 tablespoon serving size. My goal is to find a tasty, yet healthy alternative. My plan is to do some research and then taste a few options.

seejanesweat · 12/20/2011 at 6:41 am

Mines is a healthy snack gone bad. I love almonds, especially Blue Diamond’s Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds, however it has 115 mg of sodium per serving. What I’ve decided to do is to mix Blue Diamond’s Whole Natural Almonds which have no sodium with the Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds. The mix 30/70 with the wasabi & soy sauce being the 30%. This cut my sodium per serving drastically.

Dena · 12/20/2011 at 6:09 am

Pizza is a deal breaker. So, i buy this flat bread from Trader Joe’s sprinkle it with olive oil and put it in oven on broil for 1 minute. Then i use a small amt of tomato sauce or salsa, a small amt of lowfat cheese, fresh basil, spinach and tri-colored peppers. Meat is optional, but you can use turkey pepporoni, i like to use Trader Joe’s chicken basil sausage. By using flat bread you reduce calories and fat! Same goes for salsa and the ingredients are healthier too. Don’t go overboard on the amount of ingredients! Pretty healthy potion for pizza. Also, soda, i use seltzer water when i feel like i want a sugary soda. It’s a great substitute for me…no sugar, way less calories, mo caffiene, but you still get the bubbles;-) so, who wants to come over for lunch/dinner?

Aisha · 12/19/2011 at 7:18 pm

Hot chocolate. Today I tried microwaving some dark chocolate almond milk. It was pretty good.

badiyahj · 12/19/2011 at 3:39 pm

so is a strawberry diaquiri healthy?? With this being a big holiday week, I’d like to make a healthy alcoholic drink. Spinach martini?

Danielle · 12/19/2011 at 3:06 pm

Potato chips, preferably Flamin Hot Cheetos, are my go to way too often. My WAY healthier option is spicy kale chips! I’ve used a couple different recipes and added my own spin but they are amazing, cheap to make and SO simple.

About one bunch of kale, rinsed and patted dry
Olive oil (I prefer to use one of those Misto olive oil sprayers so I dont go overboard)
Salt, to taste
about 1 tablespoon of chili flakes (or to taste)
sprinkling of paprika or cayenne pepper (optional)

Lay the kale out on a baking sheet & “mist” with OO.
Season with cayenne, chilli flakes, salt and pepper and BAKE at 350 for about 15 minutes (flippin over halfway through) but watch them because they will burn.

Now look down, give your tummy a pep talk because it’s about to go to Amazing Town and BAM!! Spicy crunchy “chips”. Satisfaction level accomplished!

Angel · 12/19/2011 at 2:12 pm

@Tommy. These are good observations and good points. I know you can’t neutralize alcohol but there are things you can do with alcohol and strategies that will allow you to enjoy booze but not go overboard. Your assignment is to explain in detail how that can be done. If you don’t know, try to find out. Sidenote: You will probably make me mad again. And I will put the ring on.

Angel · 12/19/2011 at 1:59 pm

@Stephen. Me too. I’m working on healthier cupcake…..

Angel · 12/19/2011 at 1:59 pm

@Hollywood. I challenge you to make your pizza even healthier. What are some other small changes could you make?

Tommy Avent · 12/19/2011 at 1:59 pm

Alcohol is my achilles heel. As far as I have been able to tell, there is no way to neutralize alcohol. Last spring, with your help, I lost 25 lbs preparing for my 1st triathlon. What I learned about alcohol(and all foods for that matter) is enjoy in moderation and be aware of the calories contained in the item. In my experience, calorie awareness is the best and most effective way to lose weight and keep it off. Know what you are putting in your body.

BTW….remind me not to make you mad enough to hit me in the forehead when you have the ring on your hand in the above picture.

Stephen · 12/19/2011 at 1:34 pm

Wow! That’s a tough one. I love ALL kinds of sweets so, I guess I will just pick one. But, I really like this. It opens the mind and helps us realize that WE can find ways to be healthier in a sustainable way. Great challenge. I have some ideas already. 🙂

Hollywood · 12/19/2011 at 1:22 pm

PIZZA is my boyfriend. I love him. I try to limit my consumption to once a week but that doesn’t always work.

My recipe to make it healthier is to use a wheat tortilla, lightly dust with olive oil, spread some preggo sauce, top with shredded cheese, add toppings, and bake. I usually top with spinach, cucumbers, or pineapples. It takes all of 10 minutes to bake, making the crust crispy and the toppings warm and luscious.

BTW my legs friggin burn from the reverse deep lunges and squat thrusts. Thanks Angel, so awesome! You have no idea.

Layne @ Sparkles and Sweat · 12/19/2011 at 11:51 am

Now THIS is a great challenge idea! I can’t wait to see the tips people come up with!

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