13 ‘Forbidden’ Foods You Should Guiltlessly Eat Right Now

5 minute read

By Emily Reid

While a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet are important, you don’t have to limit your food choices and survive on only kale. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about food favorites you can eat guiltlessly with a search online.

You may have been avoiding some of these during your last diet, but fear not — you can enjoy these yummy foods in moderation. Here are 13 “forbidden” foods you can enjoy guilt-free right now and still feel good about your choices.


Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to give up your favorite macchiato, Frappuccino, or other specialty Starbucks beverages to save calories. There are many modifications you can use to customize your drink, cut calories, and still enjoy Starbucks guilt-free. They have lots of hot and cold drinks for under 200 calories, and if you swap 2% milk for skim, you can cut down on fat, calories, and cholesterol without losing flavor.


The first word that comes to mind when somebody says avocado is FAT. Although we know these fruits to be a high-fat item, and everyone seems to run from fat, these are actually a source of healthy fat. The healthy fat and high fiber content of avocados leave you feeling full for longer, so enjoy a creamy avocado and don’t worry about word association.


Many people who aren’t vegetarians will opt out of red meats like beef because they’re believed to be bad for you. Beef actually has many essential nutrients, including iron and zinc, which are hard to come by in other foods. Lean beef has a lower fat content and organic beef is free of hormones and antibiotics, so if you buy carefully, you can enjoy a juicy steak without the guilt.


This classic sweet treat takes a common form in candy bars, full of sugar and fat, but there’s more to the story. Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, is widely known for antioxidants and other heart-healthy benefits. Studies have shown improvement in blood pressure and lower risk of heart disease.  Snacking on a daily Kit-Kat won’t help you stay fit, but indulging in a few squares of 70% chocolate a few times a week is a healthy treat you can enjoy guilt-free.


We’ve all heard that coffee is bad for you, but let’s bust that myth and get back to our beloved cup of Joe. Moderate amounts of caffeine can help keep you feeling alert and awake, relieve headache tension, and even up your athletic performance. Coffee can even provide your body with antioxidants that make you feel happier and less stressed. Of course, too much caffeine can leave you shaky, but there’s no reason to shy away from your morning cup of coffee or an afternoon pick-me-up.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

This classic children’s meal has never been deemed a healthy option for adults, but if you break it down, it could be the perfect choice for someone of any age. Peanut butter packs protein and filling fats, and spreading it onto bread means you won’t overdo it (too much!). Choosing whole wheat bread (more on that below!) will give you some cholesterol-safe carbs and a spoonful of jelly is all the sweetness you need to help resist dessert. A PB&J is a quick and easy option that is portable for lunches or snacks on the go, plus it will take you back to your childhood with every bite.

Cream Cheese

This classic breakfast spread has a bad reputation for being full of fat and calories but is actually a better option than butter. With low-fat versions available and flavors for every craving, cream cheese is actually a viable choice in a healthy diet. Butter has almost double the amount of calories than cream cheese so next time you get a breakfast bagel don’t feel bad about choosing a yummy spread instead of basic butter.


Patio season is approaching and although a cold brew is seen as an indulgence to many dieters, beer actually has a few hidden benefits that might surprise you. Studies have proven that beer can help lower the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and even boost your immune system.  Soak up all the benefits of beer from your seat on the patio this summer.

Ice Cream

This is another classic kids’ treat that many adults shy away from for fear of ruining their diet. Ice cream can have a lot of fat and calories if you reach for specialty brands like Haagen Dazs, but a simple vanilla scoop isn’t so bad. A half-cup of ice cream can offer enough calcium and fat to keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer, and it feels much more like a real dessert than light frozen yogurt. Don’t feel guilty about going for the real thing, one scoop in a cup or cone is a nice treat that you can enjoy at any age.


For a quick and easy on-the-go snack nuts are a fallback choice. They get a bad rap for being salted, seasoned, and high in both fat and calories, but in moderation, they can be a great choice. In a rush or on a busy day it should be a no-brainer that a handful of almonds, salted or not, is a better choice than a candy bar or French fries.


Popcorn and chips may share the same aisle in the grocery store but that doesn’t mean they share the same nutrition. Chips can be greasy and full of fat, but popcorn is actually full of healthy whole grains and fiber. Popcorn is a great answer to those evening munchies, and a smart lunch bag treat. Instead of salty chips, sprinkle some seasoning on popcorn and munch away for a guiltless snack that tastes great.


With the popularity of wheat-free diets, it can be hard to see bread for what it truly is. Bread is made from grain, and in many cases, a whole grain. Loading butter onto white bread isn’t going to help your beach body but whole-grain, high-fiber, or whole-wheat bread can help you get there. Getting your daily servings of grain from heart-healthy bread is a much more reasonable choice than cutting out the carbs completely.


Cake is usually a big no-no for anyone looking to get fit, but if you do a little digging around the web you can find recipes that won’t ruin your diet. No matter what your flavor preference, there are all kinds of cakes that can fit into a healthy lifestyle. Angel food cake is a super light choice and can be dressed up with various berries or sauces. There’s no reason not to indulge in a slice of something yummy when you can keep it under 250 calories with cakes like these.

Emily Reid