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How to Survive your Diet

There’s no getting around it: dieting down is not fun. Dealing with hunger is bad enough, but it’s worse when you have to give up some of your favorite foods for a time. Chin up, though, because there are a few staples you can keep around that will make the journey far easier.

Whether your macros du jour are low carb, low fat, or something in between, these are my top five picks to keep your sweet tooth ballin’ on a caloric budget.

#5 PB2

In short, this is dehydrated peanut butter. 20130316_000551

You keep the delicious taste, you ditch most of the fat and carbs. A 2 tbsp serving of normal peanut butter weighs in at 210 calories, where as 2 tbsp of PB2 is a mere 45. Add some water and you’re in business. This is great because it can be added to all sorts of other recipes (including smoothies). There is also a chocolate version that has the same calorie count and a very similar nutrient profile.

#4 Arctic Zero Ice Cream

If you want to eat a pint of ice cream without paying the price, this is your free pass. 20130316_000034

I have satisfied my ice cream craving many a night with this stuff. 150 calories, 16g net carbs, and 13.6g protein… per pint. No, it is not as good as full fat and sugar ice cream, but it is a close second and it will keep you from going to town on a bucket of Blue Bell. There are many flavors, but the Vanilla Maple is the closest to real ice cream in my opinion. If you like it, you should really try their ice cream bars. At 85 cal/bar, they are fantastic treats.

#3 Isopure Dutch Chocolate

As far as protein powders go, this is my favorite for the value/taste/nutrient profile. 20130316_000245

When mixed in water, this tastes like chocolate milk, I kid you not. 50g of protein per serving, 1g fat, and 3g carbs — what’s not to love? Often, I’ll add some of the aforementioned PB2 in and make a PB/Chocolate shake, but it’s also very tasty alone. Beware, not all Isopure powders are equal. I tried the mint chocolate version… do not do this. That road is filled with suffering and regret. I read reviews from others who said it tasted terribly and I didn’t listen, thinking that they didn’t like mint chocolate as much as I do. Do yourself a favor: buy some mint extract and throw a few drops in with your Dutch chocolate rather than suffer that abomination. Like PB2, the Dutch Chocolate goes great with many other recipes.

#2 Walden Farms Pancake Syrup

This is pancake syrup that tastes pretty darned close to real pancake syrup, but inexplicably has no calories. 20130316_001121

Granted, on a low carb day you will not likely be eating a ton of pancakes, but it does have its applications. The mighty Ogus Cake relies heavily on the stuff. (Ogus is not always family-friendly — be warned). You can pour some on your Arctic Zero ice cream, or even just have a spoonful when you need that sweet fix. I have been known to consume an entire bottle in one day… it is that good. Like Isopure, not all Walden products are the same. This is actually the only one that I have been able to consume on its own, but it is delicious. Some Walden products I’ve tried, like their peanut butter spread, are barely not palatable.

#1 Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar

I have saved the best for last, and I promise, this is the best! 20130316_000956

I’ve been a fan of Quest bars in the past, particularly the Coconut Cashew, Chocolate Brownie, and Peanut Butter supreme, but this is a totally different animal. It tastes almost exactly like chocolate chip cookie dough, but has the nutrient profile of a few ounces of chicken breast with a healthy dose of fiber.

I do not know how they achieved this, and I do not care. I suspect some sort of sorcery and goat sacrifice were involved. These taste better than most actual candy bars, and they totally destroy the nutrient profile of other cookie dough “nutrition bars” out there. Do yourself a favor and grab some. (Right now you will have a hard time finding quest bars anywhere but a GNC as far as brick & mortar, and otherwise you can get them at various sites online.) Don’t blame me when you develop an addiction, because you will. If Quest ever figures out how to make a mint chocolate bar, I’m convinced they will rule the world.

There you have it, friends. Go forth and eat!

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