Potato chips and dip

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The Ultimate: 1-ounce snack bag of potato chips and 1/4 cup onion dip (289 calories, 10g saturated fat)
The foods we find most difficult to turn down are almost always a high-calorie combo of fat and refined carbs, says Susan Roberts, PhD, a nutrition professor at Tufts University and the author of The "I" Diet. The craving is often triggered by proximity: You see it, you salivate. This is what makes potato chips, which are front and center in every vending machine, one of the most irresistible foods on the planet, Roberts says. And once dip gets involved, there's no turning back.

The Alternate: Roberts suggests 1-ounce bags of whole-wheat pita chips or the same amount of homemade chips made from whole-wheat wraps (cut into strips, spray with cooking spray, bake for 5 minutes and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt). Both provide the same salty, satisfying crunch as chips, but without the fat. Pair with 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream (222 calories, 4.9g saturated fat for either type of chips plus dip).

Even Healthier: Kale chips are a surprisingly flavorful, crispy craving-killer. Dip them in 1/4 cup low-fat lemon yogurt (158 calories, 1.5g saturated fat for chips plus dip), says Tracy Gensler, RD, a Best Life nutritionist.

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The Ultimate: A milk-chocolate bunny (half of a 3-ounce, 3-inch solid rabbit has 230 calories, 8g saturated fat)
The combination of fat and sugar in chocolate has been shown to have a mood-calming effect, which is why most of us reach for it when we're stressed. And chocolate has been linked to lower rates of stroke, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions. More recently, a sounds-too-awesome-to-be-true study published in Archives of Internal Medicine showed that those who ate about five servings of chocolate a week had lower BMI than those who ate none (researchers stressed that the key was frequency, not quantity, of chocolate consumption).

The Alternate: Three 3 Musketeers fun-size bars (190 calories, 4g saturated fat) or 1 York Peppermint Patty (140 calories, 1.5g saturated fat). A little chocolate goes a long way: Studies show that a small amount can act as a painkiller.

Even Healthier: 3 Dove dark-chocolate squares (132 calories, 4.8g saturated fat). Antioxidant-rich dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, which can improve vascular function, Gensler says.
Giant chocolate chip cookies

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The Ultimate: A cafeteria-size chocolate chip cookie with walnuts (450 calories, 12g saturated fat)
We may be biologically predisposed to seek out high-fat foods when we're feeling down: One study showed that fatty acids helped participants feel better after they were shown sad faces and asked to listen to depressing music. Roberts says we create our own flavor-specific cravings by associating treats with emotional situations. Then when you're bummed out and eat your favorite snack, Roberts says, your brain rewards you by releasing endorphins and dopamine...and that's how Mrs. Fields becomes your therapist.

The Alternate: By downscaling to two 2 1/2-inch homemade oatmeal-raisin cookies, Gensler says, you'll have enough calories left over to spoon a half-cup vanilla frozen yogurt between them (226 calories, 1g saturated fat per sandwich; 131 calories, 1g saturated fat for just the two cookies).

Even Healthier: Gensler suggests Nilla wafers (8 cookies, 140 calories, 1.5g saturated fat) or low-calorie ginger snaps (4 cookies, 117 calories, 0.7g saturated fat). You'll feel less likely to keep eating if you wash them down with 1 cup of calcium-rich skim milk (83 calories, 0g saturated fat).
Can of soda on ice

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The Ultimate: 12-ounce can of cola (140 calories, 39g sugar, 30–35mg caffeine)
You're really dragging, when suddenly you feel like you can practically hear a can pop open and the carbonated beverage fizz over the top. However, you're wary of soda: You know that the caffeine plus sugar can create a fattening addiction that will cause you to pack on pounds over time.

The Alternate: Get the sweet taste you crave, as well as a stronger jolt of energy, by pouring brewed coffee over ice cubes and adding 2 Tbsp. fat-free half-and-half and 1 packet sugar (31 calories, 4g sugar, 95–200mg caffeine).

Even Healthier: Gensler's all-natural ice tea spritzer refreshes with even fewer calories. Brew 1 cup of caffeinated tea and chill, then add 1 cup of unflavored seltzer, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 fresh mint leaves and 1/2 teaspoon honey (15 calories, 9g sugar, 14–61mg caffeine). The honey adds more calories than sugar does but also more antioxidants.
Nacho cheese tortilla chip, Doritos

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The Ultimate: 1-ounce snack bag of nacho-cheese tortilla chips (150 calories, 1.5g saturated fat)
These chips aren't just hard to resist—it's impossible to stop eating them until all that's left is the flavor dust on the bottom of a party bag.

The Alternate: Gensler suggests cheddar Goldfish (a .75-ounce 100-calorie pouch has 1g saturated fat). Surprised? These old-school Pepperidge Farm crackers are baked, not fried, which makes them less fattening than they taste.

Even Healthier: You can try to trick your craving by introducing it to a lean, low-cal doppelganger, Roberts says. Replicate the cheesy, spicy kick of the nacho-flavored tortilla chips by sprinkling 2 cups reduced-fat microwave popcorn with 2 tsp. Parmesan cheese and chili powder to taste (83 calories, 1g saturated fat). Scientists sang popcorn's praises at a recent conference, citing new research that shows the naturally high-fiber snack has impressive levels of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that prevents damage to cells and may have disease-fighting properties.
Swedish fish in a bowl

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The Ultimate: 10 Swedish fish (74 calories, 15g sugar)
We tend to think of these soft red candies as a "healthy"-ish alternative to other sweets. They're fat-free, sure, but also high in sugar (and over time, they'll really do a number on your teeth).

The Alternate: Trade the Swedish fish for gummy bunnies. About the same amount of Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks (0.8-ounce pouch, 70 calories, 10g sugar) packs a fruity punch and has an appealing chewy texture. Bonus: they provide you with 100 percent of the daily value for Vitamin C.

Even Healthier: Even those who are normally bored by dried fruit might want to check out Sunsweet's new Plum Amazins (1 ounce or about 2 tablespoons, 70 calories, 9g sugar). These bite-size plum pieces are softer and have a milder sweetness than raisins, but with 50 percent more fiber and half the sugar—and of course, more potassium and antioxidants than candy. Roberts says you can teach yourself to crave healthy foods by eating them when you're hungry for three to four weeks (her healthy-eating workshop participants swear this trick works), so stock up.

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As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.