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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Fakin' It

In yesterday's blog I mentioned having a no-diet philosophy. And it's true - I know that I just can't go through the rest of my life NEVER enjoying my favorite splurge foods (in my case these include French fries, guacamole, dark chocolate, and coconut – yum!). But for some foods, I find healthier versions perfectly acceptable. In fact, in some cases, I actually prefer the non-splurge alternative. One of my favorite examples is meatless chorizo. Compared to the original, here's how my much loved veggie chorizo stacks up:

Traditional Chorizo (per 2 oz – the size of about 2/3 of a deck of cards):
Calories - 280
Fat – 14 grams
Saturated fat – 8 grams
Cholesterol – 40 mg
Fiber – 0 grams
Protein – 14 grams

Veggie Chorizo (also per 2 oz):
Calories - 120
Fat - 9 grams
Saturated fat - 0.5 grams
Cholesterol – 0 mg
Fiber – 3 grams
Protein – 7 grams

My veggie version provides less protein, but even if I doubled the serving size from 2 oz to 4 oz to make up the protein difference, I’d still save 40 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 40 mg of cholesterol, and net 6 grams of fiber (about 25% of the Daily Value). The veg version is absolutely delicious (and believe me, I am never for eating foods that don't taste good, even if they are healthy, or healthier).

I just remove the casing, quickly warm it in a nonstick pan, and use it in all sorts of recipes. Last night I chilled it, stirred some into fresh guacamole, and stuffed celery with the mixture (I ate it before remembering to snap a photo – sorry!). It's also fantastic in taco salads with black beans, or with cooked potatoes at breakfast.

I’ve tried veggie versions of everything, from bacon to burgers and even BBQ ribs, and I’ll admit, they’re not all great. But darn, this one’s pretty, pretty, pretty good (any Curb Your Enthusiasm fans out there?). So, if you’ve never tried meatless “meats” before, don’t let anyone tell you that they all taste like Styrofoam (or cardboard). Those meat-free BBQ ribs actually got the thumbs up from both my Texan hubby and his father! The way I look at it, yummy veggie chorizo equals guilt free guacamole!
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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