The Top 9 Hardest Foods to Give Up for Weight Loss (And How to Still Enjoy Them!)

Diets are usually all about giving things up: It could be whole nutrient groups, like carbs, or whole food groups, like breads. Or a diet might ask you to give up all your favorite foods—pizza, pasta, cookies or cake—for the duration of your weight loss plan.

Giving up your favorites is hard, and science suggests it might be making your diet harder to deal with on brain chemistry level: In one study, scientists hypothesized that dieting left people more susceptible to the stressors of everyday life, from work traffic to tough emotional conversations. When they studied stress in mice, not being able to help deal with those emotions with foods that provided comfort was shown to make the mice more likely to binge on comforting foods after their diets ended—making them more likely to gain weight back.1

The good news: Nutrisystem sets you up for success because you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. Nutrisystem’s expert dietitians believe that the best way to deal with a craving is to actually eat the food you’re craving—but in the right portion. That’s one big reason people reach their goals with Nutrisystem when nothing else has worked: Nutrisystem meals are perfectly portioned for weight loss and made from quality ingredients you’ll love. Our menu is filled with your favorite foods to help keep you satisfied. Want cake? You got it. Love cookies? No problem.

When we surveyed more than 2,000 people to ask them which foods would be the hardest to give up, these nine foods topped the list—and you don’t have to give up a single one of them to lose weight on Nutrisystem! Check out the options for keeping your favorites in your life while you lose, with these nine foods you can keep when you get started with a Nutrisystem meal plan.

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1. Chocolate

Nutrisystem double chocolate muffin on a plate

46% of respondents to our survey said that chocolate would be difficult to give up on a diet. On Nutrisystem, you not only get to keep eating chocolate—you can have it for breakfast! The Double Chocolate Muffin is one of the most popular menu items and is delicious warmed up. A few seconds in the microwave turns this chocolatey treat into a gooey breakfast you’ll love.

The chocolate extravaganza doesn’t stop there, though. There are snacks like the Chocolate Flavored Pretzels and Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcake. There’s more breakfast options like the Chocolate and Hazelnut Flavored Granola. Plus, we have tons of so-good-you-won’t-believe-it’s-good-for-you bars, like the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar.

2. Pizza

Nutrisystem margherita pizza

For more than 42% of our survey respondents, giving up pizza was a big “no.” Fortunately for them, Nutrisystem is famous for saying yes to pizza! And it’s not just our already-awesome regular pizza options, like the classic, 230-calorie Margherita Pizza or the meaty Italian Sausage and Turkey Pepperoni Pizza pie. There are also tons of other pizza-inspired meals on our menu, from grab-and-go lunches like the Pepperoni Pizza Melt to the finger-licking, garlicky goodness of the Garlic Cheese Flatbread.

You can find even more pizza options as Flex Meal on the Leaf! We’ve got healthy, Nutrisystem-approved recipes like Deep Dish Pizza Cups, Easy Pepperoni Pizza Pinwheels, pizzas made from eggplant slices and even Pizza Stuffed Chicken.

3. Cookies

Nutrisystem chocolate chip cookies on a napkin

We’re right there with the 42% of respondents who didn’t want to give up cookies while dieting. Crunching on a few bites of chocolate chip cookies (like these, for just 140 calories) can make any day more delightful. And we’ve got more cookie options than you can shake a glass of milk at—from shortbread bites to toffee crunch circles to chocolate chippers with the added flavor of walnuts.

We’ve even got big, chewy cookies like you’d get at your favorite sandwich shop: There’s a 140-calorie Peanut Butter Cookie option, a monster Snickerdoodle Cookie and the zesty Lemon Cooler Cookie, just to name a few.

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4. Cheese

Nutrisystem white cheddar mac and cheese in a bowl

For almost 39% of survey respondents, cheesy foods are one the hardest to give up for weight loss. Which is understandable considering all of the delicious cheesy meals there are out there. We’ve already covered a lot of cheesy pizza options, but there’s even more gooey goodness on Nutrisystem for you cheese lovers out there.

Start with the White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, which has more than 890 five-star reviews. This generous cup is ready in a matter of minutes, giving you the cheese fix you need at the office or on the go. Even rice is cheesy on Nutrisystem—the Cheddar Broccoli Rice is a favorite, with some members adding a bit of chopped fresh broccoli during preparation to help get in their daily servings of non-starchy vegetables.

For a cheesy lunch, try the Broccoli and Cheese Melt. Want to say “cheese” at dinner? Have a bowl of Chicken Pasta Parmesan. Even snack time is cheesy: More than 2,000 Nutrisystem members have raved about our ready-to-eat White Cheddar Popcorn with a five-star review.

5. Cake

Nutrisystem lemon zest cake

Alt text:  carrot cake muffin with cream filling on a plate

On Nutrisystem, we let them eat cake! And it’s not just possible to lose weight, it’s easier: That’s because Nutrisystem’s delicious cake options are perfectly portioned so you can have your cake and eat the right amount, too. This is good news for the almost 38% of survey participants that say cake is one of the hardest food to say goodbye to when on a diet.

You’ll be delighted by the flavor, helped to be filled by fiber, and satisfy your craving with options like the indulgent Red Velvet Cupcake, the gooey icing of the Lemon Zest Cake and a square of Birthday Cake that’s available even when it’s not your birthday.

You can even have cake for breakfast, and be filled up until lunch! Well, that’s pancakes: But our High Protein Pancake Mix has the bonus of protein, a nutrient that doesn’t just build and maintain muscle, but stays in your digestive system longer than carbohydrates, so you feel full for longer. At least until snack time when it’s time for…

6. Chips

Nutrisystem Smoky BBQ Crisps

Can’t stand the thought of giving up your go-to crunchy snack for binge-watching Netflix shows? Neither can almost 32% of survey participants, who say that chips are the among the foods that are difficult to give up for weight loss.

Not to worry! Nutrisystem Crisps—round chips in flavors like Smoky BBQ and Sweet Jalapeno—leave even skeptical chip-lovers ready to grab another bag. Yes, they’re made with filling, protein-rich ingredients like quinoa and flaxseed, but don’t let the multigrain part fool you. “Oh my goodness they are delicious,” one member raves about the 140-calorie bag of crunchy crisps. Another member said they’ve got a “crunchy texture with plenty of flavor.”

You can also find Flex Snack options for chips on The Leaf, Nutrisystem’s weight loss blog: Yes, there are healthy (but still delicious!) options like these Rosemary Kale Chips, but members with air fryers can also make BBQ Sweet Potato Chips or Air Fryer Salt and Vinegar Chips … and still lose weight!

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7. Ice Cream

Nutrisystem vanilla ice cream sandwiches

For the 28% of survey respondents who said they would scream without ice cream—grab a Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich, and see why almost 9,000 Nutrisystem members have given its soft, chocolate cookie and creamy filling a rave, five-star review.

More of a sundae person? How about hunks of brownie and ripples of fudge in chocolate ice cream? Yes, you can eat that and lose weight—it’s Nutrisystem’s Chocolate Brownie Sundae, which has more than 4,000 five-star reviews from our members. There’s more, too: Our Orange Cream Bar that “doesn’t even taste like a diet food” has just 90 calories, and our all-time favorite Chocolaty Fudge Bar has just 80 itty-bitty calories. The bonus? They fit into your weight loss plan, but all you’ll taste is deliciousness.

8. Pasta

Nutrisystem three cheese chicken pasta

Over 26% of participants in our survey said that they have a hard time giving up pasta to drop pounds. However, the pasta-bilities are endless on Nutrisystem! Our pasta meals have helped many people stay on their weight loss plan, helping to satisfy Italian food cravings with classic comfort food creations like the Lasagna with Meat Sauce.

Our other pasta options are also packed with muscle-building, belly-filling protein so the smart portions keep you feeling satisfied: The Rotini with Meatballs has 15 grams of filling protein. Our delicious Three Cheese Chicken is also a good source of protein with 10 grams per serving.

9. Spicy Foods

Nutrisystem spicy kung pao noodles

Your love of spice may help you live longer: A 2015 study found that people who ate spicy foods six or seven days per week had a 14 percent lower risk of early death.2 And a little heat may help you lose weight in two ways: An analysis of 90 different studies showed that spicy foods can help increase the number of calories you burn while controlling your appetite.3

So of course you don’t have to give up spice on Nutrisystem! If you’re like 16% of survey respondents who don’t want to give up spicy foods, you can rest assured that we have options for you. There’s zingy flavors aplenty in options like the Spicy Kung Pao Noodles, the mouthwatering Southwest Fiesta Melt and the classic Chicken Fajita Bowl.

Or visit The Leaf for recipes that will add some heat to your daily non-starchy vegetable servings: The Spicy Sriracha Slaw is sure to become a regular side dish, and will make it easier to drink your daily 64 ounces of water!

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The post The Top 9 Hardest Foods to Give Up for Weight Loss (And How to Still Enjoy Them!) appeared first on The Leaf.

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