Calorie count doesn’t mean everything. These foods might cost you a chunk of your daily calories, but their nutritional value is well worth it.
Some people give dried fruit the side eye for fear it’s filled with calories and sugar. But Palinski-Wade says raisins are a smart snack choice—they’re all-natural and contain no added sugars. “New research has found that raisins may be an excellent snack for everyone, including those with type 2 diabetes (a group that typically thinks they need to avoid dried fruit). Regular consumption of raisins over a variety of snack crackers showed a positive impact on both post-meal glucose levels and systolic blood pressure,” says Palinski-Wade. Just make sure to stick to the right serving size. About 2 tablespoons will do it.
Coconut flour does have a higher calorie count than other flours. (Palinski-Wade says that a quarter cup contains around 120 calories.) But that same serving also has 4 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber, which means it’s less likely to elevate blood sugar levels like all-purpose flour often does. All that protein, fiber, and fat will also help you fill up, meaning it might actually be possible to stop at one (OK, two) the next time you bake a batch of gluten-free cookies (or one of these mouthwatering gluten-free desserts).
Sweet tooths, rejoice. “Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacoa) is 160 calories per ounce, but packed with flavonoids that may boost your health,” says Palinski-Wade. Research suggests that some of those perks point to lower blood pressure levels and improved cholesterol. So enjoy, but in moderation—no more than an ounce per day, she says.