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Getting to your ideal weight is tough enough without having to eat soggy frozen meals or tasteless fat-free cookies. But with thousands of "diet" foods on the shelves, how are you supposed to know which ones are delicious and nutritious?
Keep satisfied and slim with the help of our experts in the FITNESS Healthy Test Kitchen, who shopped for foods that are low in calories and fat and high in fiber and protein. Dozens of staffers tasted every one to come up with our 30 favorites, so you can enjoy every bite.
This cereal is crunchy, sweet, and satisfying. It's delicious enough to munch straight from the box -- a perfect 3 p.m. snack.
Per 3/4 cup: 90 calories, 2g protein, 23g carbohydrate, 1g fat (0g saturated), 5g fiber.2. Hero Sugar-Free Strawberry Preserves
Great fruity flavor without being overly sweet like other sugar-free preserves we tasted. An easy way to cut calories.
Per 1 tablespoon: 10 calories, 0g protein, 1g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber.3. Yoplait Light Blueberry Patch
So thick and creamy it's hard to believe it has no fat. Eat it plain or top with low-fat granola for a more filling breakfast.
Per 6 ounces: 100 calories, 5g protein, 19g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber.4. Breakstone's 2% Milkfat Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Rich and creamy, not dry like some other brands. Delicious plain or with fresh fruit.
Per 1/2 cup: 90 calories, 11g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 2.5g fat (1.5g saturated), 0g fiber.5. Egg Beaters Southwestern
Add some kick to your eggs with this tasty combination of peppers, onions, chilies, and spices. (Don't worry, it's not too spicy!)
Per 1/4 cup: 30 calories, 6g protein, 1g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber.6. Kashi GoLean Crunchy! Chocolate Peanut Bar
Like having dessert for breakfast. And it's loaded with good-for-you protein and fiber, so you'll stay full until lunchtime.
Per bar: 180 calories, 9g protein, 30g carbohydrate, 5g fat (2g saturated), 6g fiber.7. VitaMuffins Blue-Bran
Just the right serving size (no giant muffin here!). Pair it with a piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt, or a small smoothie for a healthy breakfast.
Per muffin: 100 calories, 4g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 5g fiber.
Low-cal, yet satisfying.
Per 2 slices: 80 calories, 5g protein, 17g carbohydrate, 0.5g fat (0g saturated), 5g fiber.9. Thomas' Whole Wheat Sahara Wraps
These yummy wraps have a nice chewy texture and are 100 percent whole wheat.
Per 1 large wrap: 170 calories, 5g protein, 27g carbohydrate, 4.5g fat (2.5g saturated), 4g fiber.10. Progresso Vegetable Classics Hearty Tomato
A thick, chunky soup with a rich, slightly sweet tomato taste.
Per cup: 110 calories, 2g protein, 23g carbohydrate, 1g fat (0g saturated), 3g fiber.11. The Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original
Smooth and creamy with a nice sharp bite.
Per 1 wedge: 35 calories, 2.5g protein, 1g carbohydrate, 2g fat (1g saturated), 0g fiber.12. Lean Cuisine Chicken, Spinach & Mushrooms Panini
So good you'd never guess it's low-cal. Testers said they could eat one every day.
Per entree: 280 calories, 21g protein, 32g carbohydrate, 8g fat (3.5g saturated), 5g fiber.13. Emeril's New York Deli Style Mustard
Tangy and slightly spicy. Perfect!
Per 1 teaspoon: 5 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber.
Just as cheesy as the originals and a little bit crunchier, but with only half the fat.
Per bag: 100 calories, 3g protein, 15g carbohydrate, 3g fat (1g saturated), <1g fiber.15. Quaker Rice Cakes White Cheddar
The hint of cheddar makes these rice cakes a winner.
Per cake: 45 calories, 1g protein, 8g carbohydrate, 0.5g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber.16. Baked! Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream
These chips are as good as the real thing, with almost no saturated fat. Testers couldn't get enough of the cheesy flavor.
Per package: 140 calories, 2g protein, 25g carbohydrate, 4g fat (0.5g saturated), 2g fiber.17. Muir Glen Organic Garlic Cilantro Salsa Medium
This thick, chunky salsa gives you just enough kick.
Per 2 tablespoons: 10 calories, 0g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber.18. Fiber One Chewy Bars Oats and Chocolate
Nutty, chocolaty, and delicious, with 9 grams of satiating fiber.
Per bar: 140 calories, 2g protein, 29g carbohydrate, 4g fat (1.5g saturated), 9g fiber.19. Dole Mixed Fruit in Light Syrup
A healthy combination of apples, pineapples, pears, and peaches. The syrup adds the right amount of sweetness.
Per container: 80 calories, 0g protein, 19g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 1g fiber.
Cheesy goodness for less than 300 calories. Pair with a side salad for dinner.
Per entree: 290 calories, 12g protein, 49g carbohydrate, 6g fat (2.5g saturated), 5g fiber.21. Campbell's Select Healthy Request Mexican Style Chicken Tortilla Soup
A great blend of spices, chicken, rice, and corn. Perfect for cold winter nights.
Per cup: 130 calories, 8g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 2.5g fat (1g saturated), 3g fiber.22. California Pizza Kitchen Crispy Thin Crust White
A crispy crust and delicious garlic flavor. A weeknight winner!
Per 1/3 pizza: 290 calories, 15g protein, 31g carbohydrate, 12g fat (6g saturated), 2g fiber.23. Green Giant Create a Meal! Stir-Fry Teriyaki
This mix of broccoli, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, and red peppers cooks up nice and crisp.
Per 1 cup prepared: 180 calories, 3g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 3g fiber.24. A.1. Steak House Marinade New Orleans Cajun
Slightly spicy with a bit of BBQ flavor, this marinade will jazz up your grilled chicken.
Per 1 tablespoon: 25 calories, 0g protein, 5g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber.25. Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers Caesar Delight Vinaigrette Dressing
This spray coats your salad and gives you great Caesar taste with almost no calories.
Per 10 sprays: 15 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbohydrate, 1g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber.
A guilt-free indulgence for days when you need something sweet.
Per pack: 100 calories, 2g protein, 19g carbohydrate, 3g fat (1g saturated), 3g fiber.27. Edy's Loaded Cookies 'n Cream
Chock-full of cookies, rich and creamy, but still low in calories. For ice cream lovers, this can't be beat.
Per 1/2 cup: 110 calories, 2g protein, 18g carbohydrate, 3.5g fat (1.5g saturated), 1g fiber.28. Fudgsicle Original Fudge Bar
When you gotta have chocolate, grab one of these.
Per bar: 60 calories, 1g protein, 12g carbohydrate, 1.5g fat (1.5g saturated), 0g fiber.29. Kashi TLC Happy Trail Mix Cookies
Satisfying and healthy. Yum!
Per cookie: 130 calories, 2g protein, 21g carbohydrate, 5g fat (1g saturated), 4g fiber.30. York Peppermint Pattie
Mint + chocolate for 50 calories.
Per 3 patties: 140 calories, <1g protein, 32g carbohydrate, 3g fat (1.5g saturated), <1g fiber.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2008.