Why should pleasure be guilty? Why can't your gut be happy and not flabby? When you treat yourself, it doesn't have to be a catch-22. Here are a few of the foods you crave the most when trying to choose a healthier lifestyle, but your gut is stuck on its old habits. Remember, there are ways to turn guilty cravings into decadent treats that make both you and your body happy.

Chocolate, I love you a lot.

Do you even know what's in “chocolate?” Maybe you never cared. It's time to skip the fake chocolate fillers, because that's what they are: fillers. They are fillers for your cravings and what your body really wants, needs and deserves.

Guess, what: You can still treat yourself with chocolate, because you deserve the best.

Grab a big square of dark chocolate and bite into it. Buy one of those bars of chocolate and eat two squares if it's been one of those days. The dark chocolate bar won't disappear as fast as the fake stuff. Dark chocolate is richer, more filling and especially healthy for the heart. The bars come in different flavors with discernible nuts, chilies, candied oranges and pomegranate, too.

There are alternatives to cocoa (cacao) beans. The Carob tree's “sweetmeat” is able to produce a honey-like molasses and is turned into a cocoa-like flour. The flour can be made into a “chocolate” bar. Carob is very sweet and does not need added sugar. When the seeds are roasted, they also work as a coffee substitute.

Cheese, please?

Velveeta. Kraft. Shredded. Sticks. Block. The brand names and shapes are almost like the names of your pets. Just remember to read the label, and consider what you are ingesting. Want to know exactly what you are eating? Be a homesteader and make your own cheese.

Remember those specialty cheeses near the produce at the grocery store? They are delicious, rich and last a long time, especially since you control the portion. If it's your treat, that's great, too. Try spreadable goat cheese rolled in herbs with whole wheat and sun-dried tomato crackers. It melts in your mouth like butter. Goat cheese is considered to be one of the easiest cheeses to digest.

Pizza, I really miss ya.

Start with one slice and suddenly you've eaten half the pizza. Tip: Getting square cut pizza doesn't mean you'll eat less. Carb-overloading is a problem most of our diets face. It doesn't mean you have to go without pizza.

Depending on your pizza preference, it's good to research different types of pizza such as Chicago-style, New York-style and Detroit-style. Yes – it may be hard to choose! However, this way you will know exactly you’re your mind and body are craving and what will be the most satisfying when you do treat yoruself! You also have the option to top your pizza with vegetables. Experiment with a cauliflower crust. You'll be surprised at how good it tastes.

Chips, you belong on my lips, even though you give me these hips.

There's something satisfying about that crunch and the rhythm of eating chips.

Yet, dehydration often causes us to crave salty foods. Drinking an 8-ounce glass of water will help you feel full. Crunchy alternatives:

  • Use a dehydrator to make your own healthy chips, by dehydrating vegetables and fruits. Invest in a mandolin to slice potatoes and bake your own chips.
  • Freshly cut apples have a juicy crunch. Slice up a Granny Smith apple and dip it in creamy peanut butter, which is a tad salty but also has a lot of protein. 
  • Dip cucumbers, carrots or pita chips in hummus.

Fast food, why do you talk so smooth to me?

The dollar menu has especially got game with its smooth talk. It's quick. Why not?

Blood sugar drops every five hours without food to keep the balance. It's important to eat throughout the day, and it's possible to eat healthy on the go:

  • Carry prepared snacks with you, such as trail mix or dehydrated veggie chips.
  • Make copycat fast food meals and substitute healthy options. Have what's familiar and customize it.
  • Pick a sub place over a burger joint.
  • Order ahead from a greasy spoon diner that gives you take out food with your meat portion, two vegetables and bread.

Red meat, I don't think you can be beat.

Most of us eat more red meat than we actually need. Grilling your own burgers is very satisfying and healthier. Meat is good for the body, but there are vegetables and grains that have enough protein, too. Consider lightly grilled salmon on a bed of spinach with chickpeas, peppers and onions.

Trying to eat more vegetarian meals? There are recipes out there that taste as good as (and even better than) meat. Try vegetarian meatloaf and see for yourself. It's all in the spices and the texture. Healthy oils like olive oil make up for the grease and help with digestion.

Your body craves these things for a reason.

It's absolutely okay that your body has these cravings, but first look at what your body really needs. Are you craving salt because you are dehydrated? Drink water. Are you craving sugar because of blood sugar issues or other health reasons? Eat apple slices with peanut butter. Consult with your doctor.

You are craving these foods for a reason and you don't have to give all of them up. When you treat yourself, choose quality. You deserve it.

About the Author

Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

The Drifter Collective:An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Connect with Kacey on Twitter @kacey_mya and on Pinterest (@kaceymya).