You only get one free donut. Make it a good one.
If you haven't heard the news, let us do your tastebuds (if not your thighs) a favor: It's National Donut Day! That means a number of chains like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts are offering free donuts for every customer today (at Dunkin' you do have to buy a drink to get your fix, though).
We're not going to tell you not to indulge (hello, free donuts!), but we can give you some “indulge smarter” advice:
Skip the novelty donuts
Sometimes, being basic is a good thing: Less-adorned donuts will (usually) be lower in calories. (Not so surprising, perhaps, but still good to remember.) At Krispy Kreme, for instance, a simple (but still sugary and decadent) glazed number has fewer than half the calories of their Oreo Cookies and Kreme specialty donut with Oreo cookie crumbles on top (190 vs. 420).
Munchkins make sense—sometimes
Stick to two or three Munchkins, and you're doing better than if you'd downed a full donut. Make it four doughnut holes, though, and you might has well have had the real deal, calorie-wise. Plus, if you've got a whole box of bite-sized guys in front of you, its really hard to just have one—or four—so you may be better off splitting a regular donut (if you can manage to share) or even just committing to savoring a whole one yourself and calling it a day.
Indulge...on something else
Okay, we just have to put it out there: “Donuts are notoriously filled with ingredients that drive inflammation, like refined grains and sugars and highly refined fats,” says Kate Geagan, RDN. So while we don't want to be diet downers, we also wouldn't suggest making donuts a daily habit. That doesn't mean you can't eat dessert every single day, though. Geagan suggests enjoying a 1 oz square of high quality dark chocolate or chocolate-dipped fresh strawberries or apricots—both in season now—as a go-to treat.
And if you're still craving the round stuff, try making your own healthier (but still so-delicious) versions at home (start with the baked buttermilk donut). That way, every day can be National Donut Day!