One of the things I miss most when dieting is having dessert. So many desserts provide many hundreds of calories. Just one cup of ice cream or slice of pie can run over 500 calories: Indulging in treats like this can cause a pound of weight gain each week. Fear not! There are some tasty treats than run less than 200 calories–some as low as 100–that are actually good for you as well.
1) Good old-fashioned diet jello can be dressed up and filled with vitamins by adding a little fruit. Mandarin oranges provide vitamin A and vitamin C, along with a nice change in texture. Use any fruit you like except for pineapple: this fruit contains some enzymes that prevent the jello from gelling. A nice dollop of fat-free whipped topping adds just 20 calories.
2) Strawberry shortcake is a favorite summertime treat. Individual shortcakes purchased at the grocery store provide just about 80 calories, and 1/2 cup strawberries provide fiber and over half your daily needs for vitamin C in less than 30 calories. Use whatever fruits you like for variety–berries, bananas or slices of kiwi! The low fat whipped topping provides just 20 calories in two tablespoons, for a grand total of under 150 calories for this dessert.
3) Smoothies are a welcome treat in the heat of the summer. My favorite recipe calls for frozen fruit (either purchased frozen or purchased fresh, then frozen) mixed with skim milk … and that’s it! A cup of each mixes up into a large smoothie with 1/3 of your daily calcium needs from the milk. Depending on your fruit of choice, vitamins (A and C) and minerals (potassium) are also provided. The calorie count comes in under 200. You can add flavorings like cinnamon, chocolate syrup (for a few additional calories), or coffee to suit your taste. I like to add frozen coffee and frozen sliced bananas to mine. Frozen fruit is easier to blend than ice cubes and the smoothie won’t be watered down. Just a word of caution, and this is from experience: Be sure to peel bananas before freezing them!
4) A dessert I came up with a few years ago is a super way to get another dairy serving into your unsuspecting loved ones. Find a delicious flavor of yogurt (I used Key Lime) and just pour into a graham cracker crust. Voila: Key Lime Pie! Be sure the yogurt is a lower fat and/or lower sugar variety (running 100-120 calories) or you can run up to nearly the calories of an actual pie! Many stores sell mini-graham cracker crusts in the bakery aisle that are a perfect single serving size. Other yogurt flavors to try in this dessert are white chocolate, lemon cream pie, banana cream pie. It’ll taste like you slaved over dessert all day!
5) Many desserts that come pre-made are also low in calories. Skinny cow has single-serving ice cream treats, most for under 150 calories (ice cream sandwiches, fudge bars). Blue Bunny has a light ice cream that’s also low in calories, but be sure to stick to the serving size of 1/2 cup.
photo credit: realrabbit