Dig In: We've Got 5 Diet-Friendly Desserts


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Goodbye sweet days of chocolate cake, sayonara my beautiful banana split, farewell my flavorful flan and hasta la vista my scrumptious apple pie. I know we've shared some savory mouthwatering memories together but there's just no room for you in my new balanced healthy diet. It's time for me to buckle down and ignore my sweet tooth from sending me back your way.

Did you know that the word desserts spelled backwards spells stressed? For many of you out there that's exactly what it brings. Trying to stop yourself from your favorite temptations can trigger a terrible amount of tension. It's no wonder that something as delicious as treats can turn into a dieter's worst nightmare.

Put away your handkerchief because it's time to kiss and eat up! You don't have to reach for the sky to get to your pie. It is possible to dig into delicious desserts without damaging your diet. You shouldn't feel restricted from eating foods you enjoy. Depriving yourself will most likely just lead you on the road to dieting disaster when willpower runs out. Instead of giving up your favorite treats, think about what goes in them and use some imagination.

The most common diet destroyers in desserts are dairy and fats. Other nutritional factors to consider may include how much sugar, cholesterol and sodium the product contains. It's important to always check the nutritional facts on the sides of packages. Don't let the words low fat or low carb fool you. It's always good to compare items and read the labels carefully. Make sure you know what you are buying. Simple substitutions can make a world of difference.

An average ice cream bar can contain 180 calories and 12 grams of fat - not exactly a dieter's friend. And some of the best-known brands are significantly higher than that. A Dove Bar has 350 calories and 22 grams of fat, while the new Breyer's Magnum Bars pack 14 grams of saturated fat (20 grams total fat) each!

What's the alternative, you ask? How about a rich, smooth pudding pop? The store-bought versions average 100 calories and 2 to 3 grams of fat, but you can cut the fat even further and add a little nutrition by making your own.

Susan Burke, eDiets VP of Nutrition Services, says: “You can modify any recipe, especially desserts, to make it healthy. The recipe section on our site can give you great ideas. It can be as simple as using egg whites instead of a whole egg or reducing the amount of sugar in a recipe. If the recipe calls for a cup of sugar, use only one-third cup instead. There are even fat-free chocolate chips so you can replace the full-fat ones.

"However, some desserts are easier to modify then others. For example, it's hard to modify angel food cake because of its high sugar content. But there are sugar substitutes, such as Splenda, that are great for baking. The key to staying healthy is making healthy choices wherever you go. The best thing to do is EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT!"

There is nothing wrong with digging into your favorite delights. But even diet-friendly desserts can become hazardous to your waistline. Moderation is the key to enjoying treats every now and then. Remember to always check the serving size. What you eat is important. But understanding how much you're eating is crucial. Creativity is also essential. Try new recipes and satisfy your sweet tooth using sensible substitutions. After all, as Forest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. "

Here are five deliciously divine desserts that are low in guilt and high on flavor. Go ahead. . .indulge!

Apple Cider-Caramel Cake

Cider “syrup" is folded into this cake for a rich caramelized flavor.

2-1/4 cups apple cider, divided
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. stick margarine or butter
3 cups sliced peeled cooking apple (such as Braeburn, Rome or McIntosh)
Cooking spray
2-1/2 Tbsp. dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup stick margarine or butter, softened
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 (8-oz. ) block fat-free cream cheese
3 large eggs
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1. Bring 2 cups cider to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-high; stir in 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cook five minutes or until sugar dissolves and cider is thick and dark-colored, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool one minute. Stir in 1 tablespoon margarine. Stir in apples; cook 15 minutes over medium-high heat or until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; cool. (If apple mixture hardens, place it over low heat until softened).

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with breadcrumbs.

4. Combine 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup margarine, lemon rind and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well blended (about five minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in apple mixture. Pour into prepared pan; bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

5. Combine 1/4 cup cider, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice and vanilla; let stand until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Cool cake in pan five minutes, and pierce with a wooden skewer in several places. Pour cider mixture over cake in pan, and let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over top of cake.

Makes 18 servings. Nutritional values per serving: 286 calories (22 percent from fat), 7.1g fat (1.6g sat, 3g mono and 2g poly), 5.8g protein, 50.1g carbohydrate, 1.2g fiber, 39mg cholesterol, 1.4mg iron, 253mg sodium and 94mg calcium.

Recipe Copyright © Cooking Light Magazine

To try two FREE Issues of Cooking Light, click here .

Chocolate Fudge Meringues

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 package (6-oz. size) reduced-fat semi-sweet chocolate morsels, chopped

1. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt to soft peaks in medium bowl. Then beat to stiff peaks, adding sugar gradually. Fold in cocoa, and then fold in chopped chocolate. Drop mixture by tablespoons onto aluminum foil-lined cookie sheets.

2. Bake at 300 degrees until cookies feel crisp when touched (20 to 25 minutes). Cool sheets on wire racks.

Makes 24 servings (serving size 1 cookie). Nutritional values per serving: 58 calories, 0.8g fat, 0mg cholesterol and 34mg sodium.

Instant Tiramisu

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup (6 oz. ) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
24 ladyfingers (two 3-oz. packages)
1/2 cup Kahlua (coffee-flavored liqueur)
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

1. Combine the ricotta, cream cheese and sugar in a food processor; process until smooth. Split the ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Arrange 24 halves in a single layer in an 11"x7" baking dish. Drizzle with half the Kahlua and let stand five minutes. Spread half of cheese mixture evenly over the ladyfingers. Repeat procedure with the remaining ladyfingers, Kahlua and cheese mixture. Sprinkle with cocoa.

Makes 10 servings. Nutritional values per serving: 216 calories, 6.9g fat, 6.8g protein, 27g carbohydrate, 0.2g fiber, 55mg cholesterol, 0.7mg iron, 244mg sodium and 10mg calcium.

Recipe Copyright © Cooking Light Magazine

To try two FREE Issues of Cooking Light, click here .

Luscious Low-Fat Chocolate Mousse

1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute
1 tsp. almond extract
4 tsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup fat-free milk, divided
1 tsp. gelatin

1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4-cup milk to soften and set aside. 2. Purée cocoa powder, egg substitute, extract, sugar and salt in a blender until combined. Heat remaining 1/2 cup milk over low heat until just boiling; remove from heat and pour into blender with other ingredients. Blend for one minute. Pour into large bowl and stir in gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved. Pour into serving dishes and chill for one hour or more.

Makes 4 servings. Nutritional values per serving: 100 calories, 4g fat, 8g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 8g fiber and 130mg sodium.

Chocolate Banana Pudding Pop

3/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup fat-free half and half
2 medium bananas
1 package fat-free sugar-free instant chocolate pudding mix

1. Combine milk and half and half in a bowl and mix. Whisk in pudding mix and stir one minute or until dissolved; combine with banana in blender and puree until smooth. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze overnight.

Makes 4 servings. Nutritional values per serving: 100 calories 4g fat, 8g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 8g fiber and 253mg sodium.

Carolina Diaz-Bordon
eDiets.com Staff Writer

At eDiets, there's something for every body. Click here to choose from more than 20 personalized diet plans!


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