10 calorie control tips for dessert lovers

StrawberryDessert2

When it comes to desserts and sweets, we’re very conflicted.  We want big portions and no calories.  That’s not going to happen unless you just eat a lot of fake processed food, loaded with additives.  And then what have you got?  Big portions but no flavor or satisfaction.

I love dessert.  I grew up in a home where dinner always ended with a dessert: ice cream, applesauce cake, pudding, Jello with fruit, cookies and pie.  I could spend all day making cakes, cookies and pies.  I don’t, because it’s too easy to start picking at sweets when they’re sitting around the house.  Not a good plan for calorie control.

But desserts and diets aren’t mutually exclusive.  You can enjoy sweets and control calories without resorting to fake food.  Check out the dessert in the photo.  A small 8-oz Mason jar with strawberries, whipped cream and two doughnut sticks.  A delicious dessert shared by 4 people.  Everyone got a couple of spoonfuls and half a doughnut stick.  Altogether maybe 50-75 calories each but delicious and satisfying.  Added bonus: no one felt stuffed and bloated.

10 tips for enjoying dessert

while avoiding calorie overload, fake food and that awful bloated feeling that comes with overindulging on sweets:

  1. Share: you’ve heard this before, but would you have thought of sharing one dessert with 4 people rather than 2?  Sharing works best at restaurants.  If you’re at home (or someone else’s home) you can just ask for a very small portion.
  2. Use tiny bowls and dishes.  The small jar used for the strawberry dessert is genius, automatic portion control, yet it looks generous.
  3. If the meal was filling and you aren’t in the mood for dessert, Just Say No.  End the meal with a non-sweet beverage to shut off your cravings: sparkling water, espresso or tea can do the trick.
  4. Limit home desserts to very special occasions only.  Creating the expectation of daily desserts is not a great plan for anyone in the family.
  5. Serve a cheese and fruit plate instead of sweets.  A tiny sliver of delicious cheese and a few berries can distract your tastebuds from craving sweets.  Some restaurants serve these, and they’re easy to share.
  6. Poached or sautéed fruit makes a great dessert.  Pears and apples work very well, and you don’t need any added sweeteners, just a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg.
  7. one high quality dark chocolate truffle
  8. At high end restaurants, if no one wants to share a dessert, ask if you can have a small bowl of fresh fruit.
  9. Small child-size ice cream cone (or cup — easier to share)
  10. Skip dinner.  If you’re determined to eat a particular dessert — and not share — sometimes having dessert for dinner is the way to go.  Just don’t make this into a habit.  Twice a year, tops.

The Big Picture: desserts shouldn’t be an everyday habit.  When you do indulge, treat your tastebuds to small portions of real food.

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