Cut Dessert Calories: Low Calorie Sweet Substitutes And Advice

If you want to have your cake and eat it too, experiment with some of these techniques to enjoy occasional sweets while counting calories.

The average American consumes more than twenty pounds of sugar each year. Unfortunately, sugar does not offer much nutritional value for helping the body to operate efficiently and maintain good health. But sweet things are so tasty that it is difficult for most of us to give them up completely.

If that is the case with you or a family member, here are some tips that will let you enjoy sweet sensations for occasional desserts or snacks without compromising nutritional value in the rest of your diet.

1. Serve smaller dessert portions. Many cooks want to provide generous servings to family members and guests, but there is no need to serve too much to each person. Chances are you could cut a piece of cake or pie in half and it will be enough for most people. But if not, someone can always ask for second, which you are sure to have, since the diners are eating smaller shares. Decorate smaller cake squares with decorative store-bought icing or cake decals so that the dessert offers visual as well as taste appeal, which can help everyone feel full faster.

2. Eat smaller restaurant dessert portions. When dining out, you may have noticed the mountain of ice cream and pie or brownie that is served for dessert, often costing about $5 per serving. If you aren't already sharing these portions, now is the time to start. Ask for two or three spoons, depending on the number of people at your table, assuming no one minds eating from the same entree. You will be surprised how quickly you can feel full after several bites. If there is any left, which is doubtful, you can take it home for later. This way you will eat less and save calories while cutting costs.

3. Reduce fatty ingredients in home-made recipes. Use applesauce or canned pumpkin instead of oil for cake mixes. The texture will turn out as well, if not better, than if made with oil. You can also substitute diet soda for oil and egg combinations that are used with cake mixes. A popular recipe is to mix twelve ounces of diet soda with a cake mix (adjust the amount of soda to get the usual batter texture) and bake in a cake pan or cupcake tins for reduced calories and good taste.

4. Serve fruit and cheese with low-fat dip for a fun and different dessert. The French often eat fruit after a meal, and it's a custom that can easily spread. Peel and slice apples, sprinkling lemon juice and fine sugar on top to keep the fruit from turning brown. Just before serving, add sliced banana, cantaloupe chunks, and blueberries, topping it all with low-fat whipped cream. Serve sliced brie cheese, or another type, on the side with thin crackers if desired.

5. Offer beverage desserts. In the fall, make a pot of warm wassail and serve with thin slices of gingerbread or molasses cookies. Or you can make homemade hot cocoa, topping with low-fat whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. Try your hand at cafe mochas by adding a spoonful of instant coffee to your hot cocoa mix. Add dipping cookies alongside atop a pretty dish to enhance your presentation. A punch bowl with sherbet adds a festive touch to other occasions. Serve with shortbread cookies or vanilla wafers.

Desserts have become an important staple to our way of life. Just because you are watching your intake doesn't mean you have to sacrifice all desserts. Choose wisely and eat less so you can continue nurturing your sweet tooth.

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