How Sweet It Is: 30 Diet-Friendly Desserts

Ease Your Cravings for 150 Calories or Less

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

It's a given: sooner or later, you're going to want something sweet to eat. The WebMD Weight Loss Clinic staff understands this, so the program allows "light" desserts (at about 150 calories each).

As you'll see below, there are plenty of choices, whether your cravings are for ice cream, cake, cookies, or anything chocolate. But do keep two things in mind as you skip through the dessert aisle of your supermarket:

  • Though many fat-free cakes, cookies, or light frozen desserts may be lower in fat and more healthful to eat than their full-fat counterparts, they can still pack plenty of calories. Calories still count. And as the fat is taken out of some of these products, something is added in its place -- namely sugar, or sugar-containing ingredients such as marshmallows, caramel, or fudge swirls.
  • Whatever light dessert you choose, it must taste great to you. Otherwise, you'll be tempted to reach for something else (meaning you've spent 150 calories on your light dessert plus the calories for whatever else you end up reaching for). Lower-fat fudge bars, for example, only help you if they really satisfy your chocolate cravings.

Reading the Label

Here's how the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines terms used to label frozen desserts:

  • Reduced Fat: Contains at least 25% less fat than regular ice cream
  • Light (or Lite): Contains at least 50% less fat than regular ice cream
  • Low Fat: Contains no more than 3 grams of fat per serving
  • Fat Free: Contains less than 0.5 gram of fat per serving

Light Dessert Choices

Remember that there are many more choices within each of these categories. These are just a sampling!

Light Fudge Bars

  • 1 Smart Ones Giant Fudge Bar = 80 calories, 0 grams fat, 20 grams carbohydrates (15 grams sugar), 4 grams fiber, 55 mg sodium
  • 1 Skinny Cow Fat Free Fudge Bar = 100 calories, 0 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrates (19 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 70 mg sodium

Juice Bars

  • 1 Dreyer's Whole Fruit Bar (strawberry or lemonade) = 80 calories, 0 grams fat, 21 grams carbohydrates (20 grams sugar), 0 grams fiber, 0 mg sodium
  • 2 Dole Fruit Juice Bars (No sugar added) = 60 calories, 0 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrate (4 grams sugar), 0 grams fiber, 20 mg sodium

Reduced-Fat Ice Cream Bars and Other Frozen Desserts

  • 1 Skinny Cow Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich = 130 calories, 2 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrate (22 grams sugar), 2 grams fiber, 145 mg sodium
  • 1 Smart Ones Giant Sundae Cone = 130 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 29 grams carbohydrate (12 grams sugar), 3 grams fiber, 95 mg sodium
  • 1 Smart Ones Vanilla Lowfat Sandwich = 130 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 28 grams carbohydrate (15 grams sugar), 3 grams fiber, 140 mg sodium
  • 1 Nestle Crunch Reduced Fat Ice Cream Bar = 150 calories, 8 grams fat, 17 grams carbohydrate (5 grams sugar), 0 gram fiber, 40 mg sodium
  • 1 Klondike Reduced Fat and Calorie Slim-A-Bear Bar = 120 calories, 3 grams fat, 25 grams carbohydrate (3 grams sugar), 0 gram fiber, 230 mg sodium
  • 1 Smart Ones New York Style Cheesecake = 150 calories, 5 grams fat, 21 grams carbohydrate (18 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 140 mg sodium

Light Ice Creams

(Note that the sherbet and sorbet selections have the most carbohydrate and sugar grams)

  • 1/2 cup of Breyers Light Natural Vanilla = 110 calories, 3 grams fat, 17 grams carbohydrate (15 grams sugar), 0 grams fiber, 50 mg sodium
  • 1/2 cup of Dreyer's Grand Light Mint Chocolate Chip = 120 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 17 grams carbohydrate (13 grams sugar), 0 grams fiber, 50 mg sodium
  • 1/2 cup Dreyer's Light Rocky Road = 120 calories, 4 grams fat, 17 grams carbohydrate (12 grams sugar), 0 g fiber, 40 mg sodium
  • 1/2 cup orange sherbet = 120 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 26 grams carbohydrate (25 grams sugar), 0 grams fiber, 20 mg sodium
  • 1/2 cup Dreyer's Whole Raspberry Fruit Sorbet = 130 calories, 0 grams fat, 33 grams carbohydrate (23 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 15 mg sodium

Pudding

  • 1/2 cup serving instant chocolate fudge pudding (made with 2% milk) = around 150 calories, 4 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 2.4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 410 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 14%.
  • 1/2 cup serving instant vanilla or French vanilla pudding (made with 2% milk) = around 150 calories, 4 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 2.4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 410 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 14%.

Granola Bars

  • 1 Quaker Chewy Lowfat S'mores granola bar = 110 calories, 2 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrate (10 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 80 mg sodium
  • 1 Quaker Chewy Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk granola bar = 120 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 20 grams carbohydrate (7 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 85 mg sodium
  • 1 Nature Valley Crunchy Peanut Butter granola bar = 90 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 15 grams carbohydrate (6 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 95 mg sodium
  • 1 Nature Valley Crunchy Banana Nut granola bar = 90 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrate (6 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 80 mg sodium

Light Cookies

  • 3 SnackWell Sugar Free Creme Sandwich cookies = 130 calories, 6 grams fat, 24 g carbohydrate (0 grams sugar), 0 g fiber, 135 mg sodium
  • 4 Nabisco Ginger Snap cookies (about 1 ounce) = 120 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrate (9 grams sugar), 0 g fiber, 230 mg sodium
  • 3 Reduced Fat Oreo cookies (about 1 ounce) = 140 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 26 grams carbohydrate (14 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 200 mg sodium
  • 3 Reduced Fat Chips Ahoy cookies (about 1 ounce) = 140 calories, 5 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrate (10 grams sugar), <1 gram fiber, 150 mg sodium
  • 2 Fig Newtons = 110 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrate (14 grams sugar), 1 gram fiber, 115 mg sodium
  • 24 Cinnamon Teddy Grahams (1 ounce) = 130 calories, 4 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrate (8 grams sugar), <1 g fiber, 150 mg sodium

Light Cakes

  • 1/8 of an angel food cake, store-bought (43 grams) = 100 calories, 0 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrate (16 grams sugar), 0 g fiber, 390 mg sodium
  • 1/8 loaf of Entenmann's Light Golden Loaf Cake = 120 calories
  • 1/8 loaf of Entenmann's Light Chocolate Loaf Cake = 120 calories


Published July 13, 2003.


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