How to Choose and Prepare Lower-Glycemic Treats and Desserts

Most people like eating sweets, especially after dinner. This behavior is actually a ritual for some folks, something they've been conditioned to do since a young age. However, most treats and desserts equal high sugar, high fat, a high glycemic load, and high calories, contributing to the consumption of excess calories, erratic food-craving cycles, and emotional eating.

You can enjoy treats and desserts on a low-glycemic diet as long as you balance them appropriately. Moderation is essential. Pay attention to your sweet tooth and make sure you're indulging in the higher-glycemic, higher-calorie treats (think cakes and cookies) only on special occasions such as birthdays, parties, or holidays.

If you have a sweet tooth, then you want to find desserts that will work for you on a weekly basis. Following are a few ideas for treats that are low-glycemic and not terribly high in calories and fat:

  • 1/2 cup frozen yogurt

  • 1/2 cup low-fat pudding

  • 1/2 cup low-fat chocolate pudding with fresh strawberries

  • 1 ounce of dark chocolate

  • 8-ounce fruit smoothie

  • Baked apple slices

  • Banana split made with vanilla frozen yogurt

  • Frozen-Fruit Smoothie Pops

Frozen-Fruit Smoothie Pops

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Freezer time: 30 to 45 minutes followed by 12 to 24 hours

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (depending on how much fruit smoothie is prepared)

Specialty tools: Four to six 6-ounce paper cups; 4 to 6 Popsicle sticks

Fruit smoothie of choice

  1. Prepare the fruit smoothie as directed.

  2. Pour the smoothie into the paper cups, place the cups on a small cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes.

  3. Remove the cups from the freezer and carefully place a Popsicle stick in the center of each cup. Return the cups to the freezer and freeze overnight, or for 24 hours.

  4. Peel the paper off the frozen pops and enjoy.

Per serving: Calories 80 (From Fat 9); Glycemic Load 6 (Low); Fat 1g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 3mg; Sodium 37mg; Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 3g.

Make sure you use paper cups. If you use plastic ones, your Frozen-Fruit Smoothie Pops will stick to the cups.

Frozen-fruit smoothie pops allow you to enjoy a cold treat on a hot day without all the excess sugar. Your kids will love’em, too!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

1 can vegetable cooking spray

One 16-ounce can pumpkin

1/2 cup egg whites (about 4)

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

One 12-ounce can evaporated skim milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Lightly spray a 9-inch glass pie pan with vegetable cooking spray.

    Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into the pie pan and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

  3. Allow the pie to cool before slicing into 8 wedges or storing in the refrigerator.

Per serving: Calories 111 (From Fat 3); Glycemic Load 12 (Medium); Fat 0g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 79mg; Carbohydrate 22g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 6g.

Pumpkin pie is one of those classic fall comfort foods. It’s also likely one of the pies with the lowest calorie count and lowest glycemic load you’ll ever find. You can make pumpkin pie even better for you (and for your weight-loss goals) by simply omitting the crust for a sweet treat without all the calories and high-glycemic ingredients.

Apple Crisp

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

6 cups peeled, sliced apples

1/4 cup water

4 teaspoons brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup canola oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the apples, water, 4 teaspoons brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl and mix well.

  2. Coat an 8-x-8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and then arrange the apple mixture in the dish.

  3. Combine the remaining ingredients (including 1 tablespoon of brown sugar) in a small mixing bowl and sprinkle over the apples.

  4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the topping is lightly browned.

Per serving: Calories 314 (From Fat 138); Glycemic Load 9 (Low); Fat 15g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 4mg; Carbohydrate 45g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 3g.

This is a lighter version of apple crisp that keeps your calories and glycemic load down while still allowing you to enjoy a yummy, hot dessert.

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