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Monday, July 13, 2009

Keep Those Frozen Calories Low

One of the best things that non-dairy frozen desserts have going for them is that they are almost always lower calorie than the dense-with-butter-fat true ice creams. More butter fat doesn't have to equal more flavor, as anyone who has had a true chef's creation sorbet can attest.

Molly Kimball gives this sound advice along with a jumbo sprinkle of facts about various frozen dessert treats in her New Orleans Times-Picayune article.

Sherbets and sorbets are two more diet-friendly options. They may be made with real fruit purees, or with fruit juices, concentrates, or flavoring extracts.

What's the difference between the two? Sherbets may contain dairy, while sorbets and ices are dairy-free. A 4-ounce scoop of either can have as few as 60 calories if it's made with primarily fresh-fruit puree, or as much as 160 calories if it contains mostly juices and concentrates. ...

I realize that for the true ice cream purist or gelato connoisseur, only the real thing may do. But for those simply looking for a cool, refreshing treat, frozen yogurt can be a great low-calorie option. Soft-serve frozen yogurt typically has 90 to 130 calories per half-cup serving, with the no-sugar-added varieties as low as 80 to 90 calories. An added bonus: nearly all yogurts are low in fat and saturated fat.

When it comes to the selection of mix-ins and toppings for your frozen treat, fresh fruit is an obviously nutritious choice, adding a boost of antioxidants. Just check to see that it's actually fresh fruit, not fruit that's packed in syrup. For a bit of decadence, add a dollop of whipped cream for under 50 calories.

Just be sure you're not topping one dessert with another. Think about it: Does anyone really need to add a brownie or a candy bar to their ice cream?

Kimbell also reminds us, and if she doesn't, I do, that we don't really need those double - or triple - scoops. Or the dipped waffle cones. And that if we have to indulge in a whopper of sugar on top of fat on top of sugar, all sprinkled with more sugar, that we don't need to do so every day. If you have small indulgences on a regular basis, the titanic bargeloads that retail stores push at us to pry more dollars out of pockets will start to seem like too much, even of a good thing. A bite to satisfy, not a supersize to bloat.

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