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Skinny desserts: Delicious sweets that won't ruin your diet

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Desserts that won’t hurt your diet

We all love a little sweet something during the day, but we shouldn’t have to sacrifice our waistlines to enjoy it. With a few simple tips, you can make homemade desserts that are delicious but won’t pack on the pounds (without using bland, low-fat ingredients).

Banana pudding

Focus on texture

A luscious, decadent dessert can mean a lot of calories, but there are ways to make thick and creamy desserts with less fat and fewer calories.

Desserts like mousse, creamy pies, and yogurts are easy to make low calorie. Using gelatin in place of (or addition to) cream is a simple way to reduce fat and calories. For example, in the bowl of a standup mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, moisten 1 Tablespoon of gelatin with 1/4 cup water. Add 1 pint whipping cream and whip until soft peaks form. (If you don't need a true whipped cream substitute, try combining low-fat milk with egg whites instead of whole eggs.)

Portion size

Most people agree that munching on a bag of cookies is much more satisfying than having one large cookie, so make miniature versions of your favorite treats and you can have a few more and feel more satisfied.

For example, make mini quarter-sized cookies and you can pop a few, and it's about as many calories as one regular size cookie. Or make smaller versions of your favorite cupcakes in mini-muffin pans, and you can enjoy two or three and be happy. Just be sure to watch how many you eat because if you eat 10 mini cookies, it could add up to more fat and calories than one regular cookie.

Create bulk with fruit

Adding fruit into your desserts creates extra volume without having to use reduced fat and low calorie ingredients. Bananas, apples, and grapes make delicious add-ins for pudding, ice cream, and cakes. Simply mixing bananas into a cookie batter will not only add fruit, but it also adds texture and chewiness. You can even add applesauce to cakes and brownies in place of oil.

Use spices, powders, and extracts

To add a lot of flavor in a small bite, use spices like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or allspice. And, use unsweetened cocoa powder or coffee in place of loads of sugar or chocolate bars. Even adding a bit of extra vanilla, almond, or any other extract and reducing the sugar a bit will add a great flavor.

Use nut butters

Nut butters are very healthy so making cookies, cakes, or brownies with peanut butter, hazelnut butter, or almond butter will add a lot of flavor.

Although nut butters may be high in calories and fat, the nutritional benefits are worth it. You can even reduce the amount of sugar a little.

Up next: Diet friendly dessert recipes >>

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