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Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult
by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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I don't know about you, but I get a craving for something sweet almost every day. While there's nothing wrong with sweets in general, they're typically pretty high in calories and can add up pretty fast. And in general, there's nothing wrong with indulging that craving. The more important thing is to keep portions under control and make smart choices more often than not.

sweet toothMy general recommendation is to keep sweet treats to 150 calories or less. This way, no matter what you're having, you won't undo your diet. Also, set yourself up for success. Keep individual portions of desserts available, or pre-portion a bulk item once you get it home so you don't wind up eating more than you realize. Here are some tips for different kinds of sweet treats:

Ice Cream Keep individual ice cream treats in your freezer such as popsicles or ice cream sandwiches. Keep 150 calories as your goal per serving to keep your choices smart.

If you have a half gallon of ice cream in your freezer, remember that a half cup is a serving, which is pretty much equivalent to 1 scoop, so I recommend putting that one scoop in a small bowl and savoring each spoonful.

The same is true for desserts like puddings. Anything that can be scooped, I would recommend keeping to a half-cup portion.

Cakes/cookies If you buy pre-packaged cakes and cookies you have a few options. You can buy individually packaged goodies, or read the nutrition label. Take a look at the portion and see how many you can have for about 150 calories. Then, either take those and enjoy or pre-portion servings so you can just grab one when you're in the mood.

If you make them yourself, try some low calorie replacements for oil and butter. Some good options include yogurt, canned pumpkin or pureed beans. All make great substitutes for their fatty and caloric counterparts. Even with fat replacements, the calories still add up so keep your portion to the size of a playing card.

Candy Take a look at the nutrition label, make sure to keep your serving of any kind of candy to 150 calories or less. Be wary of sugar-free candy. Just because it says it's "sugar-free" does not mean it's calorie-free or carbohydrate-free. Be sure to look at the labels and also be sure to keep portions under control because eating too much sugar-free anything can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort.

Also keep in mind that fruit is sweet too! Try topping a bowl of fruit with Cool Whip or making a fruit parfait as a healthy and sweet dessert.

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