Cheesecake, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, March 10, 2009

Velvety smooth, sweet and creamy, but with than 600 calories and 45 grams of fat per slice, can it be part of a healthy diet? Here’s how you can have your (cheese)cake and eat it too!

High-Calorie Ingredients
Traditional cheesecakes are full of ingredients that are high in calories and fat — cream cheese, butter, eggs and sour cream. Add to that sugar, cookie crusts and gooey toppings and you’ve got calorie overload. Replace some of that dense cream cheese with lighter ricotta or cottage cheese. You may be tempted to switch over to all fat-free dairy but that may leave you with a watery and unappetizing dessert. Instead, think “middle of the road” — choose recipes that use low fat dairy or a combination of full-fat and fat-free cheeses. Lightening up these ingredients leaves room for flavors without overdoing the calories.

Want to forgo the milk products all together? Creamy silken tofu makes a light-and-refreshing cheesecake.

Petite Portions
If there is a cheesecake recipe you absolutely refuse to change, consider downsizing. Use small ramekins or mini muffin pans to make decadent, individual cheesecakes. Or try bite-sized portions of cheesecake paired with some fresh fruit — makes for a fabulous presentation.

Substitute Fruit for Fat
Save calories and fat by going for more fruit and less cheesecake. Dress up a small cake slice with a simple berry sauce. In a small saucepan, cook down fresh or frozen berries with a sprinkle of sugar and few drops of water. When the berries have become juicy and bubbly, turn off the heat and stir in some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Puree the mixture in a blender, strain to remove any seeds, cool and transfer to a squeeze bottle for drizzling.

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