Beware Mini Desserts and “Just a Taste”

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Beware Mini Desserts and “Just a Taste”

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It was my birthday last week and some friends took me out to dinner to celebrate. When it was time for dessert, they cajoled me into celebrating my birthday with a treat. Normally I don’t cave when people push me to eat, but the menu featured a mini key lime parfait and I thought: “What harm can a tiny dessert do?”

The serving was slightly larger than one of those popular mini shot glass desserts; perhaps about a half cup of key lime pudding on a graham cracker crust with a miniscule amount of whipped cream. It was delicious and a nice treat to celebrate a birthday.

Since the restaurant was a national chain, they had nutritional information on their website. When I got home, I checked my tiny dessert and it was … groan … 545 calories! That little half-cup of pudding was more calories then the entire meal I had eaten.

There are three lessons here:

  1. Don’t assume that just because something is advertised as “small” or “mini” that it will be low calorie.
  2. If you are committed to your diet, don’t let well-meaning friends push you into eating something you shouldn’t.
  3. You need to inwardly decide if a diet lapse was worth it.

Here’s how I see it:

  1. A core part of successful dieting is knowledge (doing your homework and learning about food). A menu or food purchase may be listed as “light,” “low cal,” or “diet friendly,” however, it may not be. And “small” and “mini” are relative terms. Do your homework!
  2. My diet faux pas was 100% my responsibility. I do not blame my friends. If we blow our diets we can only blame ourselves, no one else.
  3. For me, that lime dessert was tasty and enjoyable (at the time). However, for 545 calories, I could name a dozen other foods that I would rather have blown my diet on. It’s okay to go off your diet for your birthday (or other special event). But if you are a committed dieter, chose your diet treat very, very carefully. For me, a bowl of gelato, eaten slowly and relished would have been far nicer than a 545 calorie pudding that was eaten in three bites.

As far as the “Just a Taste” approach, all dieters have faced it. It’s time for dessert and well meaning a friend suggest you share a dessert: “just a bite.” If you can stop at one bite, good for you! I have never been satisfied with one dessert and two spoons. Once I have a taste, I become obsessed with having more bites; inwardly wondering what my friend will think when I have six bites to her three. And – like that lime pudding – you cannot assume that half of a dessert is necessarily low calorie.

Whether ordering small portion or having a bite, it’s all about your commitment to your diet and the long-range impact of blowing the diet. Is it worth it to you to destroy a diet meal with a 545 calorie dessert?

It is definitely not worth it to me.

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