Have your cheesecake (and eat it too!)

A few days ago I visited our local Italian deli with my children. We picked up some espresso and fresh mozzarella cheese and a small cookie apiece as a ‘reward’ for a great trip to the dentist (look ma, no cavities!). (As an aside, I don’t generally agree with encouraging a ‘food as reward’ attitude, but the deli is right in front of the dentist’s office and cheaper than the toy store down the street, and they were whining and I couldn’t stand it much longer…).

I didn't have my camera with me, so had to grab an image from the web. This is exactly what it looked like!

They couldn’t take their eyes off the pastry counter. The cakes and tarts and pies were mouth-watering. My daughter became particularly fixated on the chocolate brownie cheesecake. It looked incredible, but given it’s exorbitant price tag ($23 for a 6-inch cake) and sky-high calorie count, I had no trouble leaving the shop without it.

Or so I thought.

Images of that cake haunted me for two days. I desperately wanted that cake. No, I NEEDED that cake! And last night was ‘dessert night’ (in my house, dessert is only served twice each week; after dinner on Fridays and Sundays).

I contemplated making a ‘clean eating’ chocolate cake (no sugar, prune puree, cocoa and applesauce). Or some cinnamon oatmeal muffins (a great mid-afternoon cookie replacement) but in the end, decided that I would ultimately feel cheated if I didn’t satisfy this insistent craving.

No, I didn’t buy the deli cheesecake; I made my own! I substituted light cream cheese for the full fat version and left the sugar out of the Graham cracker crust. I added blackberry puree to half the batter (my oldest son doesn’t like chocolate; I’ve often wondered if he’s really mine…) and melted chocolate to the other. (Because I know somebody will ask, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the recipe 🙂 ).

I stuck to one small piece (with strawberries on the side) and savored every single bite. The rest went immediately into the freezer for another night.

Craving. Curbed. Over. And. Done.

Sometimes we need to give in to our unhealthy cravings. Consider it one of our splurges for the week (remember, 90% nutritional compliance and 10% splurges?).

Interestingly enough, research suggests that when we indulge in foods we perceive as being ‘treats’, we eat less of them than when presented with foods labelled ‘diet’ or ‘light’ (think about those 100 calorie snacks; who eats just one serving?).

You can bet that marketers know and understand this aspect of human behaviour when they label their projects and decide upon serving sizes.

You can have your cake and eat it too; just make sure your serving size is reasonable and you remove the remainder of the temptation so that a single splurge doesn’t end up being a week of self-indulgence!

fitknitchick’s craving buster cheesecake
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 packages light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup melted chocolate OR 1 cup blackberry puree (I melted frozen berries and mashed them with a spoon)
1. Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs.
2. Press firmly into bottom of 6-inch springform pan (I made some mini-cakes using parchment paper cups and a muffin tin; great for individual servings and for making half the recipe chocolate and the other half berry)
3. Combine cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
4. Stir in melted chocolate (or blackberries).
5. Pour mixture over graham cracker crust.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min; cake is done with top is slightly cracked and jiggles only slightly when pan is moved.
7. Cool in pan, then refrigerate until dessert time.

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  1. That sounds fabulous. I’d rather have one great dessert a week and things like berries the other nights than totally go without or make substitutions that water them down too much. (I’m not talking blackberries or lighter cheese, those sound just fine.)

  2. This is a good strategy for those powerful cravings, thanks!

  3. That’s awesome! Good for you for enjoying a treat and finding a way to make it even better!


    I hate it when the sugar beast gets the best of me. Right now I am finding a home made low sugar way to handle my sweet tooth.

    it’s going well, SO FAR!

  4. I will definitely try this recipe. It sounds great and it looked like it was easy to make. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. This sounds delicious! Definitely going to try this recipe. Cheesecake is one of my favorites… probably second to cupcakes. 🙂

    I also love the “90% nutritional compliance and 10% splurges” rule– what a great way to stick to eating more healthy but not being so strict that you get mad at yourself if you “slip up”.