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…).
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!
- 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)