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Delicious Small Desserts at Familiar Restaurants

Small Desserts Can Be Worked into a Cholesterol-Conscious Diet


Updated September 30, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

If you're watching your cholesterol (or your diet for any reason, for that matter), you may think that dessert is off-limits. But small desserts can fit into your diet plan and pack a satisfying punch.

Dessert? While I'm on a diet? Yes, say dietitians. Experts agree that cutting out a food type entirely can backfire, and even cause you to derail a healthy eating plan. Indulging can be done if done infrequently and with the right choices. The key is small portion size.

Choosing pint-sized desserts is the secret to enjoying after-meal treats without compromising a cholesterol-lowering diet. Select small desserts to help you stay within the American Heart Association's recommendation of 300 milligrams (mg) or less of dietary cholesterol per day.

Here is a sampling of small-sized dessert offerings at restaurants around the country:

Chili's "Sweet Shots"

Locations nation-wide.p>

  • Red Velvet Sweet Shot (250 calories, 9 total grams of fat)
  • Key Lime Pie (240 calories, 12 grams of total fat)
  • Cinnamon Roll (280 calories, 13 grams of total fat)

PF Chang's "Mini Desserts"
Locations nation-wide [PF Chang's website]

  • Lemon Dream Mini (190 calories, 4 total grams of fat, and 0 mg cholesterol)
  • Apple Pie Mini (127 calories, 5 grams of total fat, and 5 mg cholesterol)

Seasons 52 "Small Sized Desserts"
Locations in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania [Seasons 52 website]

  • Strawberry Shortcake (113 calories, 5 total grams of fat, 9 mg cholesterol)
  • Banana Caramel Pie (144 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 21 mg of cholesterol)
  • Red Velvet Dessert (208 calories, 6 grams of total fat, and 33 mg of cholesterol)

BD's Mongolian Grill "Minis"
Locations in twelve states nation-wide

  • Cheesecake Mini (220 calories, 13 total grams of fat, and 40 mg of cholesterol)

http://www.gomongo.com/ Offers its "minis" dessert series in Cheesecake, Cookies and Cream, and Peanut Butter flavors.

Tip: If there are no miniature dessert options at your favorite restaurant, make your own!

  • Ask to order from the kids' dessert menu, or ask for a child-sized portion.Ask for one scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt instead of two.
  • Try the old stand-by --split with a friend. One strategy is to order one fruit or berry plate and one traditional dessert, limiting yourself to ½ of each, and taking the rest home for another time.
  • Mini-cupcakes are the ultimate small indulgence. Fun and easy to make, you can plan ahead to share them with your neighbors or co-workers, so you won't be tempted to over-indulge. At an average 100-150 calories, mini-cupcakes are a better bet than their standard size counterparts which can have as many as 300-400 calories.
What Is High Cholesterol? Learn more about having high cholesterol

Tip: Substitute 2 egg whites for each whole egg when baking or cooking.


Mazzarella-Minshall, Kate "Downsizing. The Incredible Shrinking Dessert FoodService Interactive LLC. Accessed: 5/10/2010.

National Restaurant Association "What's Hot" survey. http://www.restaurant.org/pdfs/research/whats_hot_2010.pdf Accessed 5/25/10.

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