Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight does not mean giving up the foods you enjoy. Making small adjustments to recipes you are already familiar with by reducing the calorie content is an easy way to still eat “unhealthy” foods. Over the years I have made adjustments to many of the foods I eat and still enjoy foods such as ice cream, pizza, pumpkin pie and my personal favorite, cheesecake. At the end of the day, calories consumed vs calories burned will determine if you gain, lose or maintain your weight so by keeping the calories in this recipe low, you can enjoy this popular dessert even if you are on a diet. By replacing high fat cream cheese with the low fat option and forgoing sugar and butter, this cheesecake has a fraction of the calories of your typical recipe. While it is not quite as tasty as a cheesecake from your favorite restaurant, this entire cake barely has more calories than a single slice from your favorite cheesecake restaurant.
What you will need:
-food processor (best) or blender
-8 to 10 inch baking dish
-food scale (a very helpful tool in keeping portion sizes in check, can be bought for about $15 on amazon)
-155g graham crackers
-60g sugar free syrup
-2 blocks fat free cream cheese (about 460g)
-124g vanilla whey protein
-340g fat free greek yogurt (unsweetened has the lowest calories)
-30g zero calorie sweetener (such as Splenda or Stevia) – amount may be adjusted for desired sweetness
-10g vanilla extract
-optional – fruit, cocoa powder, cinnamon, sugar free pudding mix, etc for desired flavor
* while fat free cream cheese does not taste very good by itself, when added to this recipe, I truly cannot tell the difference between the full fat, reduced fat and fat free versions. Save the calories and choose the fat free option. The same is true for unsweetened greek yogurt. Many people do not like the flavor but the remaining ingredients add plenty of sweetness and reduces the greek yogurt taste.
-crush graham crackers in food processor until it becomes a fine powder and transfer to mixing bowl. Add sugar free syrup and mix until dough ball is formed. You may add a little water when mixing to moisten cracker crumbs. Spray baking pain with nonstick cooking spray and add dough ball. It should look like this:
Spread dough so it covers the bottom of the pan. Spread as much up the sides of the pan that you can. If it does not reach the rim of the dish, that is fine.
-add remaining ingredients to food processor, dry ingredients first. Mix in processor until you have a homogeneous mixture. Do not eat all of the batter if you plan on making a whole cheesecake. Transfer mixture to baking dish with prepared crust.
*If you are adding fruit, this can be blended in the mixture or added after as shown with the blueberries above. If adding fruit, a little can go a long way.
-preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes (lesser time results in softer cake while longer time results in firmer cake). Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Note that center of cake may be a little soft when you first remove it from the oven, this will firm up in the fridge. Cut into 8 slices and serve.
*Disclaimer, I'm not a professional baker, I'm a physician assistant
Nutrition facts (will vary slightly depending on brands used)
Calories per slice 220
Keep in mind, cheesecake slices from many restaurants can have upwards of 1500 calories per slice. You could almost eat this entire cheesecake for that amount. Given this recipe a try. It's very easy to put together and can be modified with different ingredients for a variety of flavors. I hope you enjoy.