This month's Active Cookbook can help. We offer nine of our best low-calorie recipes for the desserts, savory snacks and sweet frozen coffee drinks that most diets require you to sacrifice. If you learn how to make smart substitutions for high-calorie ingredients and cooking techniques, you can have your cookies and chocolate almond frappuccino and still lose weight. Pick one or two of these low-calorie recipes to try a week, and enjoy being healthier, happier and slimmer.
Low-Calorie Super-Grain Marshmallow Krispy Treats1 of 10
There's something magical about rice krispy treats: they're quick and easy to make at home, everyone loves them, and most recipes call for sugar and butter yet these chewy morsels are relatively low in calories. Make these crowd pleasers even more figure friendly and healthier by using puffed millet cereal in place of the traditional rice krispies and antioxidant-rich maple syrup sweetened marshmallows.
Low-Calorie, Butter-Free Brownie Recipe2 of 10
The typical brownie recipe calls for 1 to 4 sticks of unsalted butter, 4 to 6 whole, large eggs and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar. Translation: tons of empty calories for a few moments of fudgy satisfaction. While there's nothing wrong with an indulgence here and there, you can still get your chocolate fix without overdoing it. Get your chocolate fix in smaller bites; at just 70 calories per bite, you can afford to eat three or four of these at one time without feeling guilty.
Low-Calorie Cookie Recipe3 of 10
Less than 90 calories per cookie, these butter-free treats are made with virgin coconut oil, which purportedly aids in weight loss—particularly around the waist in males, asone study?one study shows. Virgin coconut oil also contains antioxidants and, combined with the antioxidants in the dried blueberries, makes these cookies a dessert or snack you can feel good about eating and sharing with your family.
Low-Calorie Doesn't Have to Mean Low-Carb4 of 10
Under 300 calories per serving, this bread pudding makes a wonderful brunch or light dessert when fresh cranberries are in season. It fills the house with a delicious, warm aroma when baking, and will remind you of crisp days, beautiful foliage, and hearty meals with family and friends.
Low-Calorie Chex Mix5 of 10
A classic holiday snack, homemade Chex mix still toasty from the oven can initiate a Pavlovian response that almost always results in overeating. The good news: You can enjoy the same sweet and savory flavors, and toasty texture of the original without ingesting all of the unhealthy fats and sodium.
Low-Calorie Comfort Food6 of 10
This apple crisp is an easy, fast recipe that utilizes ingredients most of us have on hand in the pantry or refrigerator. It's good at room temperature with low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt in the summer and equally tasty fresh from the oven on a chilly fall or winter night. One under-300-calorie portion provides a serving of fruit and whole grains.
Low-Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie Recipe7 of 10
The classic chocolate and peanut butter combination gets a low-calorie makeover in this delicious, protein-packed smoothie. High-calorie chocolate and peanut butter get replaced by chocolate-flavored protein powder and powdered peanut butter. Add some chia seeds and you've got a flavorful, antioxidant-rich concoction that's perfect as a pre- or post-workout treat.
Low-Calorie, Gluten-Free Snack8 of 10
Elvis Presley made the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich famous for good reason—it's deliciously addictive. You can make a respectable substitute without the butter-coated bread. Less than 300 calories, this snack delivers plenty of potassium, protein and a dab of heart-healthy fat. Switch up the peanut butter with sunflower seed butter or the nut butter of your choice and eat up.
Low-Calorie Blended Coffee Drink9 of 10
Frozen coffee and tea drinks made world-famous by Starbucks and other coffee shop chains are popular for good reasons: the combination of energy-boosting caffeine blended with sugary syrups and fattening milks and creams make for a decadently delicious grown-up milkshake. But, if you take the time to craft your own frozen concoctions at home, you'll not only save money, but also tons of unnecessary calories, sugar and fat. It doesn't take much time at all to prepare your own coffee drinks; you can prep the syrups you like over the weekend, and either cold-brew your coffee or make it the night before and allow it to chill in the refrigerator overnight.