5 Make-Ahead Desserts for Every Kind of Craving

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there’s a specific craving out there, lurking. One evening, you’ll be happily on plan, celebrating your successes, when suddenly… you need it. Maybe it’s chocolate. Or something sweet and salty. Or maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever it is, one thing is for sure: A handful of “healthy” alternatives or 1,000 carrots won’t stave off that craving.

So don’t hide from it or fight it: Attack your craving head-on with options that fit with your healthy eating plan. Arm yourself with these freezer-ready, make-ahead options so that when a craving strikes, you’re ready to strike back. Each one is designed for your specific craving style.

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The Craving: Chocolate

The Fix: These cookies-and-cream popsicles. They have a coffee and banana kick that is surprisingly delicious. And the banana could help you ward off diabetes—in some studies, researchers have begun to associate a diet deficient in potassium with higher risks of Type 2 diabetes. Not that you’ll notice all the potassium while you’re having this sweet treat; you’ll be too busy indulging.

You’ll need:
1 medium banana, cut into chunks and frozen (without peel)
1 package Nutrisystem Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
1/2 cup cold coffee (decaf works, too)
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, unsweetened
1/2 cup ice
2 paper or plastic cups
2 straws

How to Make It:
1. Crumble the cookies into the blender, and add the other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
2. Divide the mixture between the 2 cups, putting straws in the center.
3. Put the cups in the freezer for at least 3 hours.
4. When ready to eat, cut away the cup and enjoy.

Servings: Makes 2 servings
Counts As:
One serving counts as 1 snack/dessert on Nutrisystem

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The Craving: Sweet and Salty

The Fix: This easy, homemade almond butter and sea salt freezer “fudge.” The combo of sweet and salty is undeniable for scientific reasons. Scientists found in 2011 that certain receptors of sugar in the body only work in the presence of sodium—so the salt accentuates the sweetness. And this almond butter, chocolate and salt “fudge” clicks both boxes… while making enough to last through many cravings.

You’ll need:
For the fudge:
1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the topping:
1 package Nutrisystem NutriChocolates
Sea salt for sprinkling

How to make it:
1. Line a cake or brownie pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil, syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt until combined and smooth.
3. Pour mixture into a bowl with the almond butter, and combine until liquid and smooth. Pour evenly into the baking pan, using a spatula to make it flat.
4. Place the pan in the freezer for 90 minutes or until it’s solid.
5. During the last 10 minutes of freezing, place a metal bowl on top of a small saucepan (or, if you have a double boiler, use that), and heat the NutriChocolates over low heat in the bowl to melt. Once it’s melted, remove from heat.
6. Remove the fudge from the freezer, and pull the parchment or foil out of the pan.
7. Slice into 20 squares of about one inch each. Spoon the melted chocolate over each square, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place the squares back in the freezer to harden.

Servings: Makes 20 servings.
Counts As: One serving counts as 1 PowerFuel and 1 Extra on Nutrisystem

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The Craving: Something Warm and Gooey

The Fix: Only fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies will do. But you don’t have to make (and eat) a whole batch. By pre-making this fiber-filled “dough” and freezing it ahead, you can fire up the oven and make a single, delicious cookie whenever you’ve got a craving that needs calming.

You’ll need:
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1 package Nutrisystem Nutrichocolates, crumbled into pieces (like chocolate chips)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup rolled oats
Zero calorie cooking spray

How to make it:
1. Combine the oats, cinnamon and crumbled chocolates. Then add the mashed banana and mix until evenly distributed.
2. Divide the dough into four evenly-sized balls, and place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Put this in the freezer overnight. Once they’re frozen, the cookie dough balls can be placed in a zip-top bag to preserve freshness and save freezer space.
3. When you’re ready to bake one, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a part of a baking sheet with cooking spray, and put two cookies on top. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until firm (frozen cookies need an extra minute or two in the oven).

Servings: Makes 4 servings
Counts As: 1 cookie counts as 1 SmartCarb on Nutrisystem

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The Craving: Something Fancy

The Fix: This fruity parfait in a jar. The colorful fruits are appealing, the Mason jar is rustic, and the layering is artistic. Not to mention the vitamins and fiber from the fruit combine with the yogurt’s protein to help fill you up. But the best part: The portion is big, so whether your fancy dessert is for a Friday dinner party or a Tuesday curled up with Netflix, you’ll have a dessert to last until the conversation (or episode) is through.

You’ll need:
4 cups nonfat, unsweetened yogurt
1 cup strawberries, cut up
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
2 whole kiwis, cut into small chunks
4 Mason jars

How to make it:
1. In each jar, place ¼ cup of strawberries on the bottom.
2. Layer 1/3 cup of the yogurt on top.
3. Then add 1/4 cup of the raspberries.
4. Layer on another 1/3 cup of yogurt.
5. Then add 1/4 of the kiwi, and another 1/3 cup of yogurt.
6. Top with 1/4 cup of blueberries.
7. Cover and freeze until you’re ready to eat. Let thaw for 10 minutes before eating.

Makes 4 jars
Counts As: One jar counts as 1 PowerFuel and 1 SmartCarb (make it into a flex snack!)

The Craving: Peanut Butter

The Fix: If you’re craving peanut butter, then you know how satisfying putting the spoon straight into the jar can be… and how dangerous. While peanut butter is full of healthy fats, making it a great PowerFuel choice on Nutrisystem, it can be quite easy to exceed the tablespoon recommendation. Have these easy peanut butter and banana pops at the ready instead. They’re creamy, smooth, and fill you up with far fewer calories.

You’ll need:
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 medium bananas
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp honey
4 paper or plastic cups (or popsicle molds, if you have them)
4 straws

How to Make It:
1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2. Divide the mixture between the 4 cups, putting straws in the center.
3. Put the cups in the freezer overnight. When ready to eat, cut away the cup and enjoy.

Servings: Makes 4 servings
Counts As: One pop counts as 1 SmartCarb and 1 PowerFuel on Nutrisystem (make it into a flex snack!)