Ed Levine's Serious Diet

Ed Levine's Caloric Journey, Week 179: My Calorically Affordable Summer Treats: What are Yours?

With the sweltering summer heat upon the city where I live, every time I emerge from New York's 72nd Street subway station covered in sweat, I'm thinking about what treat I can give myself to both cool off and help me recover from that awful experience.

I dispense with the usual suspects: a Mister Softee vanilla cone dipped in that achingly sweet chocolate dip; a Grom gelato cone or cup, preferably pistachio or lemon granita; or a pint of Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream that I would share with my wife. All would be a caloric disaster on a daily basis, and I do find I need a daily treat in the summer to get me through.

So this summer I have started to compile a list of calorically affordable treats, which I have decided must be 150 calories or under (figuring that if I'm trying to keep my daily caloric count at 1500 to 2000 calories a day overall, my treat should be 10% or less of my total).

Here's what I have come up with:

  • A bowl of cherries: The white cherries I'm buying at Fairway Market, in my neighborhood, have been juicy and sweet-tart in just the right ratio.
  • A perfectly ripe peach: I know the Gold Bud and Honey Crisp peaches I can find more easily on Martha's Vineyard are ridiculously expensive at $4 apiece, but I derive such pleasure from each sweet and juicy bite, I think they are worth every penny.
  • Watermelon: A slice of cold, sweet watermelon is a caloric godsend and mighty tasty to boot. So is a bowl of in-season local blueberries or strawberries.
  • Frozen, blended fruit: Sometimes I resort to the trick of putting a frozen banana in the blender with some strawberries, and I still get surprised by the always creamy results.
  • Small creamy treats: I'll admit that sometimes I break down and buy a small cup of Grom chocolate sorbet (when I need that chocolate hit). They don't give the caloric information for each flavor in Grom, but according to myfitnesspal.com a small cup of Grom chocolate sorbet comes in at 120 calories. That's a true summer treat caloric bargain.
  • Small chocolate treats: Another source of chocolate pleasure, augmented by another of my favorite treats, peanut butter, is a Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cup. They come two to a package, and each one has 100 calories. Sometimes I even remember to throw them in the freezer to make them last longer.

Those are my calorically affordable summer treats. What are yours?

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