Frozen desserts made with aspartame

Sweet Frozen Treats

This post was written as a guest blog for You can read the original post here.

Those of us who live where there are four seasons throughout the year associate certain foods with certain seasons. A perfect example is eating frozen desserts, like ice cream, in the hot days of summer. But even if the temperature never gets too high where you live, frozen sweet treats are enjoyed any time of year all around the world.

What Makes Frozen Desserts Taste So Good?

Whether licked off a cone or spoon, the creamy consistency of frozen desserts makes them special. Their creaminess can come from dairy ingredients, like milk and cream, or from dairy substitutes, like soy, rice and coconut milks. Those without milk products may rely on bananas, fruit purees or avocado to give them a smooth texture. To prevent the formation of large ice crystals during the freezing process you may see plant-based stabilizers, such as guar gum, locust bean gum and carrageenan on the ingredient list.

The endless flavor combinations of frozen desserts means there’s one to satisfy every taste preference. Vanilla holds first place as the preferred flavor in the U.S., while Whiskey Prune ice cream is popular in Australia. If you need more choices there is a shop in Venezuela that holds the Guinness Book of Records standard for the largest selection of ice cream flavors in the world, including Spaghetti and Meatballs ice cream!

The one ingredient that all frozen desserts contain is some type of sweetener. Cane or beet sugar is the most common, but honey and agave syrup are also used. Many frozen treats also are made with sugar substitutes for consumers looking for a dessert with less added sugar, fewer calories, lower carbohydrate content or all three of those features.

It is important to keep in mind that when you see the claims “no added sugar,” “without added sugar,” and “no sugar added’ on a frozen dessert that does not mean there is no sugar in it. It means no sugar was added as a sweetener, but other ingredients may be a source of naturally occurring sugars, such as the lactose in milk and the fructose in strawberries. Sweet frozen treats with these claims often contain aspartame, sorbitol or other sugar substitutes to provide the desired sweetness.

Right next to the tubs of ice cream and sherbet in your grocer’s freezer are the frozen novelties. They are individually packaged, single serving frozen desserts, such as ice cream sandwiches, ice pops and filled cones. I still think of them as the items sold from the ice cream trucks that roamed my neighborhood on summer nights when I was a child. Just like the frozen desserts sold in family-sized containers, there are frozen novelties made with sugar substitutes.

If you want to make your own sweet frozen treats you’ll be happy to know you don’t need an ice cream machine for many recipes. These Cold and Creamy Fruit Cups are filled with the fruits of summer so a perfect way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month in July.

Frozen desserts made with aspartame

Cold and Creamy Fruit Cups

Cold and Creamy Fruit Cups


1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/3 cup aspartame (8 packets Equal®)
2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or canned and drained peaches
1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries or quartered strawberries
1 cup cubed fresh or canned drained pineapple
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin orange segments, drained
12 pecan halves (optional)


  1. Beat cream cheese, sour cream, aspartame and lemon juice in mixing bowl on medium speed of mixer until smooth and well combined.
  2. Fold in all of the fruit using a spoon.
  3. Spoon the mixture into 12 paper-lined muffin cups.
  4. Garnish each with a pecan halve
  5. Freeze 6 to 8 hours or until firm
  6. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly softened before serving.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN is a registered dietitian and cultural anthropologist whose 30+ year career includes maintaining a busy nutrition counseling practice, teaching food and nutrition courses at the university level, and authoring 2 popular diet books and numerous articles and blogs on health and fitness. Her ability to make sense out of confusing and sometimes controversial nutrition news has made her a frequent guest on major media outlets, including CNBC, FOX News and USA Today. Her passion is communicating practical nutrition information that empowers people to make the best food decisions they can in their everyday diets. Reach her on Twitter @EverydayRD and check out her blog The Everyday RD.


Pineapple Peach Sorbet
Blueberry Melon Freeze
Peachy Cream Gelatin Dessert (could use sugar free gelatin and sugar free ice cream)
Cantaloupe Sherbet
Frozen bananas

International Dairy Foods Association: Ice Cream
Coromoto Ice Cream Shop
Stabilizers in Ice Cream

Using low calorie sweeteners in your desserts can help control calories during the holidays

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

This post was written as a guest blog for on November 18,, 2014. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

One of the things that makes holidays so special is the food. Even though there is no law against roasting a turkey in February or baking sugar cookies in July, many of us rarely do. Instead, we reserve our favorite recipes for certain days of the year when we can eat them while celebrating with family and friends.

If you’re looking forward to enjoying some traditional holiday fare in the weeks ahead, but dread the holiday weight gain that can often go with it, there is a way to “have your cake and eat it too.” And it can even start with dessert!


An important criterion for any dessert is that it tastes great, preferably by satisfying our sweet tooth. Few of us expect dessert to deliver any key nutrients, but it is possible. As we begin another holiday season, finding desserts that offer the perfect combination of “sweet nutrition” in one delicious dish is a concept worth celebrating.

Let’s start with fall fruit pies. Apples, pears and cranberries are seasonal fruits with high nutritional value, but their benefits are diminished when buried beneath too much added sugar and a rich pastry crust both top and bottom. By turning these fruits into dessert crisps sweetened with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener instead of sugar and topped with a crunchy oats instead of pie dough, we can enjoy them with a lot fewer calories – and that can translate into less weight gain during the holidays.

A few of my favorites from the SPLENDA® recipe files are Cranberry Pear Crisp and Granny’s Apple Crisp. See if you don’t agree.

Another popular holiday pie is made with a very nutritious vegetable – pumpkin. A healthy alternative involves using all the same spices plus the milk and eggs found in the pie, but then replacing the bottom pastry crust with some cubed bread, and using SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener instead of sugar for a delicious Pumpkin Bread Pudding. This combination of sweet nutrition is good enough to serve for breakfast on those special holiday mornings when your family is together. I know mine has loved the smell of this sweet and spicy dish coming out of the oven on those occasions.

Speaking of breakfast, you can serve up some sweetness with these German Apple Pancakes and no one will miss a sugary maple-flavored syrup that can clock in at 200 calories per ¼ cup. Or for a savory version, try this Baked Apple Pancake (see image on the left) that reunites the classic combo of apples and Cheddar cheese in a satisfying morning meal.


Cutting the excess calories from your holiday dessert recipes isn’t all that is needed when it comes to avoiding holiday weight gain, but it’s a good start. Think of it as one step towards some sweet new traditions that you can pass on to your children and grandchildren so their future holiday celebrations can still be as sweet, but a whole lot healthier, thanks to you and to SPLENDA® Sweetener.

You can find more SPLENDA® recipes that offer sweet nutrition and fewer calories at

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.


Nothing could be easier than these quick desserts with just 3 ingredients!

Cooking With Kids: Quick Desserts with Just 3 Ingredients


This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

If you want to get your children and grandchildren more interested in cooking,let them make dessert. Having a file of quick dessert recipes on hand makes it easy to get them involved. And with only 3 ingredients in each of these, clean up time is much faster, too. You’ll enjoy eating some of these desserts right away, while others are great gifts to give away.


Perfect Peach Sherbet

8-ounce container nonfat peach yogurt frozen + 8 ½-ounce can sliced peaches in heavy syrup frozen + 1 tablespoon peach preserves. Empty yogurt and peaches into food processer by dipping them in hot water for up to one minute first to loosen. Add preserves. Break up frozen chunks with a knife to make processing easier. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Serve immediately in 4 small wine glasses.


Fruit Cocktail Cake

1 cup self-rising flour + 1 cup sugar + 15-ounce can fruit cocktail in juice. Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir until well blended. Pour into greased 8” square pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

chocolate clusters

Crunchy Chocolate Clusters

16 ounce chocolate morsels (milk chocolate, semi-sweet or mix of both) + 8 ounces crunchy chow mein noodles + 1 cup lightly salted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped. Melt chocolate morsels in microwave or double boiler. Add noodles and peanuts and stir to coat. Drop by teaspoonful onto paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate to set.


Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter + 1 cup sugar + 1 egg. Combine ingredients until blended. Drop 1” apart onto ungreased cookie sheet using teaspoon. Flatten with back of fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.


Pretzel-Pecan Candy

50 mini pretzel twists + 50 Rolo candies (chocolate covered caramel) + 50 pecan halves. Line cookie sheet with foil. Arrange pretzels in single layer. Top each pretzel with Rolo, small side up. Bake at 250 degrees for 4 minutes. Remove and press pecan half into the top of each.


Cute Crispy Cut-Outs

6 cups crispy rice cereal + 4 cups mini marshmallows + 3 tablespoons butter. Melt butter with marshmallows in a large bowl in microwave. Stir in cereal until coated. Press into an even layer in a greased 13” X 15” baking pan. Let set one hour then cut into shapes using large cookie cutters.


Simply Sweet Baked Apple

1 apple + 1 tablespoon maple syrup + 1 tablespoon raisins. Cut a thin layer off the top of the apple and core. Fill cavity with syrup and raisins. Microwave on high power 3-5 minutes, testing with fork after 3 minutes to see if tender.


Banana Cream Pudding Parfaits

1 box instant banana cream pudding + 2 cups low fat milk + 1 medium banana. Whip pudding and milk together 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon into parfait glasses in alternate layers with banana slices.


Foolproof Coconut Macaroons

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk + 14 ounce bag flaked coconut + 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir to combine. Line baking sheets with parchment paper then grease the paper. Drop macaroons by teaspoonful onto to baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove immediately onto cooling racks.

Tips to get the whole family to eat enough fruit this summer

10 Fun Ways to Eat Enough Fruit This Summer

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the blog here.


I love fruit and eat plenty of it, but most people do not eat enough fruit to get the minimum 2 servings a day recommended in the Dietary Guidelines. That’s too bad because fruit is an important part of a balanced diet, right along with its side-kick, vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are routinely grouped together in government issued food plans, pyramids and plates, yet some people think vegetables have higher status. Maybe it’s because they have a permanent place on dinner menus, while fruit is relegated to snacks and dessert? Whatever the reason, fruit deserves to be counted on its own merits.

Fruit contains essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber that are not available in plentiful amounts in other foods. The nutrients in fruit help protect us against cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts, and many other chronic diseases.

Taste is high on the list of reasons why people don’t eat all of the vegetables they should, but that’s no excuse for not eating enough fruit. It can be sweet or sour, juicy or dry, soft or firm, chewy or crisp – something to please any palate. And you can eat it fresh, frozen, cooked, juiced or dried.

One of the easiest ways to make sure teens and adults eat enough fruit is to get them started young. Summer is the perfect time to introduce your little ones to the abundant variety of fruit that is in season and ready for sampling. You can include fun lessons on colors, shapes, and sizes, too, as you shop for an assortment of berries, melons and more.

10 Fun Ways to Eat Enough Fruit This Summer

  1. Melon Bowl Soup Most children don’t like their soup too hot, so make a cold fruit soup and ladle it into carved out half-cantaloupe as a bowl.
  2. Rainbow Pizza Spread cream cheese on toasted English muffins or whole wheat pita bread and top with colorful sliced plums, apricots, and kiwi.
  3. Honey-Grilled Fruit Place pitted and halved peaches and nectarines and sliced pineapple on the barbecue grill for a sizzling fruit platter you can top with a drizzle of honey.
  4. Tropical Dip Cut chunks of banana, mango, and papaya for dipping into lemon yogurt then sprinkling with toasted coconut or crushed cereal.
  5. Green Slushies Puree kiwi, green grapes and honeydew melon together, freeze in ice cube trays, then process again in blender until a slushy consistency.
  6. Fruit Dunkers Easier than fondue, just dunk fruit chunks into caramel or chocolate sauce thinned with hot water or use maple syrup, honey, or whipped topping.
  7. Asian Fruit Salad Combine mandarin orange segments, boysenberries, and cubed Asian pears, top with Chinese noodles, and let everyone eat it with chop sticks.
  8. Crazy Quesadillas Spread shredded mozzarella cheese over a one half of a flour tortilla, top with sliced strawberries, then fold other half over and heat until the cheese has melted.
  9. Parfait Cones Layer yogurt and berries in an ice cream cone for a portable snack filled with summer’s best.
  10. Melon Stick Cube watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and/or Crenshaw and thread onto popsicle sticks.

What’s your favorite fruit of the season?

For more ways to increase the fruit in your diet check these blogs:

  • 11 Ways to Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables
  • Getting More Fruit in Your Diet is Easy with Dried Fruit