I have a problem. I have a sweet tooth that sometimes runs rampant over all rational sense. I especially love ice cream, particularly well-made ice cream that melts smoothly on your tongue… mmm.
If I didn’t have to worry about my health or my wallet, I’d probably eat a pint of Haagen-Dazs or Ben and Jerry’s every night, but that’s a lot of sugar and fat I don’t need and a lot of money spent that I don’t need to waste. So I’ve developed a selection of very simple, very inexpensive, and very tasty replacements to sate my sweet tooth in the evenings.
Good Yogurt Parfait
I used to really think that yogurt was really good for you, but that it tasted terrible. It turns out that… well, plain yogurt actually isn’t very tasty. The flavored yogurts you can get at the store are all right, but there’s only so many different flavors and they add up in price.
What I do instead is make my own. It’s pretty easy. I just buy some fresh fruit that I like (bananas, oranges, strawberries, and blueberries are the best!) and a large container of plain yogurt, which is usually unbelievably cheap compared to the same volume of flavored yogurts. I slice the fruits a bit, then take a glass and put about an inch of fruit in it, followed by an inch of yogurt, and then alternate until the glass is full. Snack time! When I splurge on this, I put some brown sugar in between fruit and yogurt layers, but not every time.
If I just buy fruits that are on sale, this becomes a very cheap evening snack that’s quite tasty and healthy, too.
Another tasty, cheap, and healthy treat is pureed fruits. All you need is fruit and a blender to try out some basic ideas, then maybe some additives like milk or yogurt to make thick shakes or brown sugar or vanilla to add some flavor. If I find a particular kind I like, I often make large batches of it and pour it into ice cube trays to freeze it for later. I then can just pop out a few cubes, toss them in a glass, and defrost them for just a few seconds for a cold, sweet, cheap treat.
Jams and Jellies
A piece of toast smothered in jam is a delicious evening snack, one that has come close to rivaling ice cream as my favorite sweet. Best of all, it’s really cheap: a piece of bread and only a tiny fraction of the contents of a jar of jelly makes for a quick and sweet snack that’s much better for you than a big bowl of ice cream.
I had some hesitation about doing this, because I am very picky about jams and jellies, but I found that even if I spend a lot on a single jar, the actual cost per serving of it still isn’t that much. So I’m willing to splurge on a good jar of jam. I highly recommend a jar of Whetstone Valley Preserves if you don’t happen to have a local person that makes it themselves (as nothing, nothing beats homemade jams and jellies).
Don’t Fear The Splurge
I admit that I still eat that expensive ice cream on occasion, but now it’s a special event more than a regular event. The above snacks are quite enjoyable most evenings – they calm my sweet tooth without denting my wallet – and it makes those opportunities to split a pint of Ben & Jerry’s with my wife or stop at a Cold Stone Creamery all the more special.