10 Restaurant Desserts Under 400 Calories

Restaurants are where diets go to die.

From Chevy’s Fresh Mex Grilled Chicken Fajita Salad (1,220 calories!) to Cheesecake Factory’s Grilled Chicken and Avocado Club (a whopping 1,750 calories!), chain restaurants love nothing more than giving a healthy-sounding name to an incredibly unhealthy food. No wonder you’re scared to order dessert—even the salads are bad for you!

But once in a while, it’s worth giving in to your cravings. In fact, research shows that the ocassional indulgence actually helps you lose weight, while trying to resist cravings entirely is a sure path to overeating later on. With that in mind, I've rounded up 10 restaurant desserts that are safe—and delicious!—compliments of the all-new Eat This, Not That! 2013: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution. These desserts make it possible to indulge your sugary propensities without blowing up like a puff pastry. Grab a spoon and dig into these slimming treats.

#10: FRUIT DESSERT

Arby’s Cherry Turnover
390 calories
13 g fat (6 g saturated)
40 g sugars

Pastry dough can be dangerous, but Arby’s keeps calories down by focusing on the fruit filling. By choosing cherry over chocolate (and not the healthy kind), you’ll eliminate over 150 calories of pure fat. Best of all, this drive-thru dessert doesn’t skimp on portion size—each turnover is the same size as a slice of Mrs. Smith’s Cherry Pie!

Not That!
Arby’s Chocolate Turnover
570 calories
30 g fat (13 g saturated)
43 g sugars

#9: BROWNIE

 Applebee’s Brownie Bite
360 calories
17 g fat (9 g saturated)
49 g carbohydrates

What Applebee’s calls a bite, we call a dessert. This substantial, walnut-studded brownie comes topped with ice cream and fudge, and though it packs too much saturated fat to be an everyday indulgence, it’s perfect as an occasional treat. As for its elephantine full-size counterpart—the Blue Ribbon Brownie below—make this swap just once a week and you’ll lose more than a pound every month.

Not That!
Applebee’s Blue Ribbon Brownie
1,310 calories
63 g fat (32 g saturated)
176 g carbohydrates

LEANER, LIGHTER LUNCHES! One popular fast-food chain is stripping calories from its lunch menu. But before you place your order, be sure to read The Truth About Subway's 400-Calorie Menu!  And check out Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals for dozens of delicious low-cal desserts you can make yourself!

#8: ICE CREAM

Dairy Queen Banana Sundae (medium)
330 calories
10 g fat (6 g saturated)
42 g sugars

Dairy Queen’s entire sundae lineup is safe. (Its entire Blizzard menu is atrocious). With the notable exception of peanut butter, no flavor will run you more than 300 calories for a small size, and with some—any of the fruit flavors, or chocolate—you can even get away with upgrading to a medium without exceeding 400 calories.

Not That!
Dairy Queen Banana Cream Pie Blizzard (medium)
770 calories
28 g fat (17 g saturated)
83 g sugars

THE DOMINO EFFECT: Sugar doesn’t just come in the form of cookies and candy. Discover the insidious ways it can creep into your diet with 9 Sneaky Sources of Sugar.

#7: PASTRY

 Macaroni Grill Quattro Cannoli
320 calories
27 g fat (5 g saturated)
45 g carbohydrates

These deceptively decadent pastries are filled with naturally low-fat ricotta cheese, which helps keep the calories down. This dessert consists of four cannoli, each of which contains only 80 calories—the same as a Chunky Chips Ahoy! cookie.

Not That!
Macaroni Grill Homemade Chocolate Cake
990 calories
56 g fat (27 g saturated)
114 g carbohydrates

#6: CHEESECAKE

Jack in the Box NY Style Cheesecake
310 calories
17 g fat (9 g saturated)
22 g sugars

This cheesecake keeps the calories low with a skim-milk base. In fact, the only way you can go wrong at Jack in the Box is by opting for a drinkable dessert. (Jack isn’t the only chain to commit blender blunders—check out The Worst Shakes in America.) 

Not That!
Jack in the Box Vanilla Shake (regular, 16 oz)
700 calories
38 g fat (26 g saturated, 1 g trans)
63 g sugars

#5: PIE

 Burger King Hershey’s Sundae Pie
300 calories
18 g fat (12 g saturated)
22 g sugars

This is by far the lightest chocolate crème pie you’ll find. Burger King cuts down on the fat by using a crumb instead of pastry crust and whipped filling instead of custard. The chain’s sugar-saturated sundae doesn’t fare as well, packing more sugar than 7 bowls of Lucky Charms cereal.

Not That!
Burger King Oreo Brownie Sundae
530 calories
17 g fat (10 g saturated)
70 g sugars

#4: DOUGHNUT

Dunkin’ Donuts Chocolate Frosted Donut
270 calories
15 g fat (7 g saturated)
13 g sugars

The majority of the chain’s doughnuts fall below the 400-calorie mark, but beware of those with “cake” in the name. Unlike their yeast-leavened brethren, cake doughnuts are dense and packed with excess pastry dough. Get your chocolate fix with this decadent doughnut for about 50 percent less sugar than a Hershey’s bar.

Not That!
Dunkin’ Donuts Chocolate Coconut Cake Donut
550 calories
39 g fat (25 g saturated)
22 g sugars

DASHBOARD DIET: Choosing a decent dessert is only half of it—complete your meal with one of the 7 Fast-Food Meals Under 350 Calories

#3: CHOCOLATE CAKE

Olive Garden Dark Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse & Caramel Cream Dolcini
270 calories
18 g fat (8 g saturated)
25 g carbohydrates

Olive Garden features five individually sized Dolcini desserts, none of which exceeds 300 calories. These parfait-like cups of cake, pastry cream, and assorted toppings provide an alternative to the belt-bulging, full-size desserts, which have more calories than many of the chain’s full meals.

Not That!
Olive Garden Black Tie Mousse Cake
760 calories
48 g fat (27 g saturated)
73 g carbohydrates

#2: CAKE

PF Chang’s Red Velvet Cake Mini
210 calories
10 g fat (3.5 g saturated)
26 g carbohydrates

PF Chang’s menu isn’t without its problems—most dishes supply a troubling amount of sodium—but its dessert menu isn’t one of them. The chain was one of the first to jump on the mini-dessert trend, and its array of shot glass-sized sweets is perfect for curbing cravings.

Not That!
PF Chang’s Great Wall of Chocolate
1,520 calories
72 g fat (26 g saturated)
238 g carbohydrates

#1: COOKIE

McDonald’s Chocolate Chip Cookie
160 calories
8 g fat (3.5 g saturated)
15 g sugars

If a pack of cookies seems too small, you're missing the point. It only takes a few bites to satisfy a sweet tooth, but if you have an elephantine portion in front of you, you're bound to eat the whole thing. These cookies provide everything you need. Order a milk jug on the side and you get a boost of protein and calcium for only 100 extra calories.

Not That!
McDonald’s McFlurry with Oreo Cookies (12 oz)
510 calories
17 g fat (9 g saturated)
64 g sugars

LOSE BELLY FAT FASTER THAN EVER: Knowledge is your best defense in the battle against flab. To keep up with the best health, fitness, and nutrition secrets, sign up for the FREE Eat This, Not That! newsletter and be sure to follow me right here on Twitter!

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