The Best Use for Strawberries?

Typically I am not a big fan of chain restaurants.  I picked that snobbery up while living in Seattle, where it always seemed you could go out every night and never go to the same place twice.  You want Chinese?  Got it.  Thai?  No problem.  Sit on the floor for some Moroccan?  Sure, and it comes with a side of belly dancers too.  Ethiopian?  Russian?  Brazilian?  Check, check check.  Yet, with all of that, I still can’t overcome my love of the Cheesecake Factory.  I hate it.  It is always crowded, the nutritional stats are off the charts ridiculously unhealthy, and now it is 45 minutes away.   Thank goodness for that!

According to their website, their Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake has been their #1 seller for 30 years.  No doubt because of its deliciousness, not for its 733 calories per slice and 32 grams of fat per slice!!!  That is why I got sick the time I tried to eat one by myself.  If you have the craving for a little cheesecake, Eating for Life has a super healthy, protein packed one.  You can see from it’s picture that it is definitely smaller than the piece from cheesecake, which of course makes it less calories, but I promise you won’t miss them!

Eating For Life – Strawberry Cheesecake


1 c. Low Fat Cottage Cheese
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp Splenda
12 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese, softened at room temp.
1 c. Egg Substitute
1 Keebler Ready Crust – Reduced Fat Graham Cracker Crust
1/2 c. Fat Free Sour Cream
2 tsp Splenda
1 c. Strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven to 350.

Spoon cottage cheese into blender and blend until smooth (about 30 seconds). Add vanilla extract & Splenda; blend for about 15 more seconds.

Add the softened cream cheese and blend for about 30 seconds, scraping down sides as needed. While blending, gradually add the egg substitute and continue to blend until smooth (about 45 seconds).

Pour cheese filling into Ready Crust and bake until set, about 35 minutes.

Remove cheesecake from oven and cool for about 15 minutes. Then, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Prior to serving, in a small mixing bowl, combine sour cream & 2 tsp of remaining Splenda.

Slice cheesecake into 8 portions, top with sliced strawberries and sour cream.

NUTRITION: Calories 208 / Fat 4 g / Carbs 24 / Protein 15 g / Fiber 2 g


If you are searching for something a little in between these two extremes of health and taste, I made Cooking Light’s version for my niece’s birthday to rave reviews.  I even substituted blended for one of the blocks of cream chese for a little extra protein (not include3d in nutrition info) and it still passed her picky standards!

Vanilla Cheesecake


  • Crust:
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • Filling:
  • 3 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton fat-free sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise


Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare crust, combine first 3 ingredients, tossing with a fork. Add 2 teaspoons water; toss with a fork until moist and crumbly. Gently press mixture into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

To prepare filling, beat cheeses with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Combine 1 cup sugar, flour, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Add to cheese mixture; beat well. Add sour cream; beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds into cheese mixture, reserving bean halves.

Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around outside edge. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

NUTRITION: Calories 324 / Fat 11 g / Carbs 43 / Protein 12 g / Fiber 1 g