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These Ice Cream Toppings Can Help You Lose Weight

Eating ice cream without toppings is like eating a salad without dressing or pasta without any sauce. Sure, it tastes good, but it's not nearly as enjoyable as it could be.

And like salad and pasta, throwing caution to the wind while topping off a creamy scoop is among the worst things you can do when you're trying to lose weight. Even if you opt for a healthy ice cream, adding classic go-tos like caramel and crushed candy to your bowl can quickly transform a 120-calorie frozen treat into a sugar- and calorie-packed disaster.

But it's not all bad news. There are plenty of other ice cream toppings that can elevate the taste of your sundae without expanding your waistline. We've found 11 delicious low-sugar options that all fall under 100 calories. Stick with our suggested toppers (listed from least to most caloric) and servings sizes to enjoy mouthwatering guilt-free sundaes all summer long.

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Maraschino Cherries, 1 cherry

Calories 8
Fat 0.01 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 0 mg
Carbs 2 g
Fiber 0.2 g
Sugar 1.94 g
Protein <1 g

No sundae would be complete without a bright red cherry on top, and luckily, adding one—or even two or three—to your bowl won't wreak havoc on your waistline. Fair warning, though: most brands use artificial red coloring and high fructose corn syrup in their cherries. If you're looking to cut back on those types of additives, opt for the homemade variety. We're fans of The Cupcake Project's easy-to-make recipe.

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Strawberries, 5 berries, sliced

Calories 19
Fat 0.18 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 1 mg
Carbs 4.61 g
Fiber 1.2 g
Sugar 2.93 g
Protein 0.40 g

If you tend to eat ice cream when you're stressed out, be sure to top off your bowl with a serving of strawberries. The sweet red fruit can relieve stress by lowering levels of cortisol in the body—with a welcome hit of natural sweetness.

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Sprinkles, 1/4 tablespoon

Calories 20
Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 0 mg
Carbs 3 g
Fiber 0 g g
Sugar 2 g
Protein 0 g

Whether you're a fan of chocolate or rainbow sprinkles you can coat your ice cream with the stuff without worry. They are remarkably low-cal, and even a generous dousing won't derail your weight loss progress. Their one downside? Aside from the happiness sprinkles may bring to your life, they don't provide any health benefits.

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Whipped Cream, 3 tablespoons

Calories 23
Fat 1.5 g
Saturated Fat .3 g
Sodium 0 mg
Carbs 1.5 g
Fiber 0 g
Sugar <1 g
Protein 0 g

Everyone, no matter what their age, seems to get a kick out of watching whipped cream squirt out of an aerosol can—and luckily, there's no need to axe the habit in your quest for smaller pants. Just cut yourself off after three tablespoons to keep fat and calories in check.

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Banana, sliced, 1/4th fruit

Calories 26
Fat 0.10 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 0 mg
Carbs 6.74 g
Fiber 0.8 g
Sugar 3.61 g
Protein 0.32 g

Bananas are an ice cream parlor classic—and a pretty special one at that. It's one of the only fruits to have an entire sundae named in its honor. Make a slimmed down banana split at home by combining a 1/4th cup of vanilla ice cream (we like Breyers Natural), 1/4th cup of chocolate ice cream, a tablespoon of whipped cream and some banana and strawberry slices.

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Chocolate Syrup, 1 tablespoon

Calories 50
Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodim 7.5 mg
Carbs 12 g
Fiber 0.5 g
Sugar 10 g
Protein 0.5 g

Craving something rich? Among all the chocolaty toppings on our list, syrup is the easiest on the gut. Just be sure to stick to our suggested serving size—the sugar can pile on fast.

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Pretzel M&Ms, ⅓ of a standard 32 gram bag

Calories 50
Fat 1.5 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Sodium 40 mg
Carbs 8 g
Fiber <1 g
Sugar 5.6 g
Protein <1 g

This clever spin on M&Ms is the healthiest candy topping you'll find. The original milk chocolate core has been replaced with pretzel, which is low in calories by confectionary standards. As a result, you trade in a boatload of sugar for a satisfying cookie-like crunch. The touch of salt from the pretzel filling also amplifies the sweetness of your treat without any extra sugar or calories.

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Graham Cracker, 1, crushed

Calories 64
Fat 1.6 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 69 mg
Carbs 11.6 g
Fiber 0.5 g
Sugar 3.7 g
Protein 1 g

Throw a graham cracker into a plastic bag and crush it up into small pieces with a rolling pin. If you don't have one, using your hands will work just fine. Once you've reached the desired texture, sprinkle the crackers on top of your ice cream. Mix half a crushed cracker with ½ a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips for a s'mores-inspired sundae.

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Mini Chocolate Chips, 1 tablespoon

Calories 70
Fat 4 9
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Sodium 0 mg
Carbs 10 g
Fiber 1 g
Sugar 8 g
Protein 1 g

There are few things that feel more indulgent than a bowl of ice cream topped with chocolate chips. Whether it's the little bit of crunch or the extra hit of sweetness you love about them, enjoy the topper on your favorite frozen bowl — but keep it to a tablespoon.

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Peanuts, 1 tablespoon, chopped

Calories 80
Fat 5.5 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Sodium 2.5 mg
Carbs 4 g
Fiber 2 g
Sugar 0 g
Protein 3.5 g

Sure, it's the highest calorie topping on our list, but it's also one of the few that carries some nutritional weight. According to Harvard researchers, eating peanuts can ward off heart disease. And though other nuts can claim the same, peanuts are the most affordable variety, making them a healthy topping pick for ice cream lovers on a budget. Allergic to peanuts? Opt for a tablespoon of walnuts (93 calories); they've been proven to aid weight loss and slash the risk of heart disease.

Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh