It's not uncommon for people to ask me about desserts on the Medifast diet. I'm often asked if desserts are allowed, what types you can eat, and how often you can eat them. You do end up eating dessert type foods on Medifast, but they call them meals rather than calling them desserts. I'll explain more below.

This diet has many prepackaged diet meals that taste like or share the flavors of foods that people commonly eat as an indulgence after a meal. For example, chocolate, vanilla and banana pudding is offered. There are chocolate mint, chocolate peanut, and lemon meringue bars. There is soft serve ice cream in many yummy flavors. There are also fudge type brownies and chocolate chip pancakes. There are shakes in flavors like mocha, french vanilla and strawberry creme. But these foods are never called dessert. You eat them as part of your five regular meals. So, while you may opt to have a brownie for your afternoon snack or a chocolate mint ice cream after you've already had your “lean and green meal” at dinner time, most people on this diet do not actually call it dessert even that's what it feels like at the time.

The terminology used on Medifast is 5 prepackaged meals plus your one lean and green meal. (This is why the most popular plan is called the 5 plus 1.) But, if you have a sweet tooth or a sweet craving and want any of those five meals to be a something sweet, then this is completely allowed. As long as you're eating any combination of the diet meals with a sensible “lean and green meal,” then you are following the diet as directed. The only restriction they have is that they do not want you eating more than one maintenance bar per day. (However, there's no such limitation on the crunch bars, which can be good to know.)

So you could have a chocolate chip pancake for breakfast, a brownie for your morning snack, a mint chocolate bar for lunch, banana pudding in the mid afternoon, your lean and green meal for dinner, and a french vanilla shake before bed. Although you've been taking in what looks to be a lot of sweets, this is completely allowed and within the guidelines of the diet. The key to the whole thing is that they have modified the foods so that they do not contain a lot of sugar, calories, or fats. They still taste somewhat sweet, indulgent, or even dessert like, but they are still technically diet foods.

Not all of the foods are sweet, but many are. And on top of this, they also allow sugar free jello and Popsicle (one per day) as a snack on top of your five meals. I sometimes have people ask me if they can eat an extra sweet meal after lunch or dinner if they feel like having dessert. I think this is perfectly fine as long as you count the meal you ate as dessert as one of your meals for the day. For example, if you opt to have a Medifast brownie after lunch and the soft serve ice cream after your “lean and green” dinner, then you've got to count those 2 meals as part of the five that you're going to eat . So you've still got breakfast, lunch, and one snack to play with, but you would need to count the 2 you used as desserts toward your daily intake.

Also, there are a lot of recipes that allow you to take the Medifast pudding and make it into cookies and muffins in case you'd like to get creative on your own. But again, you've got to count any of the ingredients that you use as a meal if you really want to follow the diet as designed. That's not to say that people do not sometimes take liberties and cheat a little. I do not think there's any thing wrong with this as long as you try to follow a little more after you cheat so that it all balances out. And if you are still getting good results, then really, you have nothing to worry about.