HARLEM — These doughnuts are trying to make Harlem healthier, one bite at a time.
Carvin’s Mini Donuts, a new coffee shop on the corner of 129th Street and Lenox Avenue, specializes in making bite-sized doughnuts that have a fraction of the calories their competitors do.
“The doughnuts are made with cake dough, which is lighter than regular dough,” said Vin Taylor, who thought of the idea when he saw a friend making homemade doughnuts.
While doughnuts from Dunkin' Donuts range from 220 to 550 calories — according to nutritional information on the chain's website — Carvin’s doughnuts are between 30 and 60 calories, Taylor said.
Small doughnuts alone won’t make people healthier, but getting people to think about smaller portions might, said chef and healthy eating advocate Chris Daly. Still, he cautioned that while the plain Mini Donut only has 30 calories, if you eat 20 of them that isn’t very healthy.
“It’s about allowing yourself the indulgence but not going overboard,” Daly said. “Depriving yourself is not going to last so long.”
Diet experts agree.
"If you want to lose weight and keep it off, it's better to develop healthy habits than to try to steer clear of a specific type of food entirely, said Sheena Pradhan, a registered dietitian nutritionist with a private practice in New York City.
“It’s never good to cut anything out,” said Pradhan of Nutritious Balance. “People don’t stick with it. Most people gain their weight back when they binge.”
Carvin's doughnuts are made fresh to order with a 1930's style doughnut maker. It takes about a minute for the dough to cook in the machine. Once it's ready, the staff adds a combination of syrups, toppings and sugars.
There are twelve signature combinations like a white chocolate, coconut flake and white powder doughnut or you can create your own choosing from dozens of flavor combinations including maple syrup, bacon bites, and cinnamon sugar, Taylor said.
Apart from selling their Mini Donuts, Carvin’s is developing a new “healthy” doughnut made from chai seeds.
Carlyle Peake, owner of Carvin's, reached out to Daly, who founded of the nonprofit devoted to teaching children about healthy foods Hip4Kids, to develop the doughnut.
Daly previously used chai seeds, which have Omega-3, protein and fibers, to create a line of healthy chocolate chip cookies.
“The cookies look and taste like any gourmet cookie you would see with the added difference that they are extremely healthy for you,” Daly said.