5 lower sugar, lower fat recipes created by Suffolk care home chefs 

Lower fat, lower sugar profiteroles made with yoghurt and low fat custard

Lower fat, lower sugar profiteroles made with yoghurt and low fat custard - Credit: Care UK

As we age we may find that we need to lose a little weight, be mindful of health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, or simply crave good, healthy meals which are easy to prepare. 

Many of our readers have asked for diabetic-friendly, low-fat recipes and restaurant recommendations, so we’ve teamed up with chefs from Care UK, which runs 10 homes across Suffolk, who are expert at creating balanced, healthy dishes for their residents (and staff). 

Some of them are award-winning cooks (developing their careers through Care UK’s own Chef Academy) who are always adapting recipes to meet the individual needs of the people they serve day-in, day-out. 

The teams follow the government’s Eat Well guidelines and have even produced their own publication to help people eat better at careuk.com/care-homes/helpful-guides/eating-as-we-age-guide. 

Andrew Mussett is an experienced chef and nutrition expert who works across the organisation in Suffolk and beyond, and he’s adamant that a low sugar diet can (and should) be tasty. 

“You don’t have to sacrifice enjoyment of your food for a diet low in fat and sugar," he says. “For example, you can often reduce the amount of sugar in a cake recipe without affecting its taste. Swapping one ingredient for another is also a great way to adjust your diet – using unrefined sugar instead of white sugar is a small thing to do but reaps benefits over time, and you can replace sugar with natural carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables. Cooking your own meals also means you can control the amount of fat and sugar you use, look out for hidden fat and sugar in some processed ingredients and especially in ready-made dishes.” 


You may also want to watch:


Care UK’s food and hotel services manager James Clear, also from Suffolk, adds: “We have created masterclasses for our chefs in various modified diets so they can create lower-sugar versions for those with diabetes, or other dietary requirements that would benefit from reduced sugar. For example, we can still deliver a popular dessert such as apple crumble and custard but we add oats into the crumble topping for slow-release energy and top it with custard made using half the usual amount of sugar. It still gets great reviews from residents!” 

He also suggests artificial sweeteners aren’t necessarily the answer. “We don’t take away the sugar completely – it is all in moderation. If we took it away and replaced it with sweeteners it could have a detrimental effect as excessive amounts can work like a laxative. Instead we look at reducing foods high in glycaemic load and controlling blood sugar levels with slower release foods such as oats and wholemeal versions of pasta, bread and rice.” 

Most Read

James reminds readers to check the way they use this advice with their GP if they have been told it is medically necessary to reduce blood sugar. 

Andrew, James and their colleagues are keen to share their favourite low fat, low sugar recipes. 

A bran muffin with baked figs

A bran muffin with baked figs - Credit: Care UK

Bran nut muffins 

(Makes 12) 

These work well for breakfast or brunch. We like to serve them with natural set yoghurt and baked figs. 

Ingredients 

For the muffins: 

10g baking soda 

3g baking powder 

60g bread flour 

25g milk powder 

200g brown sugar 

Pinch low sodium salt 

210g whole wheat flour 

50g bran 

65g raisins 

50g walnuts 

150g vegetable oil 

300ml water 

1 large egg 

1tsp vanilla flavouring 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a cupcake tin with cases. Sift together the bread flour, soda, baking powder and milk powder. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and combine well. In a separate bowl whisk the oil , water and egg until well blended. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid, mixing. Rest for 10 minutes so the bran has time to soak up the liquid. Evenly spoon the miz into the cases and place in the oven for 20 minutes until the muffins spring back when touched. Remove from the tin and to a cooling rack directly after baking to prevent sweating and soggy bottoms. 

Posh fish and chips

Posh fish and chips - Credit: Care UK

A seasonal take on fish and chips 

(serves 2) 

This is a healthy Mediterranean inspired fish and chip recipe. The homemade tartare sauce and ketchup have no added sugar and are a healthier alternative to what you’ll find in the shops. 

Ingredients 

For the citrus crusted fish: 

2 skinless fish fillets of approximately 110g. These could be fillets from white fish such as cod, haddock or hake, or salmon if pushing the boat out 

1 lemon 

1 lime 

1tbsp chopped fresh parsley 

40g breadcrumbs made from wholemeal bread 

For the chips and roasted cherry tomatoes: 

200g new potatoes washed, not peeled, and halved 

Spray oil 

2 sprigs of thyme 

2 vines of cherry tomatoes 

Salt and pepper to season 

For the homemade tartare sauce: Combine 2tbsps chopped capers, 2 small chopped gherkins, 1/2tsp garlic paste, 1 small bunch of chopped dill, 1tsp honey, 1tsp lemon juice, 125g Greek style yoghurt, 2tbsps low fat mayonnaise 

For the tomato and date ketchup: Simmer together for 15 minutes 115g chopped pitted dates, 170g tomato puree, 400g tin chopped tomatoes, 2tbsps cider vinegar, 110ml water, 1tsp garlic powder, 1tsp onion powder, 1tsp low sodium salt, 1/4tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4tsp allspice. Blend until smooth then thicken in the pan for 10 minutes. Will keep for up to three weeks in the fridge. 

Method 

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Place the new potatoes in a pan of water and parboil until three-quarters cooked. Drain and place on a roasting tray. Take half the lemon and limes and cut into wedges. Add to the tray. Lightly season, add thyme, spray with oil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. 

Zest the remaining lemons and limes and blitz with the bread into crumbs, adding black pepper to taste. Set aside. After 15 minutes take out your potatoes, turn them and add the tomatoes. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. 

Season the fish and pan fry in a touch of oil for two to three minutes until tender. Turn over and sprinkle with the crumbs. Slide the fish onto a lined tray and finish under a grill for two to three minutes. 

Serve with the chips, tomatoes and sauce. 

A top tip if you want to recreate that fish and chip shop feel – take a couple of sheets of newspaper and sprinkle with salt and vinegar. Scrunch into a pan. Carefully and briefly warm this with a lid on and just before serving lift the lid and let the smell waft around the room.   

Raspberry and white chocolate profiteroles

Raspberry and white chocolate profiteroles - Credit: Care UK

Raspberry and white chocolate profiteroles with a red berry coulis 

(serves 4) 

Choux pastry has less calories and fat than shortcrust and puff. This dessert replaces cream with skimmed milk and yoghurt. The sweet sauce is healthier too. 

Ingredients 

For the choux pastry: 

25g butter 

38g plain flour 

1 large egg 

65ml cold water 

1tbsp flaked almonds (optional) 

For the filling: 

1tbsp custard powder 

150ml skimmed milk 

Half a tsp of sugar-free vanilla extract 

75ml 0 per cent Greek yoghurt 

8g coarsely grated white chocolate 

70g fresh raspberries 

For the coulis – blend together, sieve and chill 

300g fresh raspberries 

3tbsps water  

20g sugar 

Splash of Chambord (optional) 

Method 

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet. Heat the butter in a pan with 63ml of water and melt. Increase the heat to boiling, then quickly remove from the hob and heat in the flour until it comes together into a ball. Cook for five minutes on a low heat then beat in the eggs with 1tbsp of water, a little at a time. 

Spoon into a piping bag and pipe 12 equal blobs, adding the almonds by poking them into the piped mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until well-risen and golden. Slash the sides of each bun and return to the oven for five minutes to dry out.  

For the filling mix the custard powder with a little of the milk to slacken. Beat in the remaining milk and vanilla gradually. Pour into a pan and cook on a low heat, constantly stirring, until thickened. Stand for five minutes, beat in the yoghurt and set aside to cool. When cold fold through the grated chocolate and raspberries. Cut a hole in the bottom of each bun and pipe or spoon in the creamy mixture. Serve with the sauce. 

Kitchen garden cake - packed with veggies

Kitchen garden cake - packed with veggies - Credit: Care UK

Kitchen garden cake 

This is the perfect reduced sugar cake for afternoon tea. It is sweetened with fruit and vegetables, a method popular in the Victorian era which came back into fashion thanks to Downton Abbey. This recipe includes instructions for icing, but it would have been traditionally decorated with fresh seasonal flowers and a sprinkling of icing sugar. It is ideal for summer afternoons and picnics, and if it is raining for bringing the outdoors in. 

If you choose not to make the icing the cake is best baked in two 1lb loaf tins. 

Ingredients 

230ml vegetable oil, plus extra for the tin 

100g 0 per cent natural yoghurt 

4 large eggs 

1.5tsps vanilla extract 

Half an orange, zested 

265g self-raising flour 

335g light muscovado sugar 

2.5tsps ground cinnamon 

Quarter of a fresh nutmeg, finely grated 

70g each carrots, apple, parsnip and courgette, grated 

100g sultanas or raisins 

100g walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped (optional) 

For the icing: 

100g low fat margarine 

300g icing sugar 

100g low fat soft cheese 

Method 

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and oil and line the base and sides of two 20cm cake tins. Whisk the wet ingredients for the cake, including the zest) in a jug. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Break up any lumps of sugar. Add the wet ingredients, along with the grated vegetables, raisins and half the nuts. Mix well and split equally between the tins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If it’s still wet return to the oven for five minutes, and check again. Cool in the tins. 

To ice the cake beat the butter and sugar until smooth, add half the soft cheese and beat again. Then add the rest. Use this to sandwich the cakes together and ice the top and scatter with the remaining nuts. It will keep in the fridge for five days. 

Lavender and berry milk pop lollies 

(Makes several) 

This recipe uses fresh fruit with lavender-infused milk, yoghurt and a touch of honey, transforming the mini milk pop of childhood into something more refined. 

Ingredients 

3 heads of fresh lavender, washed and patted dry 

170ml skimmed milk 

230g 0 per cent Greek style yoghurt 

1/4tsp vanilla extract 

1tbsp honey 

60g each raspberries, blueberries and halved strawberries 

Method 

Gently heat the milk with the lavender in a pan. Cool and remove the flower heads. Mix in the yoghurt, honey and vanilla until smooth. Divide the fruit between ice pop moulds. Pour over the lavender infusion mix, dividing equally. Tap the moulds to remove bubbles. Place the lids on top and freeze overnight. To demould stand them in warm water for 10 to 15 seconds. 


Five things you need to know about hidden sugar 

  • According to the NHS, adults should consume no more than 30g of added sugar a day – yet on average we are eating 100g  

  • The NHS calls added sugar ‘free sugar’ and as well as being added to many processed food and drinks they also occur naturally in unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, purees, honey and syrups 

  • When sugar appears on a list of ingredients it is easy to spot, but many sugars are hidden. Look out for ingredients which end in –ose or –ol 

  • Natural-sounding ingredients, such as agave, honey, maple and molasses, can also add to our consumption of free sugar 

  • Even plant-based milks which include rice in their ingredients add to the free sugar load – the manufacturing process breaks the rice down to a sugar called maltose 


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter