It’s normally at this time of year that our New Year’s resolutions to keep fit, stay active and eat healthily fade into a distant memory as we drift back into our old routines. However, with Lent only around the corner, now is a perfect time to revive the promises we made to ourselves at the beginning of the year and get back on our health kick!
But how do you avoid temptation when we’re surrounded by Easter eggs, chocolate and other sugary delights? Whilst there aren’t any clear symptoms of high cholesterol, new NHS guidelines prescribing statins to more men and women over 50 and 60, have made it clear that we need to be careful when eating foods with high saturated fat content as this can have a big impact on our health. Fruit-based desserts with natural sugars are therefore a much healthier option. Help is at hand with some great low-cholesterol, low calorie desserts that you can indulge in, guilt free!
1) Zesty Lemon Bars
Lemon bars are a healthy and low-cholesterol dessert that certainly doesn’t scrimp on flavour and they significantly cut down on sugar and butter.
1 large egg, 1 large lemon, 1 egg white, a small pinch of salt, 2oz light butter, 0.12 tsp of baking powder, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, 9 ½ oz of all-purpose flour.
- Heat oven to 175 degrees and lightly grease a deep, rectangular baking tray with cooking oil.
- To make the crust, mix 1 cup of the flour, 1/4 sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture to form a crumbly dough.
- Press the mixture into the baking tray to form a base and bake until lightly golden, remove from oven after about 10 minutes and leave to cool.
- In a bowl whisk the egg, egg white and remaining sugar. Grate in lemon zest, squeeze in lemon juice, and add the baking powder and leftover flour into the mixture. Mix it all together.
- Pour the mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 20-25 minutes.
2) Mango & Raspberry Sorbet
An incredibly easy, cheap and healthy dessert that will satisfy even the sweetest of tooths! Mango is high in fibre and contains vitamin C which is great for lowering cholesterol; raspberries too can have a positive impact on cholesterol levels as they are powerful antioxidants. Buying frozen fruit is a cheaper option but just as nutritious since nutrients are simply preserved.
Frozen mango, frozen raspberries, not from concentrate orange juice
- Simply place frozen raspberries and mango in a blender and pour over orange juice.
- Mix on a high speed until smooth.
3) Rhubarb & Apple Crumble
Rhubarb is high in fibre which has shown to absorb low-density lipoproteins (LDL), in other words, bad cholesterol from your system. Why not try a tasty rhubarb crumble:
75g plain flour, 50g light butter, 25g rolled oats, 15g chopped almonds, 25g light brown sugar, 200g rhubarb, cut in 10cm pieces, 350g eating apples (peeled, cored and chopped).
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200ºC/fan oven 180ºC. Mix the flour and butter in bowl until it resembles bread crumbs.
- Stir in the oats, almonds and 25g of the sugar.
- Place the fruit in a 1 litre ovenproof dish and pour the crumble mixture on top.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until the fruit is soft and the top golden.
The key to a healthy diet is to think about the foods that you’re eating, there’s nothing wrong with having a few tasty treats now and then as long as you don’t overindulge. If you do have a sweet tooth or suffer from high cholesterol watch your saturated fat intake and instead opt for fruity desserts that aren’t covered in sugar!
Lemon Bars – photo by John http://www.flickr.com/photos/uits/406772615/
Frozen raspberries – photo by epSos.de http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/6038421627/sizes/z/
Rhubarb crumble – photo by Lori L Stalteri http://www.flickr.com/photos/llstalteri/6967865747/sizes/z/