Monday 13 June 2016

Low Calorie Fruit Pot

One thing I really struggle with is keeping my weight down... When I say this most people roll their eyes and go "you're not fat". I then normally grumble, and suggest they hang out with cyclists for a while!

My actual core diet is pretty decent...I do a lot of food prep on Sunday's, and this covers my breakfasts and lunches for the rest of the week. I am, however, a massive snacker. I have a huge sweet tooth, and also happen to love creamy textures. If it wasn't for the fact I cycle so much, I'd be immensely overweight! I've said for this year I'm not going to worry too much about my weight, however it's notable that it is sneaking up, so I had a look at my diet in general terms.

It turns out that my"core diet" (what I eat for meals) is massively under what it needs to be. I have a basal metabolism in the region of 1750 calories/ core meals were coming to 1200 calories, giving me a shortfall before exercise of about 550 wonder I snack so much!

So, over the next couple of weeks I'm going to redress this, and add in some improvements to my diet that should reduce the snack cravings. The biggest challenge is that the majority of snacking happens at work, so I need to plan and have healthy alternatives available...ideally something that satisfy my want of creamy, sweet treats! So, I did a bit of reading and investigation. I was looking for ingredients that were not calorie dense (so it feels like I'm having a big meal, but not laying on the calories). ideally I want protein to be there in reasonable proportions...with the amount of cycling I do, I should be taking on 80-90g of protein a day. I don't really want to resort of protein powders...if for no other reason I get bad wind!

After a bit of investigation, I came up with a plan/challenge...fill a 300ml kilner jar with a dessert that looked and tasted great, and get it under 150 calories. The first attempt is not too bad, and with a bit of trimming I reckon I can get it down more. There are 3 key ingredients;
1) A fatless sponge, using xylitol instead of sugar, and chopping the flour ration down a bit
2) Greek yoghurt, with a zero-calorie caramel flavouring (normally used for coffee!)
3) Blueberries

The end result looks pretty good, though I think with a couple of tweaks I could do better. Ideally I'd whip the yoghurt to give it a lighter texture, and a bit more volume, however even with pre-strained yoghurt I couldn't get it to hold air. I think that if I add an emulsifier (the most common one being soy lecithin), I can get it whipped up. I had some trimmings from the sponge which I ended up eating, but I could easily put those at the bottom of the pot to give more volume (the calorie calculations include the trimmings). For fruit I could use other berries (strawberries, raspberries), or even other fruit entirely. I might be able to squeak a bit more flour out of the sponge (trying to avoid turning it into a meringue!). First attempt, a shade over 170 calories a pot...happy with that! If they work over this week, I'll make a batch of them on a Sunday, and take them into work throughout the week, hopefully stopping the visits to the snack machine...

Blueberry Pots

  • Pre-heat oven to 200'C
  • Grease and line a swiss-roll tin with baking parchment
  • Get 6 300ml kilner jars (diameter 70mm)

Sponge Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 75g Xylitol (lower calorie sugar-substitute...I bought it from Holland and Barrett)
  • 60g self-raising flour
1) Put the eggs and xylitol into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment

2) Whisk hard until pale, thick and're looking for a raised trail across the mixture when the whisk is removed. This took ~8 minutes for me

3) Sieve and fold in the flour carefully, removing all the dry pockets

4) Pour into the prepared  swiss-roll tin, and tilt gently to get the mixture into the corners

5) Bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes, until the mixture is just pulling away from the edges

6) Turn out onto a wire rack with a layer of baking parchment on top, and peel off the baking parchment from the bottom


  • 500g strained, fat-free yoghurt (I used Fage 0%, as it's the thickest)
  • Squirt of Caramel Flavouring (I use this stuff, which is to all intents and purposes calorie-free)
  • 60 Blueberries

Note - I assembled these on a set of weighing scales, so I could get the right amount of yoghurt into each layer

1) Using a 70mm circular cutter, cut 12 discs from the sponge

2) Beat the yoghurt and caramel flavouring together, and place in a piping bag

3) Snip off the end of the piping bag, and pipe ~25g of yoghurt into each jar

4) Place a sponge circle into each jar, pressing down gently

7) Place 7 blueberries into each jar

8) Pipe ~25g of yoghurt into each jar, over the blueberries

9) Press a second sponge circle gently into each jar

10) Pipe ~25g of yoghurt into each jar (be careful, you'll only just have enough...if you do have spare, split it between each jar evenly)

11) Place 3 blueberries into each jar

12) Close the lids, and keep in the fridge until needed.