Ruffle Some Feathers This Easter!
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It's no good trying to avoid it - Easter (that great choc fest) is imminent and the best thing you can do to cope with it is to HATCH A PLAN!


Check out your weekend holiday menu ensuring it has lots of fresh, nourishing and celebratory food then build in a few treats so that you don't feel deprived. We have some tasty suggestions that use new season lamb, fish, vegetables and fruit. There's also the odd tempting treat or too in the guise of a Hot Cross Bun, chocolate (but yogurt) look-a-like bar; and some very moreish truffles which you may or may not care to share!

You can also give the Easter bunny a run for his money if you heed the advice of Nicole, Ramsay Health's bariatric dietician, who gives you the low down on how to keep one hop ahead. With such temptation around at every turn it's good to have some tactics up your sleeve to cope with many tricky enticements. Don't be snared ....

This is our 6th Easter newsletter and you can view the back issues on our website as well as countless other Easter recipes that cater for all occasions on



Easter Is Served!

On The Menu:
Spiced Oat, Apple and Coconut Smoothie Bowl
Smoked Haddock and Watercress Fishcakes
Stuffed Roasted Leg of Lamb with Shallot and Cherry Tomato Sauce
Easter Simnel Lemon Slice
Hot Cross Buns
Slender Yogurt Berry Shards
Chocolate Truffles For Bariatrics


So Let's Crack On ...

Pre-op my downfall at Easter would be attacking the chocolate (from the Easter bunny) right before breakfast! Now I simply ensure I get something on the table so that I'm not tempted and nor are my family too. This Easter I am going to tap into a new trend of smoothie bowls - you know what I mean, inventing new combinations for smoothies then posting the photos on social media to prove it. So I plan to prepare a whole host of fruits and other healthful ingredients (like nuts, seeds, oats, quinoa etc) on a tray and let everyone devise their own special bowlful. To get you started here's my own fave of the moment. 

75 g/2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
175 g/2/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1 large banana, sliced and frozen
6 tbsp coconut water, chilled
pinch of salt
vanilla extract to taste
1 apple, chopped
1 tbsp flaked coconut or fresh shaved coconut
3 tsp mixed seeds and nuts

1.  Puree the oats with the yogurt, banana, coconut water, salt and vanilla extract to taste in a blender until smooth.
2.  Pour into bowls and top with the apple, coconut and mixed seeds and nuts to serve.

V suitable for Vegetarians
PROTEIN: 15.3g
FAT: 9.9g


We always have fish on Good Friday - sometimes baked, often grilled/broiled and occasionally in a fish pie. This year I'm going to ring the changes by serving some fishcakes made with smoked haddock and new season watercress (or arugula if hard to source). I can prepare them well ahead so all they need is frying or grilling/broiling at the last minute. These are made with regular potato mash but I am willing to bet that they could also be made with cauliflower mash if you are watching the carbs. I shall serve with just a simple salad - job done!
Click to see Cauli Mash recipe here

450 g/1 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 tbsp light butter or low-fat spread
salt and freshly ground black pepper
450 g/1 lb smoked haddock
1 litre/41/4 cups milk, milk and water or water (as liked)
large bunch of watercress or arugula (about 75 g/3 oz), finely chopped
2 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
grated zest of 1 lemon
a little flour to dust
2 tsp oil or low-fat cooking spray

1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain then mash roughly with the butter and salt and pepper to taste.
2.  Meanwhile, gently cook the fish in a deep frying pan in the milk or water for about 8 minutes or until it flakes easily and is cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool.
3.  When cool enough to handle flake the fish into a bowl, add the mash, watercress/arugula, spring onions/scallions, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste, mixing gently.
4.  Divide and shape into 8 fishcakes using your hands and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
5.  To cook, dust lightly with a little flour and fry in the hot oil until they are golden on both sides. Alternatively, spray (without flouring) with a little low-fat spray and grill/broil until golden, turning once. Serve hot.

CALORIES PER PORTION (grilled/broiled version): 214
PROTEIN: 25.8g
FAT: 3.4g


Easter brings new season lamb and some amazing chances for bagging a bargain roast or two. My local butcher always has a good selection and is quite willing to butterfly a leg so that it is easy to stuff and carve later. It's delicious roasted simply but rises to the luxury class if stuffed and served with a special sauce. I like to marinate mine with herbs the day before cooking for maximum flavour (and because I only have a small portion!). You can stuff with any mixture you like - I've prepared it here with a breadcrumb mixture that is spiked with chopped chorizo and herbs but feel free to use your own favourite - any mixture that you don't use for stuffing the lamb can be cooked in a small dish for about 15 minutes at the end of cooking while the meat is 'resting'. The sauce is something splendid - colourful, aromatic and perfectly complements the lamb.

1.1 kg/21/2 lb butterflied, boneless leg of lamb
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp oil
juice 1/2 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
about 450 g/1 lb favourite stuffing mixture
1 tbsp oil
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
400 g/14 oz red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives

1.  Place the lamb in a baking dish and coat it well on all sides with the garlic, rosemary, parsley, mint, oil, lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight ideally or for at least 4-6 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before stuffing to bring to room temperature.
2.  Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Lay the meat on a cutting board, fat side down and open like a book. Spoon as much stuffing as you can (about half the quantity or a little more) on the right side of the lamb. Fold the left side over the stuffing, as if you're closing a book. Tie the lamb with string at 5 cm/2 inch intervals to hold together while roasting. Place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Place the remaining stuffing in a small roasting dish or pan.
3.  Roast the lamb for 1 hour 20 minutes then allow to rest for 20 minutes. While the lamb is resting cook the remainder of the stuffing in the small dish for about 15 minutes.
4.  Meanwhile make the sauce. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, cayenne pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and the sauce has reduced slightly. Stir in the mint and chives and season to taste.
5.  Serve the lamb sliced with the sauce and any extra cooked stuffing.

CALORIES PER PORTION (without stuffing): 300
PROTEIN: 41.3g
FAT: 12.4g


This extra-light dessert is pretty much a lemon mousse mixture on a biscuit base and makes a refreshing finale to an Easter meal. I used a low-fat chocolate biscuit base but you can use plain, ginger or a nutty one as liked. What rings the changes and makes it celebratory is the decoration. I have used tiny lemon meringues (ready-made) and also my home-made chocolate truffles (see the recipe below) to replace the traditional 12 marzipan balls of an Easter Simnel Cake. If you're using the meringues then add at the last minute so that they don't soften with long standing or storage - not a problem with the chocolate truffles.

low-fat cooking spray or mist
175 g/6 oz light or reduced-fat digestive or other biscuits/light or reduced-fat graham crackers, crushed
75 g/6 tbsp low-fat spread or light butter, melted
2 unwaxed lemons
5 level tsp powdered gelatine/gelatin
4 large eggs, separated
4-6 tbsp granulated sweetener (I used Splenda but use your favourite to taste)
250 g/8 oz fat-free soft Quark or low-fat skimmed soft cheese
mini lemon meringues and/or bariatric chocolate truffles to decorate (see recipe below)

1.  Generously spritz a 21-cm/8 inch spring form cake pan with low-fat spay or mist. Line the base if liked with non-stick parchment.
2.  Mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted spread or butter until well coated then spoon into the tin and level with the back of a spoon. Chill to set.
3.  Meanwhile, using a fine grater, grate the zest from the lemons into a bowl. Squeeze the juice from them into a small bowl and reserve.
4.  Sprinkle the gelatine/gelatin over the lemon juice and allow to 'sponge' or swell for 10 minutes.
5.  Place the egg yolks, sweetener to taste and lemon zest in a bowl and whisk until pale and light.
6.  Set the gelatine/gelatin over a pan of simmering water and leave until clear and melted or microwave by heating on FULL POWER for 30 seconds. Allow to cool.
7.  Beat the Quark until smooth then fold into the egg yolk mixture. Stir in the cooled dissolved gelatine/gelatin.
8.  Whisk the egg whites until stiff then gently fold into the lemon mixture with a metal spoon. Pour on top of the biscuit base, level the surface and chill to set, about 2-3 hours.
9.  Unmould the slice onto a serving plate and decorate the top with mini lemon meringues and/or chocolate truffles as liked. Serve cut into wedges.

CALORIES PER PORTION (using plain biscuits and without decoration): 220
PROTEIN: 12.3g
FAT: 10.6g

When I have asked what Easter Treat recipes you would like to see in this year's newsletter - HOT CROSS BUNS are top of the list again. I've covered this before in a previous newsletter but why not ring the changes this year and bake in a garland shape? Pop a small dish of spiced butter, quark or thick Greek yogurt in the centre to serve for truly luxurious eating.
Click to see Hot Cross Bun Recipe Here

Slender Yogurt Berry Shards: 
Mix 175 g/1 cup thick Greek yogurt with 2 scoops of any flavour protein powder until well combined. Spread onto some waxed paper to make a thick bar and sprinkle with your own favourite choice of nuts, berries and maybe a little grated no-added sugar chocolate. Freeze for 2-3 hours then crack into pieces (like chocolate) to enjoy. Makes about 14 pieces. About 37 calories per piece (3g protein; 3 g carbs; 1 g fat).
Click to see Chocolate Truffles Recipe Here


Pitch yourself up against the Easter bunny and win the choc fest battle by following these tips and strategies courtesy of one  of Ramsey Health's dieticians. Nicole Croft-O'Halloran
  • Down-size your eggs – if someone is planning to buy you an Easter egg, ask for one designed for small children – it will be smaller, so you’ll be less likely to overindulge.
  • An Easter egg can contain 500-1800 calories! Check the back of pack.
  • Chocolate calories are high!. Just 50g provides around 265 calories – that’s more than a fifth of the calories recommended for someone on a daily allowance of 1,250 calories!
  • Make your own Easter egg. Papier mache a balloon then paint and fill with healthy treats such as nuts or dried fruit.
  • Go for plain chocolate – as well as containing more heart-healthy flavonoids, the more intense flavour will satisfy your taste buds more easily so you won’t want to eat as much.
  • Don’t ‘guestimate’ the number of calories in a chocolate egg. Instead, try to work it out. Many eggs now give calorie information per 100g and the weight of the egg itself.  
  • To calculate the calories in the whole item, multiply the calories per 100g by the weight and then divide by 100. For example, the calculation for an egg that contains 530 calories per 100g and weighs 175g is as follows: (530 x 175) = 92,750 ÷ 100 = 927.5 calories.  
  • Beware of constantly nibbling at chocolate eggs – you’ll find it easy to polish off the whole egg. Instead, break off a piece and put the rest out of reach.  
  • Keep chocolate in the fridge – as well as keeping it out of sight, chilled chocolate will last longer in your mouth.
  • If you do overindulge, cut down the next day or up your exercise intake to compensate.  
  • And, if you really want to be good, ask people to buy you flowers instead of chocolate.


Easter doesn't have to just be about chocolate as a gift, as our range below shows, although there is a bit of chocolate if you fancy a USN protein bar... Why not treat your nearest and dearest (or even yourself) with something a little longer-lasting?
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