Losing weight doesn’t have to feel like constant deprivation — you can still enjoy sweet treats and delicious puddings without cranking up the calorie count.

Indeed, it was a dessert recipe — Cheesecake-stuffed Strawberries — that started our Pinch Of Nom journey.

As chefs on a mission to lose weight and eat healthily, this recipe came about when we tried assembling ingredients to make a healthier sweet treat to curb the craving. The blog was set up to share this recipe and the rest, as they say, is history.

Pinch of Nom authors Kate Allinson & Kay Featherstone are pictured above. Today, we’ll show how to make some of our much-enjoyed healthy puddings, including mini coffee and pecan cakes

We believe in the ethos of ‘everything in moderation’. We use simple ingredient swaps to cut down the fat and calorie contents so that you can still indulge your tastebuds, guilt-free.

Fat-free Greek yoghurt is naturally thick and makes a delicious alternative to ice- cream when frozen. Reduced-fat spread works a treat in home-made puddings. 

Granulated sweetener is a fantastic low-calorie sugar replacement. You can also use natural alternatives, such as stevia or agave, but be mindful that the calorie count may change with these products.



A good basis of any diet should be that you don’t have to miss out on enjoying dinner parties or the odd treat here or there.

Today, we’ll show how to make some of our much-enjoyed healthy puddings, including mini coffee and pecan cakes.  

Another one of our ‘a little of what you fancy’ recipes, these lovely mini coffee and pecan cakes will satisfy any sweet tooth. 

You won’t notice the small ingredient substitutions that make these lower in calories than most cakes.

Preheat oven to 190c/170c/gas 5. Place all of the cake ingredients (except the pecan halves) in a bowl and mix with an electric hand whisk until the mixture is light and smooth.

Place a heaped teaspoon of the cake mixture into each mould of a 24-hole mini muffin tray, dividing the mixture evenly between all 24 holes. Transfer to the oven and bake for 16 minutes until risen and cooked through.

Remove the cakes from the oven, then take them out of the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack. (You can freeze the baked cakes when cooled for sandwiching on another day.)

Mix the buttercream ingredients together in a bowl. When the cakes have cooled, slice them in half through the middle. Spread or pipe some buttercream onto one half of the cakes, and place the tops back on. Pop a tiny blob of buttercream on the top of each cake and add a pecan half.

Another one of our ‘a little of what you fancy’ recipes, these lovely mini coffee and pecan cakes will satisfy any sweet tooth

Everyone loves a bakewell tart. Sweet almond, with tart jam to balance it, makes for a delicious treat that surely can’t be slimming friendly. 

With some clever ingredients, however, this recipe will really surprise you. Authentic flavours minus the guilt — perfection!

Suitable for freezing. For all freezer friendly recipes, we recommend defrosting completely before heating until piping hot.

Preheat the oven to 190c/ fan 170c/gas 5 and spray ten holes of a 12-hole muffin tin with low-calorie cooking spray.

Place each round in a greased muffin tin hole, pushing them into place so they come up the sides of the holes. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, reduced-fat spread, egg, sweetener and almond extract in a mixing bowl.

Remove the ‘pastry’ cases from the oven and distribute the jam evenly between them, spreading it out a little in the cases.

Spoon a little of the batter into each pastry case, ensuring the jam is covered by the mix (but avoid overfilling them). 

Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the tarts from the tin and transferring to a wire rack.

Everyone loves a bakewell tart. Sweet almond, with tart jam to balance it, makes for a delicious treat that surely can’t be slimming friendly

Preheat the oven to 190c/fan 170c/gas 5. Heat the almond milk in a pan over a low heat, but do not let it boil. 

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in the warmed milk. If you’re using four 10cm (4in) ovenproof ramekins, place six cubes of bread in the bottom of each one.

Top with six slices of plum, sprinkle each with half a teaspoon of sweetener, then place another six cubes of bread on top.

Divide the egg mix equally among the four dishes, top each one with two slices of plum, and sprinkle with the remaining sweetener. 

Allow to stand for 5 minutes so the bread can absorb the custard. (Alternatively, you could layer each ingredient in one 23cm/9in ovenproof dish.)

Place the ramekins or baking dish on a baking tray. (You can freeze the pudding at this point for cooking on another day.)

It’s hard to believe a creme brulee could appear among these recipes, but here it is and it’s an absolute treat of a dessert. 

By swapping a few of the classic ingredients, you can save on calories while not compromising on the taste. 

This will become a firm favourite for dinner parties – and a dessert you can enjoy without any fear of overindulging.

Preheat the oven to 190c/fan 170c/gas 5 and place six ovenproof ramekins in a large, deep baking dish. 

Put the milk, eggs and yolks, vanilla and sweetener in a large jug and mix really well – you’re not trying to whisk any air into the mixture, so just mix it gently with a fork until all the egg is fully combined.

Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins, then carefully fill the baking dish with boiling water until it reaches about half-way up the sides of the ramekins. 

Place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set. Remove from the oven, take the ramekins out of the baking dish and leave to cool. 

Once cool, sprinkle a teaspoon of caster sugar onto each creme brulee and shake gently so the sugar covers the top.

Melt the sugar with a blowtorch, then wait for the sugar to harden and form a crunchy top before serving. 

If using a grill, place the creme brulee as close to the grill as possible and make sure the sugar doesn’t burn — and, again, leave to cool and let the sugar set before serving. 

Creme Brulee. Melt the sugar with a blowtorch, then wait for the sugar to harden and form a crunchy top before serving

Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4 and spray a 15cm (6in) ovenproof dish with low-calorie cooking spray.

Add the rice, sweetener and coconut milk to the dish and stir well to dissolve the sweetener. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes.

(You can allow the pudding to cool, then cover and freeze at this point for reheating on another day.)

Pina Coloda baked rice pudding. When ready to serve, spoon it into two bowls and top with the pineapple and lime

Pinch Of Nom staples, these muffins are perfect for a packed lunch or a picnic, and the base mix is so versatile. 

We’ve provided three classic ideas below — each filling makes four muffins — but you can add any vegetables you like.

Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4) and spray a 12-hole muffin tray with some low-calorie cooking spray. 

Breakfast muffins. Pinch Of Nom staples, these muffins are perfect for a packed lunch or a picnic, and the base mix is so versatile

To make the garlic mushroom muffins, spray a small frying pan with some low-calorie cooking spray, place over a medium heat then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 4 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and any moisture from them has evaporated. 

To make the spinach, red pepper and paprika muffins, divide the spinach between four of the muffin holes. 

To make the broccoli, red onion and black pepper muffins, divide the broccoli and red onion between the remaining muffin holes.

Pour the egg mix into each of the muffin cups. Top the mushroom muffins with some chopped parsley, the spinach ones with paprika and the broccoli ones with some pepper. Bake the muffins in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

These hash browns taste just as good as the classic fry-up ones, but because you fry them in low-calorie cooking spray instead of calorific pools of oil, they are so much lighter.

Preheat the oven to 190c/fan 170c/gas 5, line a baking tray with baking parchment and spray the parchment with low-calorie cooking spray.

Coarsely grate the potatoes into a large bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Mix together by hand – the mixture should become more starchy and sticky as you mix. 

Shape the potato mixture into eight flat trianglular shapes (or rounds, if you prefer) and spray them with low-calorie cooking spray. 

(You can freeze them at this point – just pop some baking parchment between each one before freezing so you can easily separate them.)

Place on the lined baking tray and cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Spray the tops with low-calorie cooking spray again, turn them over, spray the other side, and cook for another 15 minutes.

Serve the hash browns straight from the oven with fried eggs, if you like (but don’t forget to count the extra calories).

Cook's tip: Xanthan gum acts as a binding agent. It is a gluten-free substitute so you’ll find it in ‘free from’ supermarket aisles

These hash browns taste just as good as the classic fry-up ones, but because you fry them in low-calorie cooking spray instead of calorific pools of oil, they are so much lighter 

This breakfast is delicious and indulgent, without all the calories of a traditional French toast recipe.

Grill or fry the bacon until it’s as crispy as you like it. Add the sweetener to the beaten eggs in a shallow bowl and stir, then soak each bread triangle in the sweetened egg mixture. 

Spray a non-stick frying pan with some low-fat cooking spray and place it over a high heat. Put the bread triangles in the pan and turn the heat down to medium. 

Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then turn them over carefully. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. 

Maple & bacon French toast with fruit. This breakfast is delicious and indulgent, without all the calories of a traditional French toast recipe

Hannah Brunnock, 22, a medical student from Newport, South Wales, bought the first Pinch Of Nom book last spring after joining a national slimming club where fellow dieters raved about the recipes. 

It meant she swapped a typical student diet of takeaways and pizza for healthy meals cooked from scratch. 

Hannah Brunnock, 22, says she lived off takeaways and pizzas and when she did cook, it was always rice or pasta with sauce from a jar

Sitting down with my parents, watching them tuck into a meal I’ve just cooked for them myself gives me a real sense of pride. 

My mum’s a brilliant home cook, and sets the bar really high — to hear her praise what I’ve made feels great.

I left for university five years ago, able to cook just one dish: spaghetti bolognese. And I rarely even attempted that. 

Instead, like so many students, I lived off takeaways and pizzas — on the rare occasion I did cook for myself it was always rice or pasta with sauce from a jar. Unsurprisingly, my waistline paid the price.

Last year I got fed up with being overweight, having gained more than 4 st, and joined a slimming club.

I didn’t look back. People posted pictures of how the recipes had turned out for them — the food looked brilliant and I felt inspired.

I bought the book in May; the first recipe I tried was breakfast apple and cinnamon pancakes and I was delighted with how they turned out.

I took pictures and showed them to everyone, even posting them online — the feedback was so positive. 

That inspired me, and I still go back to that recipe when I want something that feels a bit special for breakfast.

I never used to have the confidence to cook for other people — the idea of the food I made being judged always put me off. 

But now I love getting friends over or cooking for my family: I can’t wait to hear what they think of my latest creation.

Pinch Of Nom has opened up a whole new world for me: cooking has become a talking point now, and I don’t feel like I’m on a diet because I’m eating the same as everyone else.

The weight has dropped off, and I’ve gained a new skill — and thanks to the Pinch Of Nom Facebook group I also feel part of a community of people who love to cook as much as I now do.

To buy a copy of either book for £13.99 (a 30 per cent discount), go to mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648155. 

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