Anyone who has a sweet tooth might worry that embarking on a health and weight-loss programme will also entail waving goodbye to desserts and treats.
‘But luckily that’s not the case with WW; no food is off-limits and we believe it’s totally fine to love desserts!’ says Julia Westgarth, head of programme at WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers.
‘Our flexible programme myWW+ gives you the control to spend your SmartPoints however you want, whichever plan you choose to follow; so you’re free to enjoy a sweet treat from time to time.’
‘What’s more, research shows that crash diets and programmes that require you to cut out whole food types are counter-productive; they can cause you to feel deprived so it’s easy to slip back into old habits, triggering cycles of guilt and yo-yo dieting,’ says Julia Westgarth.
‘This is why we encourage you to enjoy food, including sweet treats, at WW, but to make some healthy changes so you stay on track with your weight loss and health goals.’
So today, as we continue our exclusive WW series, we’re focusing on delicious ways to indulge in tempting puddings and desserts, and still watch the pounds melting away.
If you start this week, you could shed up to a stone — and drop a dress size — in time to enjoy the freedoms of summer after lockdown.
Designed by nutritional experts at WW, our sumptuous selection of recipes features clever ingredient swaps to ensure they’re kind to your waistline.
‘For instance, some of our dessert recipes suggest you replace ricotta or full-fat cream with low-fat quark — reducing the calories (and SmartPoints value) without compromising the taste,’ explains Julia.
‘You might also try adding some grated vegetables to a cake recipe. You could try beetroot or courgette instead of the more traditional carrot.’ (Avocado, featured in today’s chocolate cake recipe has a SmartPoints value of 3 on all programmes.)
Other tricks to help you stay on track include using a low-calorie cooking spray instead of butter to cook with and using low-fat dairy products, including 0 per cent fat Greek yoghurt and low-fat soft cheese.
‘You’d never remotely associate a slice of lime cheesecake meringue pie with being on a traditional diet, yet the scrumptious version we feature overleaf today features calorie-controlled cooking spray, low-fat spread, low-fat soft cheese and 0 per cent fat natural Greek yoghurt which all combine to make it lower in SmartPoints,’ explains Julia.
Of course, there are occasions when only a particular cake or pudding will hit the spot. ‘Here the flexibility of myWW+ programme can help; this is where your Rollovers and Weeklies come into their own. Save them up for events like this,’ advises Julia.
And don’t forget you can always supplement your SmartPoints by earning extra FitPoints for any activity you undertake, from gardening to yoga or walking the dog.
And the myWW+ app can suggest a quick on-the-spot workout that will help earn FitPoints to stretch your SmartPoints Budget towards a slice of chocolate avocado cake or a luscious mini lemon and passion fruit cheesecake (both featured here).
If you stay within your SmartPoints Budget, these are just some of the delectable treats you can enjoy guilt-free.
LIME CHEESECAKE MERINGUE PIE
Julia Westgarth, head of programme at WW, said their flexible programme means no delicious food is off-limits – even desserts like a lime cheesecake meringue pie (pictured)
Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 40 minutes
- Calorie-controlled cooking spray
- 7 digestive biscuits
- 40g low-fat spread, melted
- 340g low-fat soft cheese
- 250g 0 per cent fat natural Greek yoghurt
- 250g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
- Zest and juice of 2 limes, plus extra zest to serve
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 160 c/fan 140 c/gas 3. Lightly mist a 23 cm loose-bottomed, fluted tart tin with cooking spray.
Seal the biscuits in a food bag and crush to fine crumbs using a rolling pin. Tip into a bowl and mix in the melted spread and a pinch of salt.
Gently press the mixture into the bottom of the tin in an even layer. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat together the soft cheese, yoghurt, 200 g sugar, 3 eggs, lime zest and juice until smooth. Pour over the crust.
Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes until set. Remove and allow to cool completely.
In the meantime, make the meringue. Put the egg white, remaining sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
Set over a pan of simmering water and whisk by hand for 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the whites are warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and return to the stand mixer.
Whisk for 8-9 minutes to stiff, glossy peaks, starting on a low speed, gradually increasing to high. Mix in the vanilla and a pinch of salt.
Top the cooled cheesecake with the meringue. Brown with a kitchen blowtorch, or put under the grill on a high setting for between 30 seconds and 1 minute.
Sprinkle with the extra lime zest to serve.
myWW+: 9 SmartPoints value (green), 8 SmartPoints value (blue and purple)
VEGAN LEMON AND PASSION FRUIT CHEESECAKES
In the exclusive WW series, the focus is on delicious ways to indulge in desserts, such as vegan lemon and passion fruit cheesecakes (pictured), and still watch the pounds melting away
Prep: 15 minutes + chilling | Cook: 15 minutes
- Calorie-controlled cooking spray
- 4 low-fat digestives (vegan)
- 4 tsp dairy-free spread, melted
- 300g silken tofu, drained
- 100g vegan soft cheese
- 3 tbsp agave syrup
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 3 passion fruits, cut in half, pulp sieved
- l1 tbsp cornflour
Mist 8 x WW 2 in 1 Mini Cake Moulds with cooking spray. Put the digestives into a mini food processor and blitz to a crumb.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the melted spread.
Press the mixture over the bases of the moulds then place them on a baking tray and chill in the freezer while you make the filling.
Heat the oven to 160c/fan 140c/gas 3. Put the tofu and soft cheese in a food processor. Blitz for 1 minute, then add the agave syrup and blitz again.
Whisk together the lemon zest and juice, the sieved passion fruit pulp and the cornflour, then add to the processor.
Blend until smooth then divide between the moulds.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn off the oven, prop the door ajar and leave in the oven to cool completely. Cover and chill in the fridge.
Serve topped with passion fruit pulp, if you prefer.
myWW+: 5 SmartPoints value (green), 4 SmartPoints value (blue and purple)
AVOCADO CHOCOLATE CAKE
The myWW+ app can suggest a quick on-the-spot workout that will help earn FitPoints to stretch your SmartPoints Budget towards a slice of chocolate avocado cake (pictured)
Prep: 20 minutes + cooling l Cook: 45 minutes
- Calorie-controlled cooking spray
- 100g dark chocolate (50% cocoa solids), chopped
- 175g plain flour
- 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 200g fat-free natural yoghurt
- 85g avocado flesh
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp icing sugar, to decorate
- Small handful fresh mint leaves, to decorate
Heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4. Line the base of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper and mist the sides with cooking spray.
Melt the chocolate in a microwavesafe bowl in 20-second bursts, stirring after each microwave burst. Set aside to cool slightly.
Next, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, caster sugar, baking powder, bicarb and a pinch of salt. Place the yoghurt and avocado in a blender and blitz to a purée.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract and blitz again until combined.
Add the yoghurt mixture and melted chocolate to the dry ingredients with 100ml boiling water. Stir until smooth.
Pour into the prepared tin, level with a spatula and bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean from the centre.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with the mint leaves.
myWW+: 6 SmartPoints value (green, blue and purple)
WW’s healthy eating programme, myWW+, works because it’s flexible and based on solid science.
It is based on four key elements: healthy eating, exercise, good sleeping patterns and a mindset package that helps you to adopt a healthier frame of mind.
To tailor your food choices to your lifestyle, myWW+ offers a choice of three plans: Green, Blue and Purple.
You can go to ww.com or the myWW+ app for a personalised assessment to discover which plan is best for you.
All plans are based on SmartPoints and ZeroPoint foods; every food and drink has a SmartPoints value; one easy-to-use number that naturally guides you towards a healthier pattern of eating.
On top of this, you can enjoy ZeroPoint foods; these are vital for your health and have a Smart Points of 0 meaning you can eat them without counting or weighing them.
When you join myWW+, you’re given a customised SmartPoints Budget according to which plan you are matched with. The list of ZeroPoint foods also depends on your plan.
GREEN: For people who eat on the go or enjoy pre-prepared foods, Green gives a Daily Budget of 30 SmartPoints and 100+ ZeroPoint fruits and veggies to choose from.
BLUE: If you like cooking, but also want the flexibility of the occasional ready-meal, Blue offers a Daily Budget of 23 SmartPoints and 200+ ZeroPoint foods.
PURPLE: Tailored for someone who cooks from scratch and doesn’t want to weigh or measure ingredients, Purple gives the lowest Daily Budget of 16 SmartPoints but the highest allowance of 300+ ZeroPoint foods.
You also get a weekly allowance (weeklies) for splurges or bigger portions; up to four unused SmartPoints from your daily Budget can be rolled over to your weeklies.
On top of this, you can also boost your SmartPoints Budget by earning additional FitPoints for any activity you undertake.