Throughout this series we’ve examined how essential it is to offer a minimum of two courses, plus menu options, at both lunch and evening meal times. When it comes to desserts, the nutritional value plus the eating enjoyment that they can provide is particularly important. Healthier dessert choices can include fresh and canned fruit, yogurts and ice cream, with the more energy dense options including crumbles, cakes and sponges.

Ideally, desserts should contain at least 300 calories and 5g protein per serving* for those who are nutritionally vulnerable; for instance, this fresh Cranachan Panna Cotta, made using Carte D’or Panna Cotta powdered dessert base, does just that. Offering desserts with milk-based accompaniments such as custard, cream and ice cream can also add additional calories, hydration and protein where needed.



  • Offer residents a choice, including a healthier option and a more energy-dense dessert.
  • Hot desserts can be comforting, especially during the colder months, whereas cold desserts can be refreshing and ideal for warmer weather.
  • Offering fruit-based desserts can help your residents reach their 5-a-day.
  • Offer desserts with enough calories and protein for residents at risk of malnutrition.
  • Fortify desserts if needed – butter, cream, milk powder, honey and jam can all help add extra calories. For example, try this Banana Brûlée Custard Pot made using double cream.
  • Savoury desserts like cheese and biscuits or a scone and butter would also be suitable for residents without a ‘sweet tooth’.

*British Dietetic Association - The Nutrition and Hydration Digest, Improving outcomes through food and beverage services