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Boost your starters and desserts

76% of consumers said starters must look and sound amazing and would appeal more if they included healthy options. 25% of consumers in full service restaurants are looking for healthy options that still deliver on flavour.* For maximum appeal your starter and dessert menu should include indulgent AND healthy options.

Here are some tips on boosting flavour, adding excitement and making them healthier.




  • Soups are a great low calorie alterative that you can make with virtually any ingredient. Top herbs, seeds, nuts, fresh vegetables or low fat yoghurt
  • Salads are great starters, they help balance a meal, help towards 5-a-day and appeal to guests looking for a healthy option
  • Braise broad beans and artichokes in bouillon for extra flavour and as a low fat alternative (bouillons contain salt so cooking instructions must be followed)
  • When creating risottos use less butter but flavour the rice by simmering in a full flavoured low sodium stock (stocks contain salt so cooking instructions must be followed to avoid over salting)
  • When serving a carpaccio of beef, add flavour and texture with thin slices of beetroot
  • Excite guests by mixing tropical fruits with seafood. Try green papaya with shallots and prawns



  • Use toasted wholegrain bread crumbs as a healthier topping to a favourite pudding
  • Make a fruit dessert with some stewed fruit, fat free yoghurt. Add currants to the dessert for sweetness
  • Use sweet fruit or raisins to flavour cakes and biscuits
  • Sorbets are light, quick and can give a real flavour hit. Try creating a fruit sorbet with an extra unusual ingredient such as tea. Try Orange sorbet with chamomile, or mango sorbet with Earl Grey
  • Offer puréed stewed fruit with custard or yoghurt
  • Garnish your desserts with fresh fruit and mint leaves. It adds colour and appeal

*2009 American Express MarketBrief – March