Cheesecake, muffins and parfaits are some of the no-no foods people tend to long for when on a diet. Dream no more. The Bermuda Diabetes Association has released a new calendar with recipes of these foods and many others. Delicious and healthy, they’re appropriate for people with diabetes and anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. If you’ve bought diabetes cookbooks before or tried diabetic-friendly recipes you might be doubtful. Such recipes can taste bland, especially to someone accustomed to pouring salt and sugar into their food. The creators of this calendar say their recipes are anything but tasteless. “People tease me about making food spicy,” said dietitian Jessica Wade who organised the calendar with Annabel Fountain, Courtney Minors and Sara McKittrick. “But the spice is optional. Most of the recipes that are spicy have pepper flakes or some type of pepper in the recipe. “You can always take that out, or double it, depending on your preference. “We went middle-of-the-road to what we thought people liked, to keep it good for everyone. We added lots of spices and lots of fresh herbs.” The cheesecake recipe is titled “less guilt” and includes reduced fat and no-fat cream cheese. It was so good the calendar creators had a hard time keeping the cheesecake around long enough to photograph it. “I liked the cheesecake the best,” said Dr Fountain, who specialises in diabetes care. “I want to do the whole calendar on desserts next year, but we haven’t decided yet. “This recipe was really good. I made the cheesecake and it was supposed to have photographs taken of it the next day. “I took it to work and it was someone’s leaving do. They begged me to let people eat it at the party, so it never got photographed. Courtney had to make the next one because I didn’t have time to make another. “When dietitian Debbie Jones tried it, she didn’t believe it was diet. It is really, really good. The base of it has butter and sugar in it, but that is the only bit that has actual sugar.” Dr Fountain said the easy thing about putting together the calendar was the level of enthusiasm from everyone involved. “The original idea for the calendar came from Kuni Frith Black,” said Dr Fountain. “She was our executive director last year. “Unfortunately she was made redundant but we liked her idea and wanted to move forward with it.” The calendar was organised and constructed during their personal time the project lasted from June to August. “We cooked some of the recipes together and used different people’s houses with different rooms to set up the staging,” said Dr Fountain. “One recipe was photographed on the floor, because the floorboards contrasted well with the colour of the dessert. We worked as a good team. It was a lot of hard work.” The team was particularly pleased to include late dietitian Janet Burrell’s lower-calorie cassava pie recipe. The recipe reduced the calories by 300. “She was completely dedicated to health and helping diabetics,” said Dr Fountain. “We acknowledge her in the calendar for giving us this recipe. “We used three different versions of it to taste-test. We had a focus group, and we had tastings in the diabetes classes we offer. “Then everyone who came in for diabetes follow-ups was brought in to try it. “We sent them home with samples for their mothers, mothers-in-law and grandparents and asked if this tasted traditional. Twenty-five out of 30 people said they couldn’t taste the difference.” However, Dr Wade cautioned that just because these recipes were lower fat or lower sugar, didn’t mean that you could go hog wild. Portion size was still important. “Christmas is a hard time for everyone in terms of watching what they eat,” she said. “Just because it is in the diabetes calendar doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without a portion whether you have diabetes or whether you are trying to watch your weight. “You can’t make cassava pie low-calorie, not if it is to taste the way you want it to taste. Have it, enjoy it, but eat in moderation.” Various grocery stores will sell the special cassava this year. The calendar includes suggested portion sizes and information about starch ratios for meal planning. There are also diabetes health tips provided by Ms McKittrick. The calendars are sold in stores all over Bermuda. For more information telephone 297-8427 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Useful website www.diabetes.bm.