New term, and lots more new besides; perhaps a new school, uniform, friends and teachers but one thing remains the same – the desire to eat on walking through the door at the end of a busy day. That ‘wanting something NOW’ feeling leads straight to the snack cupboard for something, in fact anything to satisfy the hunger. The snack gap between finishing school (or work!) and the next meal is probably the main time for fast, easy fillers like crisps, sweets, cake and biscuits. You can only steer yourself and your charges away from these by having an alternative available RIGHT AWAY, so here are a few ideas for healthy snacks that you can prepare beforehand or make quickly and easily.
We all know fruit is a good option but responding to a hungry demand with ‘have an apple’ doesn’t always go down well. Spending a few minutes preparing a colourful fruit salad and leaving it in a large bowl in the fridge can work – different textures and shapes are much more appealing to the taste buds and the eye. All that’s required is dipping in and helping yourself to a small bowl. While chopping a few fruits why not sneak in a little cucumber, sweet pepper or celery. Some nuts and seeds sprinkled over can make a more substantial snack. Or add a little live yoghurt. If you have time, a September walk to a hedgerow with a container for blackberries is a great way to tick the exercise and snack boxes in one go.
If you have a few minutes to prepare your snack, or if children are able to do this for themselves, small ‘boats’ of pitted medjool dates, tiny sweet peppers, little gem lettuce leaves or lengths of celery are marvellous vessels for carrying dips like guacamole and salsa, cream cheese or nut and seed butters.
If you have the oven on, or have a little more than a few minutes to devote to preparing snacks, try something different with chickpeas by roasting them. Open a tin, or of course you can soak and prepare your dried chickpeas beforehand if you have the time…These are a wonderful alternative to crisps if you give them a slightly salty coating. This recipe is from ‘Whole Food Energy’ by Elise Museles.
- 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 190c/375f/5 and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Pat the chickpeas dry (it’s important they are dry before roasting). Place them in a bowl.
Mix the dry spices and salt together in another bowl.
Pour the olive oil over the chickpeas and stir. Add the spice mix and roll the chickpeas to make sure they are evenly coated.
Spread the chickpeas on the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, stir and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown.
Let the chickpeas cool for 10 minutes on the tray to allow them to crisp up.
If you have a favourite dry spice mix in your household you could use that to coat the chickpeas and this recipe lends itself to many hot or herby combinations. Don’t be disheartened if some of your chickpeas taste a little soft – they will crisp up over time.
Sesame Tahini Energy Bites
This next snack takes a little prep time but is so worth the effort, and the mix will sit in the fridge for a few days to be used as needed. Easy, quick and fun to make, no cooking necessary and using ingredients that you could keep in the cupboard. Healthy, tasty and filling, this snack is a real winner. Also from ‘Whole Food Energy’:
- 150g sunflower seeds
- 135g pitted medjool dates
- 40g shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Sesame seeds for rolling
Pulse the sunflower seeds in a food processor until coarsely chopped but still having some texture. Add remaining ingredients except the sesame seeds and pulse until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Roll the mixture into 1” balls. This can be easier with damp hands.
Roll the balls in the sesame seeds to coat, place on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving. Store completed balls in an airtight tin, or freeze then thaw before eating.
My tip is to keep the pulsed mixture in the fridge to roll as required….because these are so delicious that however many you make will be eaten..
If you have more time to prepare a snack then a teabread is a great option. More interesting than a slice of bread, and delicious spread with a little butter, but without the high sugar and fat content of a cake. This recipe is for a Welsh teacake from ‘The Cranks Recipe Book’.
- 300g mixed dried fruit
- 75g raw brown sugar
- Lemon, grated rind of ½
- 400ml hot tea (I used a Lemon and Ginger Rooibos teabag)
- 350g wholemeal flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 free range egg
Put the fruit, sugar, lemon rind and tea in a bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
Strain the fruit and reserve the liquid.
Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, add the fruit and enough liquid to mix to a soft ‘dropping’consistency – all the liquid may be needed.
Pour into a greased and base-lined 2lb loaf tin
Bake at 190c/375f/5 for 45-50 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
Cool on a wire tray.
Enjoy making /eating/sharing some alternative snacks!
Sue White Natural Health Practitioner
Tel: 07963 875142