Most of us are very busy people and we don’t always have time to prepare very complicated and fancy foods.
Here are some healthy snacks which are quick, simple and easy to prepare yourself, but before I do, I also want to tell you the benefits of these snacks so that you know the “why” you are eating them and how they’ll impact your body.
What's the best snack you can get?
Let’s get started. One of the best snacks that you can get is a combination of nuts and seeds and dried fruits.
These are absolutely great. They’re little powerhouses of energy and nutrition.
Walnuts look like little brains are wonderful for brain function. They contain omega-3 which are also great for your hair and your skin.
Brazil nuts are great for general repair, they are really good for your hormones, and they’re great for your skin. These are your anti-aging nuts, if you like.
Almonds are higher in protein, they also have vitamin E which is great for your skin. Almonds are also high in calcium and magnesium, so they’re going to be really good for your teeth, bones, nail and hair.
Hazelnuts are full of fiber. These are really good for you if your bowels are a little bit sluggish and for your hair and skin as well.
We’ve got pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds which are full of good oils that are going to help your joints, going to help brain function, and they’re also full of magnesium, calcium and zinc. Zinc is especially beneficial to your immune system keeping you healthy.
We’ve got dried fruit, just a little bit of dried fruit. Don’t have too much, because these are full of sugar. This is a great little handful. What you can do is you can put it in a little container and take it to work or carry it around in your handbag.
I am sure a lot of you are thinking about the calorie content 'oh nuts and seeds they’re really high in calories', but there will be less calories in this little handful than there will in a jam doughnut or a couple of chocolate biscuits. You’re not actually getting good nutrition from those junk foods – yet this handful of trail mix is going to be so nutritious with just about everything you need to keep you going until your next meal.
A savoury choice
If you fancy something a little bit more savoury, what you can do is roast them. Put them in a bowl, add a tiny drop of olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt or soy sauce and spread them on a baking tray.
Have your oven reasonably hot. Spread the nuts and the seeds on the tray. Roast them in the oven maybe for about 15 to 20 minutes until they’re dry and crispy. You can then cool them. These will keep in the fridge for a good number of days. Again, this is something if you fancy more of a savoury snack rather than something sweet.
What about vegetables?
We’ve got raw vegetables. We call them crudités. Use a nice little jar, which is easy to carry. Add in the humus on the bottom and then chop things like celery, cucumbers and carrots. Put them in the jar standing upright where the bottom part is in the dip. It’s an absolutely fabulous snack, and the hummus has lovely oils and fats which will keep your blood sugars stable.
Nut butters are a favourite quick afternoon or morning snack. Have one or two teaspoons of peanut butter. You can also use other nut butters such as almond butter or cashew nut butter as well. Again, you can just take them off the spoon. Don’t have too many. You can actually go a little bit overboard so try and keep to a couple of teaspoons full.
If you’re going for things like peanut butter, make sure there’s no sugar and hydrogenated fats in it and low salt. You can also use these on oat cakes. Just spread a little bit and stick them together. Have a little bit of a peanut butter sandwich, if you like.
At this particular point, I wouldn’t recommend rice cakes purely because they are very high carbohydrate. They will break down very quickly, and they’ll give you a bit of a sugar hit, which is not what you want. Oat cakes are great because they release energy really, really slowly.
This is a fabulous snack to take with you. It’s full of protein, will help to keep you going. I usually hard boil mine. You can either slice the eggs , place them in a little container with some sliced tomato and a little bit of salt and pepper, or you can mash it up with a little bit of organic mayonnaise, a sprinkle of curry powder and just eat it off the spoon. This is quite a filling snack and can be quite handy especially when you have a long time to wait before your next meal.
Having snacks at night before you go to bed is really important especially if you are not sleeping well and if you’re waking up in the middle of the night maybe with a little bit of palpitations. This is very often due to the fact that your blood sugar levels are so low that your body is waking up in a panic.
They are best to eat about one hour before you go to sleep.
Full fat Greek yoghurt or sheep’s/goat’s yogurt (strained) together with some cocoa powder. Don’t use a low fat version because you need the full fat to help keep your blood sugars level for as long as possible. Cocoa powder has only 25 calories per teaspoon so this is a great indulgent snack.
All you need is 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt and a heaped teaspoon of the cocoa powder. This will taste like chocolate mousse. It’s an ideal snack if you’re getting the sweet munchies at night, maybe if you’re watching TV or reading and you just feel like a little bit of chocolaty something. The other good thing about this snack is that cocoa powder is high in magnesium which will actually help you sleep.
2 tablespoons full fat Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoon cocoa or cacao powder
½ teaspoon honey
How to make:
1. Add Greek yoghurt and cocoa/cacao to bowl.
2. Stir slowly.
3. Ready to serve.
Little energy balls
They’re great to carry with you. They’re great for that mid-afternoon slump.
Cinnamon and Chia Seed Energy Balls
250g pitted Medjool dates
4 – 6 tblsp of water
2 handfuls of sunflower seeds
2 tblsp of chia seeds
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla extract
How to make:
1. Simmer dates in a saucepan with water on a low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Whizz all other ingredients, in a food processor for a couple of seconds, until they’ve almost formed a flour-like consistency.
3. Drain and add dates to the food processor – making sure no water from the saucepan goes in.
4. Blend until a sticky paste is formed.
5. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the mixture, and roll into balls with your hands.
6. Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.
Don’t go overboard with these. They are, as I say, little energy balls. They’re powerhouses of nutrition. One or two would be more than enough to actually see you through the break until your next meal.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !