Great snack recipes to energise and satisfy

One of my irritations is ‘healthy recipe makeovers’ – you know the ones, where you take traditional recipes and try to cut back on fat, salt, sugar or substitute alternative (so-called healthier) ingredients. I understand the good intentions, but often find that by doing this you come up with less than satisfying results and generally feel a little cheated. The classic example being the old ‘coconut essence in evaporated skim milk’ used to replace real coconut milk….arghhhh, so wrong!

Its basically the same as a lot of ‘diet’ products on the market that cut back on fat and then need to pack in so many artificial additives and chemicals (or in a lot of cases refined sugar) just to make them palatable. It makes no sense when a little bit of the real thing can be so satisfying, ultimately more nutritious and you don’t feel as if you are being deprived or missing out (and for those of you familiar with it, a lot less chance of spiralling out of control in to an all out binge!)

As we have been tweaking the food we eat ‘post celebratory season’, i’ve been incorporating some more healthy snacks in to our repertoire. What I love about these dips are the fact that they are age-old traditional recipes not trying to be more of one thing or less of another…they simply are what they are…straightforward, tasty, nutritious and filling. I certainly haven’t found anything better ready-made, nor easier to whip up in a couple of minutes with just some basic ingredients…

My Hummus

(I use a small processor attachment that comes with my stab blender – its perfect for this amount and I can store it in the fridge, without having to transfer to another bowl or container – the whole process literally takes a few minutes)

Blend together 1 tin organic chickpeas (Bio Nature is good or Coles do an organic range) with a good glug of quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, a generous tablespoon of tahini (hulled or unhulled – your choice) the juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon and some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I tend to prefer a more rustic, not too runny consistency, but differs every time I make it. Have a taste and see if you think it needs more lemon juice, olive oil or seasoning…you’ll get to know what you prefer once you make it a few times!

You can also experiment by adding herbs like italian parsley or coriander, a pinch of ground cumin or sweet paprika, or even a little crushed garlic. I like it with some brown rice crackers* for a snack, or with pita bread and lots of salad (grated carrot, beetroot, tomato, salad leaves, basil and avocado) for an oh-so healthy tasting lunch. So much better than any store bought hummus I have tried.

*Be careful about which rice crackers you buy…most flavoured varieties have so many additives I would class them as junk food. The brand I buy is found in a lot of supermarket health food aisles and is simply made from brown rice, soy and seaweed, nothing else!

For an italian variation try using white beans instead…

White Bean Dip

(recipe and image above from ‘Theo & Co’, published by UWAP , photography by Craig Kinder)

Place a 400g can organic cannellini beans (drained and rinsed), 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, pinch sea salt and cracked black pepper in a food processor and pulse gently until the mixture is broken down slightly.

Next, at a slow speed, drizzle approx 80 mls extra virgin olive oil into the mix. The end result is a light and creamy dip.

Other ideas for healthy snacks that pack a protein punch

Getting all scientific and analysing nutrients in minute detail really isn’t the Équilibre style – all you really need to know is that a little extra protein incorporated in to your day (along with your fruit and veges) can help maintain energy levels, make you feel satisfied and assist your body to build and repair tissue, especially when you are doing a few weight/strengthening sessions, as I am at the moment.

Aside from meat, fish and eggs, your best choices of protein rich foods are nuts, seeds, legumes and good quality dairy. As well as the recipes above, try these snack ideas (providing you or your family have no relevant allergies, of course)

  • Fresh berries (or other fruit) with some plain full fat organic yoghurt (don’t even think about diet yoghurt or most low fat flavoured yoghurts for that matter!)
  • a small handful of nuts (as fresh as you can purchase)
  • your own homemade muesli slice made using real butter, 100% peanut butter and plenty of added seeds and nuts.
  • 100% nut butter (from your supermarket health food aisle) on corn/buckwheat/rice crispbreads, or toasted rye bread

Happy snacking!

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