Healthy Nibbles: 4 Protein & Fibre-licious-Based Snacks [Vegan, No Added Sugars & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

With an early Easter looming around the next corner, we are probably all considering not only what sort of ‘treat’ we ‘might’ be giving as gifts when we make our holiday visits or are looking at buying or preparing for ourselves.

Well…with our permanent and healthy lifestyle changes now in full swing, we should all know that planning is everything, particularly when trying to eat healthily on more days than none. Meal prepping and planning healthy meals and snacks ahead of time can help us avoid temptations and overdoing it on sweet/salty/high calorie options.

Healthy snacks, especially ones that contain a good source of lean protein and/or fibre are great for filling us up and giving us that lovely dose of satiety; breeding the confidence that we need to fight off sugar cravings and reach our goals.

So as we love you all so much and always want to help assist you in living a healthy, happy and nutritious lifestyle, we’ve prepared four lovely snacks that you and your family and enjoy over this long weekend and even beyond Easter! We only hope that you enjoy them as much as we did.

Happy cooking (and snacking) everyone! 😀

 

4 Healthy Protein & Fibre-licious Based Snacks!

 

Roasted Chickpeas

Serves: 3-4
Prep: 10 mins-2 hrs (*Depends upon how long you want to marinate your legumes.)
Cooking: 30-40 mins

Now there are lots of roasted chickpea recipes floating about, so is not a new recipe, or even very original, but it’s definitely one that is effortless (really anyone can make it); it’s a tasty, filling, versatile and cheap snack! The types of things you can use to flavour chickpeas are endless but some ideas include: curry paste (or your favourite type of ethnic paste) or other condiments (tahini, horseradish, vinegar or tamari would work well!), ground spices mixed with oil, a little oil with some plain old salt and pepper or even fresh herbs. For this batch one of our key ingredients was some delicious harrisa paste (which is why the chickpeas look so dark!). If you have the time, marinate some chickpeas overnight for an extra flavour boost!

Keep them in a nut dish for family and friends to nibble on, swap them for your typical high calorie movie snacks, or even keep them in your purse (in an air-tight bag) for when you (or your family) get the munchies on the go. For the extra keen, try roasting a variety of cooked beans (or even nuts) for a tasty Easter ‘pick-a-mix’ that won’t cause cavities or fuel sugar cravings (well, we can hope)! 

 

Silken Tofu Caprese Salad

Serves: 4-8
Prep & Assembly:≤ 10-15 mins

So when some people may think of what constitutes a high protein snack, they may think about cheese, particularly those that do not exclusively follow a plant-based meal plan. Well, many, many, many years ago I used to enjoy the occasional bit of salad tomato with buffalo mozzarella. I think it was the way the combination of the fresh and juicy tomato (and basil) tasted with the ‘texture’ of the cheese; I can’t really remember but my tastes and preferences have moved on since then.

We had the idea of using silken tofu, because it’s kind of soft, delicate and squishy like cheese…. and then our silken tofu caprese salad recipe came to fruition! We‘ve seen recipes that salt ‘firm’ tofu to create a similar dish, but no one needs lots of added salt in their lives. This is an extremely simple salad recipe that requires no cooking, takes minutes to prepare and can be served as a snack option. It’s best when made using ripe and ready tomatoes, which unfortunately are not available on our doorsteps this time of year (so many apologies for increasing your carbon footprint!)… but you might have to make one exception in this case! Serve this alongside a plate of multi-grain crackers, oat or brown rice cakes or crisp breads for a light, tasty and filling snack.  

 

Carrot and Houmous Pots 

Serves: 4
Prep & Assembly: ≤10 mins

Ok so this recipe idea is actually courtesy of ASDA (thanks guys)! Everyone (well probably almost everyone!) has eaten houmous and crudities at some point in their lives… and why not?! Fresh vegetables are ace and when served with freshly made houmous, you couldn’t ask for very much more from a snack!

It’s a wonderful, quick and healthful convenience food that is packed with carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals; just perfect. The theme of this carrot and houmous pot is based around Easter and a cute little vegetable patch! If you’ve never tried houmous, it’s never too late and/or if you are looking for a recipe that requires no cooking… or need a darling idea to help your little ones to eat their veggies, this might do the trick. 😉

 

Protein Packed Blinis w/ Horseradish Sauce, Roasted Red Pepper and Dill

Yields: 66-68 Blinis
Serves: 16
Prep & Resting Time: 30-60 mins
Cooking: 20-25 mins

Some of you may know that we are not really pancake lovers, particularly sweet ones, but when it comes to blinis (aka little, savoury and bite-sized pancakes), well THAT is another story! This is not a traditional recipe, but it is delicious, full of protein (from soya milk, garam flour and flaxseed, just to name a few!) and ideal for those following alternative diets! 

These are perfect if you want to serve a variety of ‘tastes’ with something other than crackers to your guests and/or family. Our lightly ‘crisped on the outside and fluffy on the inside’ blinis have the right balance of seasoning, durability and flexibility. Make these bite-sized morsels in advance (because they freeze really well!) and serve with an endless amount of toppings. We used a delicious combination of spicy horseradish sauce, roasted red pepper and a tiny sprig of dill; the taste is wonderful and the colours are so inviting, don’t you think?! So get as creative as you like, the world is your oyster (although we wouldn’t personally recommend that as a topping!)

protein packed blinis_garnished_combined_wm_rs

 

Delicious! If you are looking for some further recipe inspiration to help get your snack on, check out these other ideas from our recipe index:

 

If you fancy any of the new (or old recipes), just contact us for an easy-print PDF! 🙂

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Crisps: Is There A Healthy Choice? (Plus Healthy Snack Ideas!)

Diet & Weight Loss

Crisps, potato chips-no matter what we call them, our love affair with them is all the same. Some of us crave an endless list of flavours and varieties; whether they’re baked, deep fried, or kettle cooked … how healthy are they? …And if this is your savoury snack of choice, are you aware of its nutritional consequences?

 

Put those down… and don’t roll your eyes, this is good advice! Photo by: Colette_Flickr

Crisps are notorious for contributing to our daily recommended fat and salt intakes and it’s been shown in a UK government poll that 1/3 of British children (8-15 years) consume crisps on a daily basis; children are led by our example remember?!

That’s a rather disturbing thought considering the current rise in childhood obesity  and how many packets people probably consume per year. Having a standard pack of crisps every day equates to having nearly 3L of oil per year!

 

High intakes of salt can lead to raised blood pressure and cause bloating, whilst high intakes of fat can cause raised cholesterol levels, obesity and other chronic diseases. Those with existing underlying health conditions, or those that are very young or even pregnant have even more of a reason to adhere to healthy eating guidance; for you constipation suffers, excessive intakes will only exacerbate matters. For help on how to distinguish high fat and salt contents on food labelling, check out my other article on ‘5 Steps To Cut Down On Sugar & Why You’ll Be Happier for it! for FSA links.

 

So how have companies responded to increased health warnings? Some have created alternative snacks in their range, e.g. popcorn, whilst others have come out with supposedly healthier varieties, e.g. ‘baked not fired’, ‘70% less fat’, or ‘vegetable-based crisps’ etc. You can see why some companies may be reluctant to do this at first; it would mean that they would have to admit that there current product is inferior…perhaps not so healthy after all??

 

 There are various types of crisp sold in the U.K. Some example include:
McCoy's_Crisps_wikipedia

Look at what’s happened to this lovely, innocent potato! Why do they have crinkles? Did the dip companies request these? Is it another ‘food conspiracy’? Like when we were kids and would have to fight over hot dogs buns because the hot dog bun company would always sell an odd number of buns compared to the actual hot dogs?! …But I have digressed- look at these greasy crisps …or potato chips for all the North American viewers out there!

  • Kettle cooked
  • Preformed & processed crisps
  • Baked crisps
  • Corn based crisps
  • Root Vegetable crisps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So is there a ‘healthy’ option when it comes to crisps?

Let’s review some current brands and see…

 

 

An Average ‘Brand Name’ Serving And How They Weigh Up!

 

The Walkers ‘Baked’ and ‘Pop’ varieties in addition to the ‘POP’ brand & the Plain ‘Doritios’ chips (in a 25g portion) …and perhaps arguably the ‘SunBites’ seem to run ahead of the game as ‘healthier’ (and lower fat) options go, but as with any food its best to eat it in moderation- which doesn’t necessarily mean, every day, every other day or a once a week. NB: The Walkers ‘POP’ & ‘POP’ brand sells their product in a slightly smaller bag/portion size than other name brands. 

This also exposes the circulating myth of ‘kettle crisps’; although the cooking method may technically be ‘healthier’ as conventional cooking methods for crisps oxidises the cooking oil (creating free radicals)… but all you have to do is look at the nutritional information. Kettle crisps do not seem to be any healthier than the traditional crisps.

At the end of the day, potato crisps may provide a source of vitamin C, some B-vitamins and also potassium and vitamin E (from the cooking oil)… but on the other hand they provide us with fat, salt and calories.

 

If you can’t get on with the ‘healthier’ crisp options, try having your favourite type in ‘moderation’ or maybe you could give one of the healthy snack alternatives a try?

 

 

Healthier Savoury Snack Options
  • A portion of unsalted almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or some mixed nuts.
  • Pretzels (unsalted).
  • Baked and seasoned chickpeas, wasabi peas or any other type of legume.
  • Homemade dip, houmous or a savoury yoghurt, e.g. plain yoghurt with fresh herbs and lemon juice, maybe garlic served with crudités  or crackers/wholemeal pitta slices etc.

There are so many types of dips and houmous to choose from, e.g. butter bean, black bean, chickpeas, beetroot, sweet potato, sun dried tomato, artichoke etc!

 

  • Homemade popcorn with seasoning, e.g. a little salt or pepper, cumin, turmeric, paprika or whatever takes your fancy instead of a tonne of salt, sugar, oil or butter.

 

Looks like some sort of  popcorn & crisp slumber party?! You get the idea though-healthier snacks anyone?! Smiley lady not included. Photo by: Wojciech Grzejdziak_Flickr

 

  • Homemade black bean salsa with toasted pitta wedges.
  • Homemade (low-fat) vegetable crisps.
  • Celery sticks with a low-fat cream cheese or some natural(unsalted) nut/seed butter.
  • Some low-fat/salt flavoured rice cakes/crackers.
  • Low-salt corn cakes.
  • Some plain (low-salt, unsalted) rice or oat cakeswith a natural nut butter or low-fat cream cheese with slices of cucumber/tomato.

—>Add apple, grapes, pineapple, strawberries if you prefer a sweeter version!

 

  • A portion of low-fat cheese(30g/matchbox size) and (low-sodium) crackers.

    For all you non-vegans out there- here is a cheese platter. Photo by: Alpha_Flickr

     

  • Cheese on toast! Use some low-fat cheese on multi-grain toast.
  • A portion of olives (approx. 10, depending on type). If in brine, rinse before eating.
  • ‘Mini pizza to go’! Use ½ an English muffin, a small pitta bread or a toritilla wrap with a 1 tsp. of tomato sauce or puree, fresh or dried herbs, some veggies and 15g of low-fat cheese.
  • 2 pieces of sushi or ‘faux ‘sushi (tofu and/or vegetable).
  • A healthy homemade version of ‘egg  or tuna mayo’ on wholegrain crisp breads/wheat crackers.
  • A small portion if cherry or baby plum tomatoes, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, oregano or basil, seasoning and olive oil.

 

Yum! Lovely tomatoes. Photo by: Jacqueline_flickr

 

  • A small portion of tuna or seasoned tofu, white beans, e.g. butter, kidney, cannellini etc and a homemade vinaigrette dressing.
  • Small, homemade, grilled stuffed mushrooms (a little low-fat spread and cheese, green onions, herbs of choice, diced red pepper and bread crumbs) or try a nut or meat version if preferred.
  • 2-3 homemade bilinis with a little horseradish paste, smoked mackerel or tofu and a slice of red pepper or cucumber.

 

 

*For help with healthy portions, check out my portion sizes article !

 

This picture speaks for itself…someone has set this child a bad example and the world has gone mad! Photo by: Foundations UK_Flickr

It’s like they say with anything, keep to eating in ‘moderation’, have suitable portion sizes and realistic views about your food!

 

Whenever you pick up a packet of standard crisps, think about the 100-150 empty’ calories you’ll be consuming; of which 72+ will come from fat! Whilst eating an apple will provide you with much needed vitamins, some minerals, soluble fibre and lovely anti-oxidants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The choice is yours; just make it an informed one!

 

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Loay Tattan_Flickr