Healthy Eating- there’s a snack to it….

OK OK – you’ll have to forgive me for the terrible pun, but stay with me…

The past few weeks have been ridiculously busy for me at work, and as a result, healthy eating has gone out of the window. The main culprit – snacking.

I’ve become quite conscious about this and faced with the option of avoiding snacking all together (which would never happen!), I’ve been on the hunt for easy to prepare in advance snacks – that you can also freeze. I’m happy to say that I’ve found some fantastic recipes which freeze perfectly meaning that you can simply take what you need out of the freezer for the day ahead which adds absolutely no time on to your morning routine – but which does mean you have some healthy options for when hunger sneaks up on you.

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Sweet

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Oat & Date Cereal Bars

  • 200g oats
  • 100g dates, pitted
  • 150ml water
  • 100g raisins
  • 3tbsp maple syrup
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 3tbsp coconut oil
  • 2tbsp chia seeds with 8tbsp water (mix and leave for 10 minutes)
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp mixed spice

Put the dates in a saucepan with the coconut oil and gently cook for about 5 minutes until they soften. Next pour into a blender with the water and blend into a smooth paste.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together well. Make sure that the mixture doesn’t look too dry – if it does, then add a bit more maple syrup. Pour onto a lined baking tray and flatten down. Pop into the oven and cook for 30 minutes at 180C, or until golden on the top.

Allow to cool before cutting into rectangles – or whatever shape you want!

Coconut & Chocolate Flapjack Squares

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  • 75g coconut oil
  • 50g wild honey
  • 50g palm coconut sugar
  • 40g plain flour
  • 40g ground almonds
  • 3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g oats
  • 1/2tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 175g raisins
  • 75g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped (+70%)

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan then remove from the heat and add the honey and coconut sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, oats and salt. Stir in the coconut oil, honey and sugar, then add the egg, raisins and chocolate and mix well.

Tip into a lined baking tray and spread out. Bake for 12 minutes at 200C. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Savoury

These savoury balls are high in protein and low in fat, making them a great snacking option. They are also packed full of flavour which makes them a very tasty afternoon treat. 

Pork Tikka Balls

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For the tikka paste

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3cm fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (preferably kashmiri)
  • 1tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 2tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2tbsp tomato puree

Dry fry all the spices on a medium heat until golden and fragrant. Next put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste.

For the balls

  • 500g lean pork mince (you can also use turkey or chicken mince if you’d prefer)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 4-6 tsp tikka paste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Finely dice the onion and put into a bowl along with all the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and combine with your hands. Add more tikka paste if you think it’s required and keep blending between your fingers. Put it all into a food processor and blitz until it forms a thick paste. Not too long – about 10-15 seconds should do it.

Roll into small bite sized balls – I would say 2-3cm in diameter but it depends on how big you want your snack to be! Place them all on a greased tray and bake in the oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes or until they start to get a little bit of colour.

Leave to cool, and enjoy.

Vietnamese Chicken & Lemongrass Balls

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This recipe is taken from Dr Rupy Aujla’s book ‘The Doctor’s Kitchen’. The use of lemongrass gives a beautifully light and fresh taste – good luck not eating all of these before they cool enough to go in the freezer! Best make a second batch..

  • 5cm piece of lemongrass (tender base only), finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coconut cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 5cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp reduced- salt soy sauce
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • 300g skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 50g chestnut mushrooms, chopped

Put the lemongrass, coconut cream, garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, spring onion and coriander into a blender and blitz into a rough paste. Add the chicken and mushrooms and blitz again until roughly chopped.

Roll into little balls, again I’d suggest 2-3cm, and put onto a greased tray. Pop in the oven and bake at 180C for 12-15 minutes or until golden – et voila.

*For the savoury balls I wrap them in packs of four before putting in the freezer as I think four is about right for a busy day! 

 

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