Snacking - it’s the dietary downfall for the majority of people. You’ve set yourself up for a day of honest, healthy eating only to find that by the mid-morning slump you’re already reaching for something either smothered in chocolate or a cardboard-esque bar that’s low in calories but offers no nutritional value. So, what can we do to help ensure we give our diets and snack time problems a #StartBetter boost this 2015?
We reached out to GTG expert and author of Super Healthy Snacks and Treats , Jenna Zoe , for her top five recipes that pack in the nutrition without compromising on taste for when the hunger pangs strike.
1. Protein Bars
It’s so easy to think that shop bought protein bars are good for us because of their clever marketing and tasty flavours. However, in reality most of them are full of isolated ingredients synthesized unnaturally in a lab. Having said that, what the bars do have in their favour is convenience. These homemade versions take less than five minutes to prepare and can be kept in your freezer for up to three weeks at a time, so that you never need to be stuck for a protein-rich snack.
2 scoops of protein powder of choice
60 ml canned, unsweetened puréed pumpkin
60 ml almond butter (drain off the oil before measuring)
xylitol or stevia, to taste (optional)
6 tablespoons buckwheat groats
baking dish, about 23 x 10 cm, lightly greased with coconut oil
Put the protein powder, pumpkin and almond butter in a bowl and mix to combine. Add sweetener to taste – I find that the protein powder and pumpkin make it plenty sweet on its own, but adjust it so that it tastes good to you. Stir in the buckwheat groats. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish, level it out with the back of a spoon and freeze for at least one hour.
2. Cocoa-almond freezer fudge pops
It’s very common for women to crave chocolate at certain points in their cycles: what we’re actually lacking is a hit of magnesium, which helps regulate the nervous system and aids sleep too. Chocolate is never something I’ve felt I had to give up in my quest to be healthy, but there are definitely ways to “upgrade” your chocolate fix. If you can find raw cocoa powder, use it in this recipe as its potency is greater than that of regular cocoa powder.
70 ml almond butter (drain off the oil before measuring)
2 teaspoons ground flaxseeds
1 large teaspoon coconut oil
1 large teaspoon xylitol
11⁄2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably raw), plus extra for dusting
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
for an extra boost, add 1 teaspoon espresso powder
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Divide the mixture into 8 and roll each portion into a ball between the palms of your hands. Dust in cocoa powder. Freeze the fudge pops for at least 30 minutes and consume straight from the freezer. Store in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.
3. Almond-flax crackers
Surprisingly, these crackers win over even the biggest healthy-eating sceptics. I bring them over to dinner parties as a thank you, or give them away as gifts. They make a great alternative to bread when you want something a little more nutrient-dense. Use them as dippers, top them with sliced veggies for your kid’s lunchbox, or crumble them on top of a salad. Having a batch of these on hand keeps me away from the chips...
1⁄4 red onion
70 g almonds
70 g flaxseeds/linseeds
2 tablespoons miso paste
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper
baking sheet lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 180 ÌŠC (350 ÌŠF) Gas 4. Slice the red onion very thinly and set aside.In a food processor fitted with an “S” blade, blitz the almonds until they start to form a fine powder, remove and set aside. Now blitz the flaxseeds/linseeds in the processor until they start to form a fine powder. It’s really important you don’t do the almonds and seeds at the same time as they are different sizes and you will get an uneven texture; and if you overprocess them, you will get a paste rather than a fine meal, so don’t blitz them for too long. Now add the ground almonds to the ground flaxseeds/linseeds in the food processor, along with the red onion, miso paste, water, salt, garlic powder, cumin and pepper to taste. Blitz until you have a smooth paste. Spread the cracker dough over the prepared baking sheet. Put another sheet of parchment on top and use a rolling pin or plastic ruler to apply pressure to the surface in order to get the dough smooth and even. It should be about 1 cm thick. Bake in the preheated oven for 16–18 minutes, until the middle is no longer soft. Allow to cool slightly, then break into pieces to serve.
4. Edamame and miso dip
Like the rest of the nation, I love hummus. The only problem with consuming it every day is that it doesn’t help you vary your nutrients very much. So I tried to play on variations of a bean-based spread, using edamame (soy) beans, which are so underrated in my opinion. They are full of calcium and are a rare plant source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This dip is a fun way to consume them - eat it with cut veggies or in a sandwich with avocado, cucumber, carrots and ginger.
Makes 1 cupful
200 g shelled edamame beans (fresh, or frozen and thawed)
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons sweet white miso paste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon wasabi paste
Put nearly all the edamame beans (reserving some for decoration) and the water in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well so that everything is well incorporated. Decorate with the reserved edamame beans. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
5. Protein pancakes
With a healthy makeover, you can have these any day of the week rather than saving them for an indulgent Sunday brunch. Sometimes, when I’m wiped out at the end of the day, I whip these up for dinner and I never feel guilty about it...
6 tablespoons gluten-free plain flour of choice
1 scoop of protein powder of choice
1⁄2 tablespoon xylitol or stevia, or other granulated sweetener
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 small banana
1 tablespoon non-dairy milk of choice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon coconut oil
berries of choice and maple syrup, or dark chocolate chips, to serve
In a bowl, combine the flour, protein powder, sweetener, baking powder and salt. Separately, mash the banana until no lumps remain, then add the milk and vanilla extract. Mix the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients until well combined. Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat so that it coats the bottom of the pan. Spoon a quarter of the pancake batter at a time into the pan, then flip the pancake over when you see it start to bubble. Cook until golden underneath. Remove the pancake from the pan and keep it warm while you make the remaining pancakes with the rest of the batter. Serve with berries and a touch of maple syrup for a healthy option, or dark chocolate chips for a treat.
What tasty treats will you be cooking up to help you #StartBetter this January? Let us know below or tweet us using the handles @GetTheGloss and @CliniqueUK .
This feature was written in partnership with Clinique . #StartBetter.