Easy to make nutritious snacks ideas to keep your healthy eating on track!
One of the things that has kept me on track with my new ‘healthy’ way of eating is to have plenty of healthy snacks at the ready when I feel the munchies coming on. I always concentrate on the things I can eat rather than fixating about the things I can’t. There are far more positives to eating a healthy wholefoods diet than not but it’s sometimes easy to get a bit disillusioned with the array of quick fix, fat and sugar laden foods available to fill a whole. Having lots of easy heathy snacks to hand is my way of cutting myself some slack and ensuring I say on track.
I love to prep my healthy snacks at the weekend for the week ahead. I know that if I get this right then my week is so much more effective. I don’t snack on ‘crap’ as I reach for the good stuff in the fridge and plan my days rather than having to eat convenience stuff (which isn’t usually clean) when I’m out and about.
So what’s going into the snack bags this week?
Our ultimate favourite are protein bars. These are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great energy snack. I love them after a workout or as a treat mid-afternoon. They go into school lunch boxes and there’s usually one in the car just in case. We ring the changes between a chocolate and a lemon bar and in the Summer I have a lemon and lavender bar I make too – but there’s no lavender in flower in the UK at the moment so this will have to wait!
Ali’s Arbonne Protein bars
1 cup smooth organic almond butter
7/8 of a cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup Arbonne Essentials Vanilla Protein Shake Mix powder
1/2 cup + 1 normal scoop Arbonne Essentials Chocolate Protein Shake Mix powder
1 good scoop of Arbonne Essentials Daily Fibre Boost
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup of mixed sultanas, dried cranberries and mixed seeds
Mix almond butter and maple syrup in a pan on a very low heat until melted together – don’t let it cook!
Add protein Shake powders and fibre and mix well.
Add rolled oats and mixed fruit, seeds and whatever else you’d like to add, and mix 'gently'. You may want to knead it like bread dough so that it is well mixed!
Spread in a shallow rectangular dish lined with grease proof paper (mine is approx 10in x 7in). Press well down especially around edges and in corners.
Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours
Cut it with a very sharp knife into 16 pieces (4 wide by 4 long).
Enjoy. This keeps stored in an airtight tin in the fridge for a week – but be warned they don’t last that long in our house!
For savoury healthy snacks, I love to make a batch of healthy hummus and cut carrot batons, celery and peppers up so they are ready to get straight out of the fridge too. I know it sounds ridiculous but if you can just reach for a small pot of hummus and a few vegetable sticks which are ready cut you’ll do it. But if you have to peel a carrot before you can snack you probably won’t!
Ali’s favourite Hummus recipe
1 400g can chickpeas (drained and liquid reserved)
5g flat leaf parsley
½ tea spoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic
½ tea spoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
Place the chickpeas, parsley. Lemon zest, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and cumin in a food processor and blitz until combined and smooth.
Add some of the reserved water from the chickpeas if it’s a little stiff. Add the olive oil and blitz again.
Serve with gluten free pitta bread or crudites.
Add a tea spoon harissa paste for a Spicy Hummus.
Add a handful of fresh spinach for a green Spinach Hummus
Add a roasted red pepper for Roast Red Pepper Hummus
I also love a quick but filling salad I can have alongside a bowl of soup. One of my favourites is a salad I devised after eating at a Mexican restaurant. I love the spicy flavours and feel it gives a real hit of warmth even in the depth of a UK winter.
Ali’s Mexican Sweet Potato Salad
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons rapeseed or coconut oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup fresh coriander roughly chopped
For the dressing
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
3 cups orange juice
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Tamari (gluten free) soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes and onions on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the rapeseed or coconut oil, and season with salt and black pepper. Toss to coat and roast, turning once or twice, for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender and starting to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled sweet potatoes and onions with the black beans, red pepper, and coriander.
Directions for the dressing
Place the jalapeno and garlic in the blender and pulse several times to finely chop. Add all the other dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a blender you can simply chop the jalapeno and garlic and add everything to a screw top jar and give it a good shake. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or cold.
List of healthy snacks on the go
A handful of almonds is a great snack – a small shot glass or about 15 counts as 1 serving and is about 100 calories (not that I’m into counting calories!). I pre-soak almonds in filtered water over night then store them in the fridge in fresh filtered water to keep them fresh. Soaking the nuts allows your body to more easily digest them and enables you to access nutrition otherwise unavailable. This is true of all nuts so experiment and see which you prefer soaked.
One of my top favourites for a quick snack at my desk is a couple of gluten free oat cakes and a tablespoon of almond or pumpkin butter – you can make your own nut butters by simply blitzing the fresh nuts or seeds in a blender until they form a sticky goo. Yummy. Pumpkin is one of my favourites.
If you have a sweet tooth and crave carbs then roast some sweet potatoes with or without a sprinkling of seasoning or spices for an easy healthy snack. I like paprika or cumin on them too. You don’t even need to peel the potatoes. Simply cut them into wedges. Lightly coat them in rapeseed oil (or coconut oil) and bake until soft – about 30 minutes depending on the size of the wedges. These are fabulous hot but even better cold straight from the fridge and will satisfy a sweet craving. I even add them to the odd smoothie. They make the smoothie extra thick so add extra water but this will also help to fill you up if you have a busy day ahead.
Arbonne pumpkin pie smoothie
When I have some left over pumpkin I often roast it for soup or to throw into a smoothie. You can do the same with sweet potato. We brought a pumpkin pie spice mix back from Las Vegas last year but you can make your own if you can’t find it in the UK. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg are the ingredients on the jar and in that order. I experimented to get the proportions right. Don’t go overboard on the cloves would be my only suggestion!
This makes a great healthy nutritious breakfast and is ideal midafternoon snack to keep you going until supper time.
1 cup roasted pumpkin puree or roasted sweet potato
1 serving Arbonne vanilla protein shake
1 serving Arbonne Fibre Plus
Half a cup coconut milk
Half a cup filtered water
1/2 sliced banana (optional if using sweet potato)
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix or ½ tea spoon ground cinnamon, ½ tea spoon ground ginger, pinch cloves, grating of nutmeg.
Blend all together until smooth. You may ne to adjust the liquid as the pumpkin and sweet potato make it extra thick. For an extra cold smoothie add some ice and blend again.
I hope this list of healthy snacks and recipes will help you stay on track so you can keep eating healthily no matter what the day throws at you, thanks to these smart snacks. If you’d like to see even more of my recipes browse these blog posts. You can also get in touch to sign up to my 30 days to Healthy Living programme – 30 days of support, guidance, recipes and shopping lists to get your healthy eating journey started!