Over the last few years, I found that I’m getting pretty good at making us healthy dinners and balanced breakfasts, but I seem to be often failing when it comes to snacking! It’s so easy to pick the wrong type of snack – too sugary, too salty or too many calories.
That is why I’ve been working on a list of easy snacks, that are both nutritious and simple to prepare. Some don’t even need any preparation time, it’s more about changing slightly our shopping habits!
Homemade Chocolate Bars
Chocolate bars are great snacks, but the shop-bought ones could be sometimes too sweet or not that healthy. Rather than reaching out for a chocolate snack bar, I carry with me one of my homemade chocolate bars to snack on.
To make you own chocolate bars you’ll need good quality chocolate, toppings of your choice (dried fruits, nuts, seeds), chocolate moulds and something like a dough scraper to use with your chocolate moulds. These days, you can easily buy chocolate moulds online or check out your local cake suppliers shop.
Chocolate making can be a little complex, but if you are not worried too much about the perfect finish, it’s very satisfying to be able to make your own chocolate. And of course, the best thing is that you can make any flavour you like and add toppings of your choices.
My favourite chocolate combinations include plain chocolate with freeze dried raspberries or strawberries and various seeds or nuts.
To make your own chocolate bars, you’ll need to gently melt a chocolate bar (either in a microwave or on a hob in a bain-marie), stir until it thickens a little and then pour into your chocolate bar moulds. Generously top with anything you fancy and then leave to set in a fridge for half an hour or so.
I usually make a whole batch of 6 or 12 chocolate bars and then keep them for the next few weeks, individually wrapped in a cellophane bag. Depending on what toppings you use your chocolate bars should last a minimum of 6-8 weeks (or even longer).
Rice or Corn Cakes
Light to carry around, but surprisingly filling, rice or corn cakes come in savoury or sweet versions and they are my go to as a snack food.
If I have any at hand when I’m making my chocolate bars I drizzle some leftover chocolate over the plain rice cakes and top them with seeds or dried fruit. This is an easy way to jazz up your rice cakes for a fraction of the cost of the shop-bought ones.
I try to stick to an easy to digest fruits such as grapes or oranges, but you are welcome to add bananas, apples or pears to your shopping list. All of these are refreshing and easy to carry with you where ever you go.
Vegetables & Hummus Dip
You need to be a little more organised to prepare this savoury snack, but vegetables contain less sugar than fruit and hummus helps to top up your energy as it’s full of protein. Use couple of small re-usable pots – one for cut-up vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, celery sticks etc.) and one for your hummus dip).
Breakfast Oat or nut Bars
Breakfast oat bars are my favourite breakfast to grab on mornings when we wake up late and need something to eat on the way to work.
There are many flavours available to choose from, and we often buy multiple varieties. My particular favourites are anything with yoghurt and nuts as they fill you up a bit more than the sweeter varieties.
If you find that it’s hard to get your children up and moving early in the morning to go to school, breakfast bars come in very handy. I like that these are portable, affordable, and fill them up quickly. If they are running late, and don’t have time to sit at the table to eat, they can grab a pack of these to throw in their backpack to eat on the bus.
The breakfast bars are also good for mid morning snacks, so even if your children eat a full breakfast at the table, they can still take couple of breakfast bars with them for a snack. If you have a growing boys or girls they need a lot of energy, so having healthy snacks handy will prevent them from reaching out for other sugary snacks.
Hard Boiled Eggs
O.K possibly not the most exciting snack to take to work, but eggs are full of protein, which is what gives us energy. Hard-boiled eggs are also great if you are trying to curb your sugar intake as they fill you up and won’t give you any sugar spike like with some sweet snacks.