Taking the guilt out of snacking
I’m usually quite a healthy eater. At home we cook all our meals from scratch, I always bring a packed lunch of homemade soup or salad into work and I’d usually eat fruit for a snack. But over the past 6 months something has changed. I still do all those things but I realised recently that I now finish off all my meals with either a biscuit (sometimes three!) or some chocolate. My morning coffee was no longer complete unless it was accompanied by something deliciously bad for me. The same was true for all other meals in the day. Something needed to change.
There are those of you out there who can moderate their intake of sweet treats. I’m not one of those people. I can’t have a single square of chocolate nor can I have just one biscuit and put the rest away. If there is an open packet of anything delicious in the house I will want to eat it all. So it was time to reset the clock. And what better excuse then lent.
For 40 days I vowed to not eat any sweet delicious chocolaty treats nor have any salty moreish crisps. Not so much as a chewy sweet will pass my lips.
To make my sugar detox easier, my husband (who thinks there is nothing better in the world then a chocolate biscuit dipped into a cup of tea) offered to go cold turkey with me. But with one condition: I must come up with alternative healthy snakes to accompany his tea. So after I cleared our house of all things yummy I began researching nutritious snacks that would keep hunger at bay and prevent my husband from abandoning me to the dark (yet deliciously chocolaty) side.
After two weeks these are my top healthy snacks:
Roz Purcell’s ‘Whatever You’re Into’ Granola Bars
Our son wakes us up at 6am every morning, this means there is a long gap between breakfast and lunch. That’s why I love these granola bars from Roz Purcell’s blog, Natural Born Feeder, as they satisfy that 11am hunger. I’m not one to stick to the recipe (I tend to use whatever is in my cupboards). That’s why I love the flexibility of this recipe as you can experiment with different flavours. These bars call for coconut water, which I never have, so if you are like me just use regular water instead.
The Happy Pear’s perfect hummus
I’m a born snacker, meal times are just too far apart as far as I am concerned. So this lent I have vowed to keep a supply of chopped carrots and celery in the fridge along with some homemade hummus. It means that a healthy snack is always close at hand. I love this recipe from The Happy Pear. You can freeze hummus which means that you can make it in bulk.
Donal Skehan’s energy balls
We are quite an active family. I’m a running addict while my husband is more of a triathlete. After a good training session we are starving so to avoid world war three breaking out at home I found Donal Skehan’s energy balls. They are packed full of protein exactly what you need to repair after a hard workout and keep hunger at bay. Like the granola bars I usually alter the ingredients depending on what is in the cupboards. They are also super easy to make and last ages in the fridge. I don’t put the espresso in as we usually eat these during the early evening which is a little too late for a coffee hit.
Greek yoghurt and fruit puree
Inspiration for this healthy dessert came from my little boy. I make a variety of fruit purees, including apple, mango, mixed berry and pear (which I freeze in ice cube trays for convenience). He loves the purees mixed with natural yoghurt for dessert. I’ve discovered that he’s not the only one, since Damien and myself gave up the biscuits we now all have fruit puree with yoghurt with a light sprinkling of homemade granola for dessert.
Two weeks in and I can honestly say that I don’t miss it. Ok maybe that’s not quite true, I definitely don’t crave bad food anymore but if I walk by a bakery (which happens everyday on my way to work) I do have to make a conscious effort to avoid making eye contact with their gooey chocolate muffins in the window. But you never know another couple of weeks of this healthier me and maybe I won’t even notice the muffins….