Category Archives: Snacks

Carrot Cake Energy Balls

I’m on a personal mission to reduce my biscuit intake. Now there is totally nothing wrong with a biscuit or 2, but these carrot cake energy balls add in variety and nutrition. I find they really hit the spot by giving me something to munch quickly when I’m running from job to job and they are more filling than my usual biccie.

These last for 3 days in the fridge and they also freeze well so why not make a batch and get them out the freezer in the morning, ready for when you need them.

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Carrot Cake Energy Balls

Easy to make, with a hidden centre of yumminess!

Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 150 g dates
  • 150 g apricots
  • 150 g oats
  • 75 g almonds
  • 75 g walnuts
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 12 tsp peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Place the dates, apricots, oats into a food processor. Process adding a splash of water if needed.

  2. Add the nuts plus oats and food process these too, alternatively these can be done seperately.

  3. Add to a bowl and mix in the grated carrot and spices.

  4. Take 1 tsp of mix, roll into a ball, make an indentation and add the peanut butter in.

  5. Now take another section of the dough to cover and roll into a ball.

Gingerbread energy balls

One of the questions I get asked a lot is for healthy snack ideas. Walking around the shops there is a plethora of snack items but so many of them are expensive items that you can make yourself in batches with a little knowhow and patience. Energy balls are one such item. Often sold for £1.50-£1 a portion, these can be made a lot cheaper at home. See my analysis below.  Whilst there are a lot of energy ball recipes out there on the internet this one is so delicious that I had to share it. I love having snacks  like these to hand for instant snacking and even better, these freeze well. My boy also loves making these with me.

Perfect mid morning snack for me between clients and an afternoon snack for the kids at a much better cost than buying from the shops.

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Gingernut Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 100 g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 100 g dates
  • 25 5 oats
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Recipe Notes

Blitz up the cashews, oats and dates in a food processor or grinder. I do this in batches as my grinder is smalll. You may need to stop grinding and stir it around a bit from time to time.

Put the mixture into a bowl, add in the ginger and stir.

Now roll into balls and roll in the sesame seeds (if wanted).

Store in a tin, the fridge or freeze.

 

Costing = £2.20 for 10 balls (5 portions for an adult)

100g cashews £1.10

100g dates 66p

25g oats 27p

1 tbsp sesame seeds 9p

1 tsp ginger 8p

 

Peanut Butter Cookies and Smart Snacking.

Snacking sensibly for me is a must. I need bucket loads of reliable energy to get me through my day. An average day for me involves 3 kids, much pilates and 1-2-1 dietetic clients. I don’t sit still for long, so crashing mid afternoon is not an option, especially as that’s the school run and my hungry time of day. So one thing I teach my clients and work on myself is balancing my snacks.

Yes fruit is fabulous, however it doesn’t keep me full for long or sustain my energy. So I pair it with protein or a wholegrain, higher fibre carb. Or if I’m feeling outrageous, I mix all three.  For me it is not about the calories or the macro’s but the balance. 

Satiety is the feeling of fullness that persists after eating. It affects the length of time between eating events and possibly the amount of energy consumed at the next. Protein  is filling and can help stabilise blood sugars. Fibre rich foods require more chewing so psychologically take longer to eat, they can displace other energy rich food and slow gastric emptying. 

Some of my favs:
Apple, cheese and oatcakes
Dried apricots, almonds and 25g dark chocolate
Oatcakes with nut butter and banana

Then there are these peanut butter cookies. Perfect with fruit and they take just 10 mins to bake. These make me feel like the perfect mum on those days I manage to whip the mix up before the school run and have them ready 10 mins after the kids walk in the door! Better still the kids can make them – I haven’t let them loose on this recipe yet.

 

Peanut Butter Cookies
Yields 8
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
175 calories
13 g
23 g
11 g
7 g
2 g
38 g
75 g
5 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
38g
Yields
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 175
Calories from Fat 98
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
17%
Saturated Fat 2g
10%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 23mg
8%
Sodium 75mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 13g
4%
Dietary Fiber 3g
11%
Sugars 5g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
4%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 100g peanut butter
  2. 150g granola
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/2 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 10 minutes.
  3. Store in an airtight tin, they are best eaten on the day.
Notes
  1. I used my own homemade granola (recipe on the blog) which is wheat free and gluten free if you tolerate oats or use gluten free oats.
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calories
175
fat
11g
protein
7g
carbs
13g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Apple and Pecan Energy Balls (no bake)

My kids seem to need a 3 course meal to eat after school/pre-school,  so my snack tin needs to be topped up with nutritious and filling foods. These apple energy balls are something I saw another dietitian friend making on Instagram and we adapted it slightly, using different nuts to suit our tastes.

My 4 year old boy literally loved making and eating these. He raved about them and each day after preschool has been asking for them. It has been lovely to see him proudly showing them off to his older sister:

“I made these and they are yummy”.

I’ve not managed to do a vlog for ages… 3 children and work has meant a kitchen that is rarely tidy enough for filming in and few of those moments where we have the right moment with all children quiet and happy to join in. However I’m hoping to get back into it now.  I’d love to know your idea and thoughts for future videos.

Apple and Pecan Energy Balls
Serves 12
Super simple, tasty, nutritious and filling energy balls.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
153 calories
20 g
0 g
7 g
4 g
1 g
56 g
17 g
6 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
56g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 153
Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 17mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 20g
7%
Dietary Fiber 3g
14%
Sugars 6g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
2%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 300g apple
  2. 200g oats
  3. 70g pecans
  4. 60g raisins
  5. 40g peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Put the apple in the food processor first and use a grater attachement or you could grate by harns. Add a dash of hot water to make a rough purée.
  2. Now add the oats, pecans, raisins and nut butter and combine.
  3. Roll into balls using your hands.
  4. Pop in the fridge to chill.
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calories
153
fat
7g
protein
4g
carbs
20g
more
Adapted from Catherine Lippe, Lippe Nutrition
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Carrot and Parsnip Cake

I’ve had a hankering for carrot cake for a few weeks after a conversation on social media about a bumper crop of carrots leading to recipes for carrot cake being posted. So when carrots were on offer and hubby came back with 3 bags of them plus 2 bags of parsnips it was suddenly my opportunity. Seriously, there are only so many things you can do with parsnips, so I thought why not try them in a cake. In that moment it felt like probable madness, however actually, you know what? The parsnips add a real kick to this cake. A warm earthiness and nuttiness that really adds to the sweetness of the carrots.

My main critic will always be my husband. He isn’t fobbed off as easily as the children, he has a sweet tooth and isn’t pulled in by any of the latest health trends or superfoods. So I tried him on one. He gave me the “what is it” quizzical expression which I interpret as “What the heck is the crazy woman now trying to give me”. To be fair, you can’t blame him, I am experimental in my approach and a fair few of these experiments just don’t work out. Upon trying it his response was “Actually that’s not bad”. Now for hubby that is a compliment. He isn’t overflowing with expression and excitement like me, thankfully or our house would be even more crazy! So this “Not bad” really meant “I wasn’t expecting it to taste nice but it is pretty good and I like it”. He agreed it was actually the parsnip that made it.

This cake is moist, light and a little to easy to eat. With 250g vegetables in it, it may feel pretty nutritious but you would have to eat a lot of cake to get a portion of veggie in! Having said that these will contain some vitamin A, some calcium and iron, so as cake goes, it is a good option. 

 

Carrot and Parsnip Cake
Yields 24
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121 calories
13 g
23 g
7 g
2 g
1 g
38 g
173 g
3 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
38g
Yields
24
Amount Per Serving
Calories 121
Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
10%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 23mg
8%
Sodium 173mg
7%
Total Carbohydrates 13g
4%
Dietary Fiber 1g
3%
Sugars 3g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
22%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
5%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 150ml Rapeseed Oil
  2. 60g Brown Sugar
  3. 3 Eggs
  4. 150g Carrots (2 large)
  5. 100g Parsnips (1 large)
  6. 300g Doves Farm Self Raising Flour
  7. 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  8. 1 tsp Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Peel and grate the carrots and parsnip.
  2. Mix the oil and sugar together. Add the eggs and mix.
  3. Next add the grated vegetables and slowly add the flour and spices in.
  4. Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin.
  5. Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 30-40 minutes.
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calories
121
fat
7g
protein
2g
carbs
13g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
 

Snack Attack: Wellaby’s review

The snack market is huge and every expanding, but often snacks can be laded in calories, saturated fat and less than nutritious. I am always on the look out for new, nutritious snacks that I can eat and recommend to others. 

Wellaby’s Simple Bakes are gluten, dairy and nut free. This of course does not make them any healthier in my eyes, but it does mean they could be a worthwhile addition to the free-from snack market. Many snacks in the free-from aisle have one food group removed and replaced with fat/sugar in order to help boost the taste. 

These baked snacks are less than 100kcals per serving – however this is for a 24g serving and they come in a 120g packet. So I doubt that many people would stick to this serving size.  As well as being low in calories per portion they are low in saturated fat and sugars.

Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 22.03.30

They are marketed as being a wholegrain snack. Looking at the nutrition label they contain 4.2 g fibre per 100g, equivalent to a medium apple, this comes from the wholegrain rice flour and oats. A high fibre food is 6g/100g so I would put these as a mid-range fibre food.

I found these snacks really tasty. I sometimes find the flavouring in snack foods can be overpowering or too artificial tasting, but these were a good balance. I also enjoyed the crunch. 

WELLABYS_3PACK

It would be great to see these in smaller, portion controlled packets, I particularly like the fibre content and the fact they are gluten, dairy and nut free.

Disclaimer: All views are my own, I was sent these 3 packets to review.

Pear Rock Cakes, no added sugar.

It’s been a week of pretty awful sleep. That saying about “They saved the best till last” is not true when it comes to sleeping babies. The third baby is the worse sleeper! However she also gives the best cuddles and is super cute with it, so I can’t be cross with her.

When I don’t sleep well I tend to :

  1. Walk around in a bit of a brain fog, yet still be functional for work – how does that happen?
  2. Want to poke out the eyes of anyone who has a baby that sleeps through the night.
  3. Loose some of my words. My 6 year old is good at finding them for me. “I’m just making…..ummm, ummm” “Breakfast Mummy?” “Yes, that’s the one”. 
  4. Get creating in the kitchen. I’ve no idea how but cooking and baking helps restore my sanity.

So on a cold, fuzzy headed Sunday afternoon I was flicking through my recipe notebook and stumbled upon rockcakes. Rockcakes seem to be one of those recipes that people make in school or when they are learning to bake. I think they need a come-back. Super easy to make, which means the children can help, there is little that you can go wrong with and you are left with a mountain of tasty snacks for your week.

I’ve adapted the usual rock cake recipe by adding in fruit and upon tasty the mix I decided it was sweet enough for our palates. Try a bit of it before you add in the eggs and see what you think as you can always add in a little sugar to taste. Doing it this way will hopefully mean you don’t go OTT on the sugar content.

My kids were happy bunnies and rewarded me by playing nicely with minimal arguments all afternoon. I love the subtle pear hint in these. Perfect for tbe after school munchies, which happens to co-incide with my cuppa and snack time 🙂 

Dietitian UK: Pear Rockcakes

Pear Rock Cakes
Yields 20
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
116 calories
17 g
29 g
5 g
2 g
3 g
45 g
9 g
5 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
45g
Yields
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 116
Calories from Fat 41
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
7%
Saturated Fat 3g
14%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 29mg
10%
Sodium 9mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 17g
6%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 5g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
3%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
3%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 100g butter at room temperature
  2. 250g flour (I used Doves Farm Plain Gluten Free Blend)
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp mixed spice
  5. 1 soft large pear, peeled and chopped
  6. 1 soft ripe banana, mashed
  7. 100g raisins
  8. 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Rub the butter into the flour.
  2. Now add the baking power and spice.
  3. Add in the wet fruit. the pear should break down easily if you are using a stand mixer or food processor.
  4. Now mix the raisins in gently.
  5. Add in the eggs, one at a time.
  6. Taste and add sugar if needed, I found it wasn't necessary.
  7. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5, line and grease a baking tray.
  8. You should end up with a soft dough.
  9. Take dessert spoons of the mixture and gently shape into rounds.
  10. Place onto a greased, lined baking tray.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are lightly browned on the top.
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calories
116
fat
5g
protein
2g
carbs
17g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Make your own healthy “graze” snack boxes

So snacking, it’s one of those things I definitely do. I tend to eat my 3 meals and at least 2 snacks a day. Which means my snacks need to be healthy, well most of them! Currently I am breastfeeding which makes me quite hungry at times. It is those moments when I have children clamouring for me, a baby wanting to feed and I know I need to eat that I need a ready to grab and go snack. That moment when it could be biscuits. Although I do eat my share of those too, I’ve recently discovered a wheat free dark chocolate and stem ginger cookie… dangerously nice. So to keep me on the straight and narrow I’ve started making snack boxes. This is something I often recommed to clients and many find them so useful. You can literally make a pile up for the week and take one to work each day, keep them in your bag or just on the worktop if you are at home.

Here are some of my favourite combos:

Cranberry.almond.choc
15g Dried cranberries, 15 almonds and 10g dark chocolate

 

Pecan,apple.edam
15g pecans, 15g dried apple, 1 tbsp dried edamame beans

 

Cashew.mango
15g cashews, 15g dried mango, 1 tsp mixed seeds

 

Brazil.apricot
5 brazil nuts, 3 dried apricots, 1 tsp mixed seeds

Here is me trying out Facebook Live and showing off my not so great phone video skills:

Love to hear your healthy snack box combos. Leave me a message/comment so I can steal your ideas too 😉

I tend to buy my nuts and dried fruit in bulk online (it is cheaper per kg but costs a bit up front) and I store a supply in the cupboard and a supply in glass jars on my shelf. Which looks pretty and also means we all see them and are more likely to eat them instead of reaching into the biscuit tin. 

“Keep healthy food – In plain sight so it is in your mind to eat it”

A good example of this is my toddler boy who often asks for “prawns” and points at the jars… he means prunes! 

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Courgette and Stilton Pinwheels

These little beauties are something that I always like to have a ready supply of in the freezer. They make an easy lunch and are great to take out and about. We are in that stage where the toddler boy likes to eat lunch early which is usually when we are out and about, so lots of packed lunches are needed. Seeing as he isn’t keen on sandwiches I have to be slightly more inventive. Savoury muffins, savoury flapjack and pinwheels all go down well. 

Courgette pinwheels 4

Courgettes are one of those vegetables that I love because you can add them into recipes without them being hugely noticeable. Grated courgette goes into a lot of things I make! Not don’t get me wrong, I’m not into hiding vegetables but I do like to add extra veggies to dishes when I can. My boy isn’t that keen on eating vegetables on their own so they need to be mixed into dishes. You could use any combo of toppings in these, be inspired by your fridge!

Courgette pinwheels 1

You could use pastry to make these, however I prefer pizza dough. I tend to make a large batch of the dough in the bread machine, make pizza with half and then make these with the rest. Knock them up, bake and freeze in a freezer bag. They defrost pretty quick for an easy, healthy lunch.

Here they are before baking…..

Courgette pinwheels 2

 

 

Courgette pinwheels 3

 

Courgette and Stilton Pinwheels
Yields 8
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
141 calories
21 g
4 g
4 g
5 g
1 g
70 g
94 g
0 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
70g
Yields
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 141
Calories from Fat 35
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 4mg
1%
Sodium 94mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 0g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
1%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. Pizza Dough Recipe (I make double and make a large pizza with the other half of the dough)
  2. 140ml water
  3. 75g wholemeal bread flour
  4. 150g white bread flour
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1/2 tsp yeast
Topping
  1. 1 tbsp tomato puree
  2. 2 tsp red pesto
  3. 1/2 courgette grated
  4. 50g grated stilton
  5. 2 slices ham sliced (optional)
Instructions
  1. Make up the pizza dough, you could mix by hand and leave to rise or make in a bread machine.
  2. Roll it out on a floured surface, to a rectangle.
  3. Spread the tomatoe puree and pesto on the top.
  4. Cover with the courgette, stilton and ham.
  5. Roll it up longways (see picture) and slice into 2 inch pieces, it should make about 8-9.
  6. Grease and flour a baking tray, pre-bake the oven to Gas Mark 5.
  7. Turn each piece so the filling can be seen from the top (see picture).
  8. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
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calories
141
fat
4g
protein
5g
carbs
21g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Kiwi Frozen Yoghurt

This week I had passed to me 14 very ripe kiwi fruit. Too ripe to just eat, but I just can’t see food go to waste. It was a hot day, my small people had already asked for ice-lollies so this was the logical step. 

The result is something good. I love that tang you get with kiwi…. so here you get the tanginess along with the sweetness of the banana and the yoghurt adds the creaminess. 

It made enough to fill my ice-cream maker bowl, so about 1 litre. 

WARNING: it is addictively delicious, but thankfully very healthy.

Kiwi are packed with vitamin C, they also provide some fibre, potassium, vitamin E and folate. With a range of phytochemicals in them such as carotenes and flavonoids they pack a fair punch of hefty goodness that will help fight antioxidants. A study in 2000 on 18,000 Italian children found that eating 5-7 portions of kiwi/citrus fruit per week reduced wheezing by 44% and shortness of breath by 32%.  

Also known as chinese gooseberries as they were originally grown in China, then taken over to New Zealand in the early 20th century. To test if they are ripe you can press gently with your thumb and finger at the ends, there should be a little bit of give.

Kiwi Froyo 1
Before freezing

Kiwi Froyo1
In the ice cream maker

Kiwi Frozen Yoghurt
Serves 12
Super simply and healthy frozen yoghurt recipe.
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58 calories
14 g
0 g
0 g
1 g
0 g
90 g
3 g
8 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
90g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 58
Calories from Fat 4
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 3mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 14g
5%
Dietary Fiber 3g
11%
Sugars 8g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
126%
Calcium
3%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 14 over-ripe kiwi
  2. 1 ripe banana
  3. 250ml natural or Greek yoghurt
Instructions
  1. If using an ice-cream maker freeze the bowl in advance (or make this up, pop in the fridge until the ice-cream maker bowl is cold).
  2. Peel the kiwi and banana and cut into chunks. Place in a food processor.
  3. Blitz to a puree.
  4. Add the yoghurt and mix.
  5. Pop into the ice-cream maker and let it churn.
  6. Freeze whatever you don’t eat.
  7. If you are not using an ice-cream maker then pop into a bowl and freeze.
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calories
58
fat
0g
protein
1g
carbs
14g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/