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.
Gluten free eating has been bang on trend recently. Why? There is a thought that gluten affects weight, causes bloating and is commonly poorly digested. However, often it is not actually gluten that is the issue. There can be several other explanations, for example: large portions of carbohydrate foods can cause bloating, just because of the amount of food in one sitting. In those suffering from IBS, the issue is unlikely to be gluten, but that of FODMAPS, which include wheat, lactose, beans, pulses, plus certain fruits and vegetables. Another key reason can be the overall diet. Eating a diet that is high in packaged, processed foods can cause symptoms that then disappear when you remove gluten. Why? Because why gluten is removed, your whole diet changes. It is not gluten that is always the culprit, take a look at this clip from Food Truth or Scare for more.
Gluten free foods can be: 👉 lower in fibre. 👉 higher in fat. 👉higher in sugars 👉higher in calories. 👉lower in B vitamins. 👉lower in iron 👉often they are not wholegrain.
Therefore gluten free foods are not healthier! Of course if you are gluten free for medical reasons you may need to have these foods but you can also use grains such as buckwheat and quinoa to provide your wholegrains. So it also doesn’t mean you can’t have a great healthy diet and be gluten free, it just require more planning and thought. Top advice: only go gluten-free if you absolutely need to.
Chocolate originates from cocoa beans from the Theobroma cocoa tree. The beans are fermented, ground and separated to cocoa butter and powder.
Cocoa has been used for many used as a medical aid. It is rich in flavonoids which have potent antioxidant functions. These include being :
Helping blood vessels to dilate so helping reduce blood pressure.
Increasing insulin sensitivity
Decreasing the risk of atherosclerosis.
Positive affect on cholesterol: increase HDL (the good guys) and decrease LDL oxidation.
A reduction in cardiovascular risk factors.
However we don’t eat cocoa on its own. Milk chocolate has a variety of other ingredients added in. It is high in energy, free sugars and saturated fat. One point to note here is that not all chocolate is equal. The darker the chocolate (higher % cocoa) the higher the flavanol content and the less sugar. White chocolate is not actually chocolate as it doesn’t contain any cocoa powder or cocoa solids but cocoa butter mixed with milk and sugar. The chocolate in eggs can be of a lower quality with lower flavanols and mineral content so watch out! Check the cocoa solids.
An easy way to remember a portion of chocolate is “the size of your index finger”. That is about 2 squares for a child and 4 squares for an adult.
So chocolate is something that can definitely be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. The key is thinking about the quality of the chocolate you are having and the portion size. Space that chocolate out and enjoy it, rather than gorging on it all in one go. Savour it and eat it mindfully,
Warning…. you may find it hard to stop at just one cookie!
I’ve slightly fallen back in love with peanut butter recently. It’s more nutritious than butter due to it’s protein content and gives a great taste to baking. So today inspired by my recent oaty ball success I decided to venture a little further into the peanut realm and try out some cookies.
Now I’ve seen plenty of peanut butter cookies on Pinterest, but they all seem to be full of chocolate, marshmallows or sweets. I wanted to create a healthier cookie that provides a tasty but nutritious snack. These were very easy to make and can be made ahead, then simply stored in the fridge ready to bake later.
The toddler’s response to these at snack time – “Mummy what are these” “Peanut butter cookies, why?” “They are yummy scrummy Mummy”. I must say I agree with her.
Peanut Butter Trail Mix Cookies
High protein, nutritious peanut butter cookies. Make them your own with different dried fruit and cereal for flavour and texture.