Now that we are all detoxified from sugar, due to my last two posts!!! I thought it would be a good time to talk about a few handy snacks for in between meals. I am a huge fan of snacking. I usually eat my three meals and two if not three snacks daily. Maybe its psychological or simply a habit. But I don’t seem to survive one meal to the next without a snack. Snacking is important as it can help to maintain you blood sugar levels throughout the day. If you plan your snacks into your daily meals, you are less likely to grab a chocolate bar when you are in starvation mode!! By snacking you will never get to this point. Because I snack I need to ensure I do so wisely. I generally choose, fruits with nut butters, yogurt, dates, nuts, or have something home made like my energy balls, flapjacks, raw brownies etc. All these foods are natural and nutritious.
Sometimes life is busy, with work, training, socialising, walking the baby (Milo that is)! So I have been on the look out for healthy snack options I can buy on the run. A couple of weeks ago I randomly popped into my local Super Valu in Poppyfield, Clonmel. Lately this store has been taken over by local husband and wife Stuart and Debbie Martin. These guys also happen to be my training buddies in my gym Phoenix Strength and Conditioning. There are huge changes in store. I was so excited when I walked in and saw a beautiful display of Irish local produce. Up until recently this excitement would have come from a dispay of shoes or jewellery. Now I am getting this excited about food, how has this happened! Stuart and Debbie have also worked on there health food section. With a huge array of products that you would find in your local health food store, they are now here at better prices.
How amazing are these displays.
Super Valu are great supporters of local producers. They have taken this a step further by joining Board Bia and the Local Enterprise Office Network to create the Food Academy Programme. The Food Academy works with and nurtures small businesses through their journey from start up to getting their products on the shelves.
I really admire retailers who recognise the needs and wants of people and are willing to change to meet these needs. As Stuart said ‘there is a food revolution happening at the moment’ and I agree 100%. We are finally understanding the error of our ways. We are recognising the necessity to stay away from processed foods, diet foods, low fat foods. Instead we are seeing the importance of shopping and buying local products. Choosing foods our grandparents ate. Proper whole real foods; meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, butter, wholemeals breads etc. Eat them knowing you are nourishing your body the way it deserves.
So back to my 5 ‘in a hurry’ snack options. I really love these foods. Not only because they are nutritious but they all have great stories behind them. They are made local, on a small scale, with love and passion.
1. The Gourmet Popcorn Company. I am not a huge popcorn fan, but these are amazing. They come in a variety of flavours. Lightly sea salted, sweet chilli, caramel crunch and sweet and salty. Unfortunately I would not recommend eating the entire bag (although it definatly could be done). But if you have a serving size of 40 grams it yields only 84 calories. This coupled with some fruit should easily hold you over until lunch time.
2. Everest Granola Yogurts. So many people are loving granola at the moment. It is full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, aiding digestion. What is even better is that people are recognising how easy it is to make homemade granola and how versatile it can be. Used as your morning cereal or added over your yogurt and fruit, for great taste and texture. But if you are strapped for time and cant make your own I recommend this product. Developed by guys who are all about power and fuel for the body. This granola and yogurt combo would make a great post workout snack. It has protein and carbohydrates both necessary to repair and build muscle.
3. Acti – Snack. I am a total nut addict (hence the blog name!). Nuts are fantastic as they are a plant based protein, high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and an excellent source of healthy fats. The problem is because they are addictive, sticking to a correct portion size of 9 nuts can be problematic. However if you can control yourself unlike me then these are a great handy snack on the go.
They come in lots of different varieties. Just be aware if you choose the fruit and nut mix, there will be additional sugar, although natural sugars. So if you opt for these over your crisps or chocolate you are onto a winner.
4. The foods of Athenry. A family based company specialising in gluten and wheat free products. I love this packaging and because they are re-sealable they will stay fresh. If you stick to the recommended serving size of one (maybe two!) they are low in energy at 81 kcal per serving. So simply pop one or two into you lunch box when heading to work. Don’t bring the bag, bringing the full bag will inevitable end in disaster!
5. Best for last, Ice- cream! Nobo Frozen Goodness. Ok so maybe not a workday snack. But when the weekend comes we all want a treat. If you are a big ice – cream fan, this may be a good alternative to the sugar laden stuff. This is amazing. It is gluten free and dairy free and only filled with natural ingredients. Ingredients include; coconut milk, honey, avocado, cocao powder, toasted almonds, Irish sea salt. Indulgence but guilt free!
So that’s it, my top five picks for healthier alternatives to sugar laden snacks. If you must snack do so wisely. Choose fresh produce, choose natural products, choose home – made (learn to cook!). Choose to shop local, supporting local producers who are passionate about creating quality foods.
The Wholesome Nut