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Snack attack – keep it healthy

It’s that time of year again – the Children are home from school so we all become busier keeping them entertained – whether is for you, your children or grandchildren, we need something on hand that will satisfy until the next meal

15 snacks to inspire and satisfy

1. Frozen yogurt buttons – these are a big hit with kids of all ages. Cheap and easy to make. You can use plain, own brand yogurt or yogurt with fruit bits, add your own bits of small chopped fruit as a topper once you’ve portioned out the buttons. You will need a teaspoon and a pot of yogurt. Place small to medium size drops of yogurt onto a tray lined with wax paper. Top with fruit or leave plain. Pop into the freezer until frozen and then decant into portion pots or little bags, place back into the freezer, then grab and eat as required.

2. Courgette pizza bites – Super easy and a great little healthy snack. Cut your courgette into ¼ inch thick slices. Toss in a light drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Pop onto a foil lined tray, under the grill for one to two minutes, flip and do the other side for one to two minutes. Add a light sprinkling of cheese and a small drop of Bolognese or tomato based sauce, a slice of salami or leave plain and pop back under the grill until the cheese has melted. Serve hot

3. Banana nut bites – Cut rings of banana, about ¼ inch thick. Spread peanut butter on one, top with another ring and serve. These are so simple and the kids and adults alike love the idea of peanut butter and banana sandwich bites!

4. Courgette and parmesan crisps – Cut wafer thin slices of courgette, in a bowl toss them in a splash of vinegar, a dusting of garlic powder, salt and a hand full of grated parmesan, just enough to coat the quantity you’ve sliced. Place on trays in the oven and put on a very low heat and cook until lightly brown and crispy. This may take a couple of hours but can be stored in an air tight container and given out in portion controlled servings.

5. Jelly shots – Make up a batch of jelly as directed on the pack. Get a collection of ice cube trays or plastic shot glasses (these can be picked up for next to nothing online) and make bite size jelly shots. These can also be made into a variety of different treats by adding pieces of fruit before freezing.

6. Popcorn sweet and salty – no trickery here. Good old homemade popcorn can be made and stored in air tight containers for days ahead. Make a variety of flavours by experimenting with salts, herbs, spices and sugar. Remember to keep salt and sugar to a minimum but overall, popcorn is a low calorie snack that everyone enjoys

7. Fruit kebabs – these are great fun for the kids to make and eat! Prepare a few bowls of sliced fruit such as strawberries, kiwi, banana, grapes and so on, give each child a skewer stick (supervision required if young) and let them build their own fruit kebabs.

8. Coconut fruit pops – these are delicious particularly in the warmer months. Add small diced pieces of fruit to a lolly mould, pour coconut water over to fill the shape and freeze as you would normally to make lollies. Tropical treat that’s packed with colour and flavour.

9. Root vegetable crisps – use a peeler to remove the skin from carrots, parsnips and other root type vegetables. Once you have your batch of wafer thin slices, toss in a bowl with a few sprays of cooking spray, season with salt and pepper and bake at a very low heat until crispy and golden. Keep in an air tight container and serve alone or with hummus.

10. Apple jacks – create your own flapjack style apple treats. Slice an apple into ½ inch thick slices, remove the core. Sprinkle with toasted oats, raisins and desiccated coconut. Light dusting of cinnamon and pop under the grill for two minutes or until the coconut starts to turn a light golden brown. Eat right away. This is ideal for a snack or a breakfast on the go.

11. Chicken salad stuffed peppers – slice a yellow pepper in half, removing the seeds completely. Make a low fat chicken salad by combining cubed lean chicken breast, two tablespoons of half fat crème fraiche, salt, pepper, chopped chives and celery (optional) and serve cold. This is a great filler between meals if there is a long wait between main meals. Low in carbs and fat, its protein rich and not too rich.

12. Smoothie time – take some time to pre-portion some fruit that freezes well such as a selection of berries. Keep a couple of bananas to hand and blitz these with a small tub of yogurt. Serve immediately. Great source of fibre, dairy and potassium. Will take the edge off hunger without leaving them too full for their next main meal. Great for taking on the go if you’re making a pit stop at home before going off to after school sports or activities.

13. Egg-xactly – hard boiled eggs are quick and easy to make, they keep for a few days and are a great little filler, high in protein and low in fat. Make up a few hard boiled eggs, once cooled, slice in half to create two individual snacks. Scoop the hard yolk out of the centre, mix with some light mayonnaise or half fat crème fraiche, season and scoop back into the hollow whites. Seal in an air tight container and refrigerate for a couple of days

14. Sugar cone salad – a fab alternative to a plain fruit salad with the added advantage of an ice-cream style appeal. You are winning on both fronts here, as the waffle cone provides the treat side of the snack, while the delicious chopped fruit pieces that you’ll fill it up with provide them with the healthy fibres and energy needed to make it through the rest of the day.

15. BLT bites – these are just as suitable for kid snacks as they are for adult nibbles. Slice the top off a few cherry tomatoes; insert a sprig (stem section) of lettuce and a thin slice of bacon. These look fab, taste amazing and are full of all the goodness that tomatoes provide, in one healthy bite sized snack.

It can be a good idea to set aside some time each week to plan snacks, even prepare some snack packs that are portioned out into little tubs or sandwich bags so that you have some healthy options to grab on the go. Make your own trail mix, cracker packs with ham and cheese in sealed containers, fruit salads and little veggie sticks with low fat dips that are ready-made and easy to access. A little planning can go a long way to ensuring the children and time pressed adults are nourished, happy and enjoying the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

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