5 HEALTHY + PORTABLE SNACK IDEAS

Because this is my last week of recipes I’m a little spoilt for choice as regards what to share next. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to choose, so I’m sharing a medley of my favourite snacks, from simplest to some more interesting options.  There are five in total which I hope will provide something for everyone’s tastes. All are dairy, grain and gluten-free, some are entirely ‘plant-based’. The common denominator is that they are all made from very simple whole-foods.  If you’re having guests you could make a ‘snack platter’…..otherwise just prepare them all as you wish and squirrel them away in your car / handbag / desk drawer / goodie-drawer for those afternoons when you just need a little nibble!

CRUNCHY APPLE WITH CREAMY PB + CINNAMON  (serves 1)

  • 1 apple
  • 1-2 tbsp Meridian peanut or almond butter*
  • A good pinch of ground cinnamon

Instructions: I hardly need to provide instruction but here goes! Slice the apple, dip or spread with peanut butter and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Simple.

Good For: Peanut butter provides protein. Apple provides pectin (fibre) for gut health and cinnamon can help to balance blood sugar.

HARD BOILED EGGS, SUMAC + AVOCADO (serves 1)

  • 2 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/3 tsp sumac (a citrus spice made from red berries of the sumac shrub)
  • 1 small (or 1/2 medium) avocado
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions: Boil eggs in a pan of water for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool before peeling off the shell. Store in a small lunch box or lunch bag. To serve slice open, sprinkle with sumac. Half the avocado, sprinkle with sea salt and pile scoops onto your egg.

Good For: Low carbohydrate (sugar) option. High protein + fat keeps you full. Egg provides essential minerals and amino acids. Avocado is rich in fibre, folate, potassium and vitamin E.

TAMARI ROAST NUTS + SEEDS (makes 10-12 1oz servings)

  • 5 cups of mixed raw nuts (brazil, pecan, almond, walnut, macadamia)
  • 1/4 cup of seeds (sunflower / pumpkin)
  • 1 tbsp Optima raw virgin coconut oil*
  • 1 tbsp tamari (gluten free, GMO-free soy sauce)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 180C. Melt the coconut oil with the tamari in a saucepan over a medium heat. Dump in the nuts and seeds and combine well. Spread onto a roasting tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and crisp before decanting into a glass airtight jar.

Good For: Nuts and seeds are some of the most nutrient dense foods in existence. Low carbohydrate but high in essential fats, protein and antioxidant nutrients Vitamin E, selenium and zinc. Consuming a handful of nuts daily is associated with lower body fat and BMI.

DARK CHOCOLATE + CHILLI MANGO (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 50g 85% cacao dark chocolate, melted
  • 100g organic dried mango (no added sugars, sulphites, preservatives)
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • A pinch of sea salt flakes

Instructions: Dip the mango into the melted dark chocolate (half-way) and set each piece onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle the chocolate end with chilli flakes and sea salt and allow to set. Transfer to a jar.

Good For:  A quick energy boost. Mango (especially dried variety) is higher in simple sugars that your body can absorb and utilise quickly. Good for athletes pre- and post-training (if post training, add a hard boiled egg or a protein shake to optimise tissue repair and muscle growth).

CHOCOLATE NUT + GOJI BERRY BRITTLE (makes about 10-12 cupped handfuls)

  • 100g mixed nuts
  • 1 heaping handful of Nua naturals goji berries*
  • 1 handful Nua naturals cacao nibs* (optional)
  • 80g dark chocolate (85% cacao content or above)
  • Pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Nua naturals raw cacao powder*

Instructions: Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, reduce the heat and place a pyrex bowl on top. Break the dark chocolate into chunks and melt. When the chocolate is melted tip the nuts, gogi berries, cacao nibs and sea salt into the bowl with the chocolate and mix well to combine. Spread onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes until almost set. Remove from the fridge and dust with cacao powder. Place back in the fridge for 10 minutes. Break up the chunks of brittle and transfer to a large glass container. Store in the fridge.

Good For: Premenstrual symptoms such as low mood, anxiety and sugar or chocolate cravings. Cacao is a natural mood elevator and is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins which are all particularly important for menstrual health. Nuts provide satiating essential fats, antioxidant vitamin E and selenium and zinc which are essential for male and female reproductive health.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

TOASTED SOURDOUGH WITH: ALMOND & AVOCADO, COCONUT & BLUBERRY OR PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA! – SNACK

Toast. Pretty much universally adored and missed most by low carb aficionados (though they would completely deny it!!). The fact is bread is perfectly fine as part of a balanced diet. But I have only one rule. Please get yourself a decent loaf of real bread! That is, bread that doesn’t have a ‘best before’ date or more than 3-4 main ingredients (unless you are buying gluten-free). My top recommendation is a good quality sourdough.

Sourdough is more digestible and nutritious than industrial loaves thanks to naturally occurring acids that ferment the dough to bread down phytates (which impair nutrient absorption) and gluten (which may cause intolerances, though not to be confused with celiac disease). This fermentation process makes nutrients more available for absorption, and renders simple sugars less available, which may help to control blood sugar, particularly for people with diabetes.

This is not so much a strict recipe as it is a source of ideas for making a slice of toast into a nutritious, energy sustaining, mid-afternoon or evening snack. My advice is to stay away from overly processed shop bought spreads and try to make your own, or purchase whole, nut or seed spreads with no added sugars or oils. Real Irish butter, goats butter, olive oil or even coconut oil are also perfectly fine options if you’re not a fan of nut and seed spreads.

Serves: one to multiple

You will need:

  • Bread: 1 slice per person (I used a small loaf of german-style rye sourdough bread).
  • Nut Butters* (1 tbsp per person): choose from Meridian Almond butter, Meridian Peanut Butter and Coconut Butter.
  • Fruits: choose banana and avocado (3-4 slices per person), or blueberries (2 tbsp per person).
  • Nuts, Seeds & Sprinkles (1/3 tbsp) per person: 85% cacao dark chocolate (grated), black sesame seeds, coconut flake, ground cinnamon.

Topping Combinations featured:

  • Savoury: Crunchy Almond butter, Avocado & Black Sesame Seeds
  • A bit posh: Coconut butter, Crushed Blueberries & dark chocolate
  • Old-school: Crunchy Peanut butter, banana, cinnamon & coconut shavings

Instructions:

  1. Simple! Lay out small bowls and jars of your favourite toppings. Toast the bread and get creative!

To make your own coconut butter: dump 250g unsweetened desiccated coconut into a high-speed food processor and pulse for 8-10 minutes until smooth and runny. Decant into an airtight jar and store at room temperature. Note: coconut butter tends to harden even in the warmest cupboards. To soften, submerge the jar in warm water for 10 minutes before use.

To make other nut butters: you only need ONE ingredient to make any nut butter! Nuts! If you roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 150C (350F) you will get a lovely creamy texture as roasting helps to release the natural oils in nuts.  My favourites are walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. Macadamias are also great but quite pricey! Cool the nuts slightly before tossing into a food processor and blending for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and creamy.  Store in an airtight jar.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Option Serving Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Almond Butter, Avocado + Black Sesame Seeds 1 slice 266 15.7g 8g 26.7g 2.6g 5.8g
Coconut Butter, Blueberry & dark chocolate shavings 1 slice 239 13g 3.5g 28g 6.2g 3g
Peanut butter, banana & coconut 1 slice 259 11.1g 8.1g 32.6g 9.3g 4.4g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

SUPER-GREENS SKILLET-EGGS: MAIN

If you’ve been following my recipes over the last six weeks you’ll have read before that I tend to recommend a low carbohydrate, higher protein and fat breakfast; in particular for clients with goals to lose weight or regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.

I understand this can be a challenge, and cooked breakfasts often seem to take longer than a bowl of cereal. However I guarantee this recipe should take no longer than 10 minutes tops, and you will benefit from more stable energy levels throughout the morning and less sweet cravings as the day progresses.  I also like to recommend introducing some vegetables at breakfast, either in smoothie form or with eggs and avocado (it just makes that ‘5 to 7-a-day’ target less daunting!).

Eggs are such a great source of protein and micronutrients such as vitamin B12 and choline.  Poached, scrambled, fried or baked are all great. This is a one-pan recipe, and you can easily add more eggs if feeding a family.

Hardy winter greens such as kale, chard, cabbage and cavolo nero are cheap and easy to find at this time of year as well as being packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Serve straight from the pan with some sliced avocado or a tablespoon of plain natural yogurt, chilli flakes and a squeeze of vibrant lemon juice for a morning metabolism boost!

Serves: 2

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil*
  • 100g brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach or chard, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful of curly kale (purple or green), roughly chopped
  • 4 free range eggs
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • To serve (optional): Juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 avocado, peeled and halved or 2tbsp full-fat natural yogurt (unsweetened)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet melt the coconut oil over a medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes and add the spinach/chard and the kale as well as a tablespoon of water.
  2. As the greens begin to wilt, make 4 little ‘gaps’ in the greens for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the pan, cover with a lid and cook until the whites are set and the yolks still runny.
  3. Sprinkle with chilli flakes, sea salt and pepper and serve with sliced avocado or a dollop of natural yogurt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
per serving 241 17.4g 17g 4.5g 2g 4.2g
per serving with avocado + lemon 360 28g 18.4g 11.3g 2.8g 9.2g
per serving with yogurt + lemon 280 19.3g 19.1g 8.3g 5.2g 4.2g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

CHILLI STUFFED SWEET POTATOES – MAIN

I love chilli any time of year! In summer enjoy it spooned into large cooling iceberg lettuce leaves with natural yogurt and cucumber on top.  In winter however, there is no better way to serve chilli than the way my Mam did when we were kids – piled high on top of baked potatoes.

I’m using sweet potatoes but you can substitute with white potatoes if you prefer them – they are no less nutritious, but they don’t have the impressively high antioxidant content of sweet potatoes. Either way, potatoes are a fantastic source of natural, unadulterated complex carbohydrates that provide energy and leave us satiated for a long time.

This chilli is meatless. Instead of meat I use two kinds of beans – black and aduki (good-quality canned, pre-cooked beans are fine and save time). Unglamorous as they may seam, beans are one of the best, most affordable sources of plant-based protein and dietary fiber. Consumption of fibre is associated with reduced risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes as well as colon cancer. It’s no coincidence therefore that research into the diets of the longest living populations in the world confirms a regular dietary consumption of beans.

This recipe serves 4. If you are male, not trying to lose weight, and / or training at a high intensity you might consider adding a second sweet potato. Otherwise I recommend serving with some leafy greens. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • Sea salt flakes
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil*
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can of Black Beans, drained (I use Biona canned beans)
  • 1 can of Aduki Beans, drained (I use Biona canned beans)
  • 350g of tomato pasata (pureed tomatoes, unsweetened, no preservatives)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of chipotle chilli flakes

To Serve:

  • 1 whole avocado, medium
  • 1 whole lime
  • 4 spring onions finely sliced
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large handfuls coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp plain natural yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment.
  1. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and place them onto the banking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put the sweet potatoes into the oven. They will need between 40 and 50 minutes to cook.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sweat for 5-10 minutes.
  1. When the onions are soft, add the chilli, chipotle, cumin a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, black beans and adzuki beans. Bring to a soft boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  1. In the meantime slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop the flesh out into a small bowl. Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl (discard the halves). Season, add half the spring onion and mash with a fork until mixed well but still chunky.
  1. When the sweet potatoes are cooked (they should be soft), remove them from the oven. Transfer them to individual plates and carefully (steam can burn!) slit them lengthwise down the middle.
  1. Spoon the chilli into the sweet potatoes allowing the mixture to pile and run down the sides.
  1. Top with guacamole, a tablespoon of natural yogurt, fresh coriander and spring onion. Enjoy!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
  Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Chilli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes per serv. 360 4g 15g 66g 11g 12g
Toppings per serv. 82 6g 2g 6g 3g 2.6g
  An excellent source of protein, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, iron. 


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PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

ROAST BEETROOT (NEON PINK) HUMMUS -SNACK

This neon pink hummus gives that same cheerful boost a bright new lipstick gives you (sorry guys…I cant think of a male equivalent!).

Chickpeas are a wonderfully cheap and versatile legume. Legumes are rich in protein, fibre and folic acid and are ranked 4th place in the top 10 most most nutrient dense foods.  Hummus is a great snack as its healthy fats keep you satisfied between meals. Meridian Light Tahini (sesame seed butter) is a rich source of lignans, a cancer-fighting phytonutrient and is also delicious on its own spread on some sliced apple.

The vibrant colour of this recipe is provided by beetroot – an athlete’s secret weapon!  If you’re a regular exerciser, especially if you partake in endurance sports (marathons and triathlons), beetroot should absolutely be a regular part of your diet.  Nitrates in beetroot boost energy and performance by helping to oxygenate the blood, whilst anti-inflammatory compounds facilitate post-exercise muscle recovery.

You don’t have to roast the beets before hand – you could lightly steam them or use raw beets if you want.  As a snack I’m serving this hummus on a slice of toasted rye bread (I use Biona 100% Rye bread) with a few slivers of avocado and a sprinkle if Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds.

(makes about 6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized beetroot, peeled.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Meridian Light Tahini*
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Extra olive oil for serving
  • Nua naturals hemp seeds for garnish (optional)*

To roast the beetroot:

Preheat oven to 220 celsius. Individually wrap the beetroot in aluminium foil and place onto the oven rack. Roast for about 50 minutes. Remove and allow to cool fully before preparing the hummus.

Prepare the hummus:

In a food processor pulse the beetroot a few times on its own before adding the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini.  Pulse a few more times and then slowly add the olive oil whilst continuing to blend. Season and pulse again one last time until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle over some olive oil and a sprinkling of hulled hemp seeds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

NUTRITION INFORMATION BEETROOT HUMMUS PER 1/6th of recipe
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
143 10g 4.1g 13.6g 3.3g 4g
A source of protein, fiber, folic acid, manganese, potassium and essential fatty acids. 

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

ENERGISING GREEN SMOOTHIE – BREAKFAST

This smoothie will “give you wings”. So grab your halo and prepare to fly through your day!

For a nourishing boost I used one of my favourite supplements, Superlife Smoothie Mix (Energy Boost), available from your local Lloyds Pharmacy. It is packed with exotic-sounding organic superfoods such as maca, hemp, cacao, spirulina and chlorella. This unique blend offers an abundance of antioxidant nutrients, iron, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and protein.

Combined with fibre- and vitamin C rich greens, over 11g protein per serving and essential fats from creamy avocado, this smoothie is an ideal breakfast and it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 50g cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls leafy greens e.g. baby spinach or rocket leaves
  • 1 small handful fresh parsley
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped (or 1/2 for less sugar)
  • 1/2 avocado, stone removed and flesh scooped out
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of Superlife Smoothie Mix Energy Boost*
  • 1 cup water or coconut water
  • 2-3 cubes of ice

Instructions

Put all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and whizz until silky smooth. Enjoy!

Tips:

  • Prepare your vegetables the night before and pack them into the smoothie cup. Store in the fridge. The next morning just add water and ice cubes and blend.
  • Divide the mixture into 3 or 4 small glasses and serve to your kids as a snack or as a nourishing accompaniment their normal breakfast.
  • If you don’t have fresh parsley to hand, just add an extra handful of greens. Choose from spinach, rocket, chard, lambs lettuce or chicory leaves.
  • Instead of ice cubes, peel and dice a few bananas and store in a sealed container in the freezer. Use these in place of ice cubes (but as part of your fruit portion).
Nutrition Information per Serving.
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
326 11.9g 11.4g 48g 25g 16
A source of vitamin C, vitamin A, Iron, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

QUINOA & CHORIZO STUFFED ROASTED PEPPERS WITH FETA, AVOCADO & GREEN SALAD – MAIN

When it comes to making healthier food choices, flavour can make a huge difference to your success. Enjoying and feeling satisfied by your meals means you’re less likely to feel deprived.

This recipe is inspired by Spain and South America. Whilst I don’t recommend overdoing cured meats, a little does go a long way. Just be sure to choose a really good quality chorizo sausage with no sulphites (preservatives) or E numbers (the alternative is to leave it out and add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and extra diced vegetables such as tomatoes instead).

Bell peppers have high concentrations of antioxidants.  Just one will provide more than twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and almost 75% of recommended daily vitamin A. When it comes to weight loss, its important to get the most nutritionally dense food possible and at only 37 calories per serving, bell peppers provide a wide range of essential nutrients.

Black quinoa is a protein-rich seed originally cultivated in Colorado (the original quinoa hails from the Andes in South America). It is especially abundant in essential minerals, and is grain and gluten-free which is good news for people with celiac.

I’m serving these delicious stuffed peppers with a little crumbled cool Greek feta cheese, unctuous avocado and a light green salad of just rocket leaves and diced cucumber.  Feta is traditionally made from a combination of sheeps and goats milk and is often less inflammatory and allergenic than cheese made with cow’s milk.

Enjoy this dish as a light lunch for 4, or if you’re extra hungry, as a main meal for 2-3 people.

(serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil*
  • Half a medium white onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 100g good quality chorizo sausage
  • 80g uncooked black quinoa (makes approx. 1.5 cups cooked volume)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • 2 whole red bell peppers, sliced in half (lengthwise), seeds & white pith removed
  • 50g greek feta cheese
  • 1 medium-sized avocado
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 4 large handfuls of rocket leaves
  • 100g cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp Basil pesto (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment. Put the pepper halves onto the parchment and drizzle with a little melted coconut or olive oil.
  1. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
  1. In the meantime melt a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onions reduce the heat slightly and sweat for 5 minutes.
  1. Dice the chorizo sausage and add to the frying pan with the onions. Continue to cook on a low heat so the onions take on the colour of the chorizo.
  1. Once the quinoa is cooked, drain any excess water and add to the onions and chorizo. Add the chipotle chilli flakes and lightly season with a pinch of sea salt. Sauté over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  1. Remove the quinoa from the heat. Pile the mixture into each of the pepper halves. Cover lightly with foil and put into the oven for 35 minutes (remove the foil after 20 minutes).
  1. Prepare the toppings and salad: peel, de-stone and slice the avocado (squeeze juice of half a lemon onto the avocado to stop it from going brown). Set aside. Crumble the feta cheese into a small dish and set aside.
  1. In a salad bowl add 4 large handfuls of rocket leaves and diced cucumber.
  1. After 35 minutes remove the peppers from the oven and carefully transfer them to a serving plate. Sprinkle the crumbled feta and the avocado slices over the peppers. Season with a little sea salt. Serve  with a teaspoon of basil pesto and a pile of green salad.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER ONE QUARTER SERVING (including toppings & side salad)
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
320 19g 12g 18g 6.5g 7g
A source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorous and Iron. Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Grain free.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores