One of the hardest things about eating healthily is managing the whole deal around cravings and snacking. What we all need is healthy alternatives that we can reach for quickly, and which will help wean us off sugar and processed foods and, of course, taste delicious. If, at the same time, they can deliver a whole heap of nutritional and health benefits, so much the better.
These recipes will introduce you to some new and interesting ingredients and intriguing ways of flinging together delicious, nutritious and filling snacks that will go a long way to keeping your health goals on-track.
Sometimes, we all want to eat something quick, squodgy and satisfying. Normally, when we’re craving insta-satisfaction, we would reach for the bread bin or biscuit barrel, but here’s a super-easy, quicker-than-quick alternative that is packed with good fats and Omega 3’s, protein, fibre and goodness that will meet all your requirements for instant snacking, without messing with your insulin levels. What I love are easy recipes that I can play with to ring the changes, and these muffins are just that. This is the infinitely versatile, perfectly sweet or savoury, magically- life-saving recipe that will be your ultimate weapon against cravings.
(Makes 1 huge muffin or 2 smaller ones)
2 tablespoons flax meal
½ tsp baking powder
1 large free-range, organic egg
1 tablespoon nut butter (almond, cashew, hazelnut, brazil nut)
1 teaspoon mixed seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon coconut or nut oil
optional sweetener of your choice ½ tsp stevia recommended
Pinch of salt
This basic recipe is good to go as it is, but you can add any number of different ingredients to create the perfect muffin for you. Here are a couple of my favourite combinations – one for a sweet option, one for a savoury.
1 heaped tablespoon any combination chopped dried or fresh fruit of your choice – eg: sultanas, dates, banana, berries, dessicated coconut
Maple syrup (optional, aim for as little as possible, depending on where you are on the no-sugar spectrum)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 heaped teaspoon nutritional yeast OR 1 oz grated cheese
½ teaspoon black pepper
chopped herbs/veggies of your choice – eg cumin, rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley, onion, chilli, sweet pepper
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mug. Add the egg and mix thoroughly with a fork and then add the nut butter. Depending on whether you are opting for the sweet or savoury version, add the appropriate ingredients at the end and stir well to combine.
Put the mug in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Tip your (slightly oddly shaped!) muffin onto a plate and enjoy. It will be piping hot so take care!
So that’s the easy-peasy, done in a tick version, but if you like baking ahead, the basic recipe can also be augmented to be made up as a loaf, a savoury foccacia or a batch of muffins, baked in the oven. Here are the details:
For Sweet Flax Banana Bread or Muffins
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
A couple of tablespoons seeds such as Dr Gaye’s Super Omega
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
5 organic, free-range eggs, lightly beaten
75 ml coconut oil
100 ml water
2 tablespoons nut butter of your choice
2 bananas, mashed
4 medjool dates, chopped OR 2 tablespoons sultanas
Put the dry ingredients into a bowl and combine thoroughly with a fork, leaving the dates until the end. Put the wet ingredients, including the mashed bananas and nut butter in a separate bowl all together and stir well to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir again thoroughly. Finally add in the chopped dates and stir to distribute evenly through the mixture.
For a savoury tomato and basil foccacia, loaf or muffins:
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
A couple of tablespoons seeds such as Dr Gaye’s Super Omega
75 ml olive or nut oil
100 ml water
2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes very finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast plus 3 extra tablespoons water OR 100 g grated cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon smoked cumin
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir thoroughly with a fork. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the oil and the water. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Add the flavourings and stir thoroughly to distribute evenly through the mixture.
Whether you opt for the sweet or savoury option, here’s how you can also choose your format – loaf, muffins or focaccia:
For a loaf: Pour into a greased loaf tin and bake at 180°C for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. I usually check at 25 and 30 minutes.
For muffins: Spoon into muffin trays or cups and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Check at 15 minutes to be on the safe side.
For foccaccia: Allow mixture to stand for 2 or 3 minutes until it has stiffened enough to hold its shape. Empty onto a flat, lined baking tray and spread with the back of a spoon to create the desired shape and thickness. Sprinkle with a little sea-salt, garlic or additional herbs. Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
So there you have it! The perfect suite of gluten-and-dairy-free, low-sugar, high protein, low carb snacks and bread alternatives that will give you everything you need to manage and control your cravings!
Have a play with these recipes and add your own ingredients, to make them uniquely your own! The possibilities are endless!
Send in your own personal favourite to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will feature it on the site!
In need of a sweet treat that won’t set you on a guilt trip? This recipe, created by award winning TV Chef and Nutritionist, Christine Bailey, on behalf of Mindful Bites, is for a fudge is so scrummy you’ll find it hard to believe it’s so healthy. Rich in protein and essential fats with no added sugar this makes a wonderful treat or healthy post workout snack.
The addition of the superfood, Baobob, gives this fudge a sensational citrus tang and plenty of vitamin C for animmune and beauty boost.
Vitamin C is crucial for the production of collagen which is an essential protein for healthy skin, bones and hair.
Makes 20 pieces
Suitable for Vegetarians, Suitable for Vegans, Gluten Free
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 3 hours
Storage: Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to 1 month.
1. In a high speed blender grind up the nuts in batches until really fine. Place in a bowl with the baobab powder. 2. Put the chocolate chips in a small saucepan with the nut butter and melt over a low heat. 3. Place the dates in a blender with the melted chocolate mixture and process to form a stiff paste. 4. Add the chocolate paste to the ground nuts and combine thoroughly using your hands to make sure it is completely mixed. It should form a soft dough. 5. Place the mixture into a lined 20cm / 8-inch shallow square tin and press down firmly. 6. Chill for 3-4 hours until firm. Cut into chunks to serve.
Who doesn’t love Banana Bread? This recipe, created by Christine Bailey, an award winning TV Chef and Nutritionist on behalf of Mindful Bites, is for a perfectly nutritious gluten-free bread to kick start your day. Packed with fibre, healthy fats and protein to energise you through the whole morning. Using Mindful Bites Almond & Maca Nut Butter, this is the perfect way to give your morning a healthy sustained energy kick.
Maca is a well known adrenal adaptogen helping the body cope with our daily stresses. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, manganese, iron and B vitamins which are all essential for energy production. Sweetened with bananas rather than sugar or syrups this will some become a family favourite.
For a special treat why not add a handful of chocolate chips to the mix before cooking.
Gluten free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian
Makes 1 x 2lb loaf / Serves 10
Banana Almond Maca Bread
Picture courtesy of Christine Bailey www.christinebailey.co.uk
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4. 2. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment 3. Place the first five ingredients in a food processor and beat well until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process to form a smooth batter. If you want to at this point, stir in some chocolate chips or handful of dried fruit or mixed seeds. 4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. 5. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and when a skewer is inserted into the middle it comes out clean 6. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack. 7. Cool then slice and serve.
If, like me, you start to feel a bit panicky around about this point in the year, this is for you.
For all of us who struggle with our weight, health or food intolerances, the temptations of Christmas can make for a roller coaster holiday experience. I have tried all strategies and learned the hard way. The ‘what the hey, it only happens once a year’ approach has led to multiple food comas, rock bottom self esteem and a seemingly endless struggle to get back on track.
The alternative ‘I’m not going to let a single empty calorie pass my lips’, just leads to massive party-pooping and a sudden all out binge when it all becomes a bit much.
Is there a middle way? I think there might be. Finally, I think, I have worked out how to survive Christmas and enter the New Year, relatively unscathed and able to fit into my jeans.
It’s just about going with the flow enough to have a good time, but not so much that you’re drowning in egg-nog.
To help you manage the holiday season with éclat, here are a couple of my favourite Christmas recipes. Designed to get some Ho-Ho-Ho into Wholesome, these recipes are light and delicious and will provide you with the armoury you need to manage the two big Christmas danger zones – the cake tin and the cheese board!
If you need more than this to get you through the Christmas Season unscathed, then download my FREE Christmas Survival Guide by clicking the link below. It has everything you could possibly need to help you get through the Christmas Season including a 4-Day Reset Plan, just in case things go wrong!
Mince Pie Flavoured Amazeballs
There is no point in denying yourself the occasional sweet treat, that way disaster lies as it is just not realistically achievable for most humans! But, by rolling all the flavours of Christmas into one delicious little ball, with my mince pie flavoured Amazeballs you get all the benefit of Christmas, with none of the drawbacks!
You can join me in my Christmas Kitchen as I prepare these delicious Mince Pie Amazeballs (my daughter calls them Crimballs!) in this video.
Join me in my Christmas Kitchen
And I will show you how to make these delicious Mince-Pie flavoured Amazeballs
Join me in my Christmas Kitchen as I demonstrate how to make these delicious Seasonal Treats.
Place all the ingredients into a food processor, or very powerful blender
Whizz until all the ingredients are combined, stopping the machine and stirring up the ingredients from time to time as necessary.
you are aiming for the point when everything starts to clump together but there is still a bit of texture to the mix.
Roll the mixture into little bite-sized balls and then coat in finely chopped walnuts to coat.
Dairy-free Cashew Cheez
Cheese can be really tempting at this time of year, but it’s also very heavy on the digestive system, and a really no-no for anyone who is avoiding dairy. To help you get all the cheesy benefits without any of that gastro-intestinal distress, here is my easy-peasy-cheez. Literally whizzed up in a second and versatile enough to be used as an alternative to cheese sauce in, for example, a veggie lasagne, dolloped into baked potatoes or alongside a chilli, or even popped onto delicate and sophisticated canapés. The choice is yours and I am sure you can think up a million ways to use this super-versatile, uber-easy recipe.
2 cups cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours
2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 heaped tablespoons nutritional yeast
Water – for a cream cheese texture, you will need approx 2 tablespoons, for a dip, add more water to reach the consistency you prefer.
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
salt to taste
herbs and flavourings of your choice eg capers and dill (delicious with smoked salmon), chives (the perfect dip), tarragon and lemon zest, parsley, coriander ..
Put all the ingredients, except the herbs, into your food processor or high speed blender.
Whizz until combined and a smooth, even consistency is achieved. Add more water as necessary to get the consistency you prefer.
Add the herbs and flavourings of your choice and either stir in by hand or pulse to combine.
I hope knowing there are some healthy alternatives to the usual Christmas pitfalls has inspired you! If you would like to have more tips and tricks to help you survive the Christmas season plus and 4-day reset plan (just in case it all goes horribly wrong), then download my 20 page Christmas Survival Guide below!
Download your FREE Christmas Survival Guide
Everything you need to help you get through Christmas unscathed.
With 28 pages of strategies to help you manage temptation this Christmas, AND a 4-Day Reset plan in case it all goes wrong. This is the perfect emergency kit to get through Christmas unscathed!