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.

Magic Muffins

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.

Basic recipe:

(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.

franmac.co.uk/recipes/country-living
 Sweet ingredients:
  • 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
 Savoury ingredients:
  • 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

Method                   

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
  • 200g flaxmealBanana bread 2
  • 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:
  • 200g flaxmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • A couple of tablespoons seeds such as Dr Gaye’s Super Omega
  • 5 eggs
  • 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

Savoury muffinsCombine 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 hello@franmac.co.uk and we will feature it on the site!

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