With the chilly grip of the Winter weather bearing down upon us, turning to snack food for comfort and energy to get us through the day is tempting, particularly when there are an abundance of delicious festive treats getting passed around the office!
It’s tempting to give in to snack cravings or ditch the healthy eating at Christmas entirely, and whilst a little bit of indulgence over the festive season doesn’t go amiss, sticking to your health and fitness goals and continuing to take tiny little steps is much better than over eating and trying to start again entirely in January.
We’ve rounded up five of our favourite snack foods we find hard to resist and provided a healthier alternative.
If you have a craving crisps, try swapping your favourite bag for a vegetable alternative. Sliced Sweet potatoes, zucchinis, beetroots, and parsnips all make a delicious and satisfying crunchy alternative to your favourite bag of crispy snacks. Slice your vegetables in to thin layers or grate them, using the largest size on a grater depending on what shape chips you want, and spread individually on a baking tray and pop in to the oven on gas mark 2-3 for 40 to 45 minutes. You can lightly season with salt and pepper or add fennel seeds and chilli powder for a spicier flavour.
Also try : Popcorn, Kale chips, Carrot and celery sticks, Cucumber slices with a thin sprinkling of salt or pepper, Almonds, Cashews or Ryvita.
It’s hard to avoid the temptation of sweets, particularly at Christmas when the festive sweet bowls come up! When you crave sweets what your body is actually craving for is carbon which can be found in fresh fruits. Pop some grapes in to the freezer for 15 minutes, or alternatively purchase some frozen from your local supermarket for a sweet and refreshing snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth. You could also snack on frozen raspberries or blueberries or dried banana slices.
Also try : Dried apricots, Raisons, Cherries, Oranges, Granola bars, Dried pineapple slices
Perhaps one of the hardest ones to beat, craving chocolate can sometimes hit you seemingly out of no where, and the next thing you know you’re pushing the empty quality street wrappers under the few that are left in attempt to disguise the fact you (accidentally) ate the whole box. Instead of reaching for milk chocolate which is mainly just sugar, dry opting for a few squares of dark chocolate instead. Rich and intensifying just a few squares will satisfying your chocolate craving and provides a much healthier alternative. Try adding a few chunks or dark chocolate to a mix of pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds and raisons.
Ice cream craving
More often than not, even after finishing a huge meal and feeling totally stuffed, the craving for something sweet after finishing something savoury creeps up on most of us. For many people, eating a dessert after meals is a habit ingrained from child hood. For a sweet and refreshing alternative try banana ice cream. Naturally sweet and creamy in texture once blended, this is the perfect alternative to satisfy your sweet craving after a meal. We love this recipe from The Kitchn. Chop one or two ripe bananas in to slices and freeze them in an air tight container. Once they have frozen, pop in a blender and blend until they turn in to a creamy ice cream like texture. Pop back in the freezer for a few hours and then serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon on the top. You could also try adding a small tea spoon of peanut butter or honey in to the mix for an added flavour.
Also try : Yogurts, Fruit salads, Smoothies, Fruit sorbet
Biscuits and Cakes
The downfall of many a work place is the never ending delicious supply of cakes and biscuits that circulate on a regular basis. Theres nothing more satisfying or comforting than a cup of tea and a biscuit come 4pm to beat the mid afternoon slump, but eaten regularly these can have an adverse effect on your general health and fitness, not to mention the damage the sugar will do long term to your teeth. For an alternative, try making some bran muffins and adding some dried fruit. High in fibre and nice and sweet they will give an energy boost that will keep you going until home time. We love this recipe from All recipes. Why not try adding some plain greek yoghurt to a bowl and crumbling your muffin in for a healthier dessert alternative.
The Inspire team