No matter how ‘good’ we are when it comes to choosing healthy meals, it’s hard to resist the mid-afternoon hunger pangs, especially when we’ve been rushing around all day using up energy. Kids are the same, they charge in from school and raid the larder grabbing anything that is quick, easy and tasty to fill up on.
But even when we are ravenous, we don’t have to be stuffing ourselves with energy bars, cakes and crisps. With a bit of forward planning we could be satisfying our hunger and filling up our children with healthy, sugar-free, super-yummy snacks.
If you like chips (or crisps)…
Diving face first into a pack of Doritos may keep kids quiet for five minutes, but the resulting additive-high will do anything but. Replace with these equally orange but infinitely healthier versions by slicing some sweet potatoes and leaving them in a bowl of water for a few hours or overnight (removing the starch, making them crunchier). When you fancy a snack, just spread them out on a tray, sprinkle with a little oil and bake!
Sweet Potato Crisps
1 sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced.
1/2 cup coconut oil.
1. In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil (it should be about 1/2 a cm (1/4 inch) deep). When the oil starts to bubble, turn down to a medium heat and carefully drop the chip slices into the oil (don’t put too many in at a time, they shouldn’t cover each other).
2. Cook the chips for around 3 minutes, flip with tongs and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until the edges start to curl.
3. Allow to dry on a paper towel. Get ready for that crunch!
If you like a fry-up…
When it’s hot food you’re after steer away from the frying pan with these mean Green Bacon + Egg Cupcakes. They can keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Green Bacon + Egg Cupcakes
350g middle bacon rashers, rind removed.
1/4 cup broccoli florets, shredded finely with a knife.
1/4 cup fresh herbs, roughly chopped (coriander or basil works great).
1/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted.
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to season.
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 400°F / Gas Mark 6 and lightly grease eight holes of a muffin tray.
2. Use a bacon rasher to line greased cups, looping or pressing the bacon around the sides and using any small broken bits to line the bottom. It needn’t be a perfect job – feel free to use extra bits to fill in the gaps.
4. Gently crack 1 egg into each bacon cup, sprinkle herbs, broccoli florets and peas over the top and season with salt and pepper.
5. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the egg whites are set. Let them sit for a minute and then, using a knife or spoon, gently remove the cupcakes from the tray.
If you like hot chocolate…
Commercial powdered hot chocolate is full of sugar which more than undoes any benefit gained from the milk. This hot chocolate recipe, however, is not only healthy, but you can store the powder in a jar ready for next time.
Anti-Inflammatory Hot Chocolate
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder.
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
1/4 teaspoon dried ginger.
1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric (depending on your taste).
pinch of cayenne pepper.
pinch of cardamom (optional).
teaspoon rice malt syrup, to taste (we recommend no more than 1/2 teaspoon).
pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1/2 cup coconut milk, warmed.
1/2 cup water.
1. Add raw cacao powder, dried spices, sea salt and pepper into a standard mug.
2. Fill mug halfway with boiling water and rice malt syrup and stir until powders dissolve.
3. Pour in warmed coconut milk and stir to combine. Serve.
If you like baked treats…
Step away from the muffin bars! While an afternoon cake is okay for a treat every now and then, we prefer the type that’s full of nutrients and not so full of sugar. This cake is low in fructose and can be bunged in the slowcooker. It also serves 12, providing instant afternoon treats for all!
Dump ‘n’ Run Blueberry + Carrot Cake
2 cups almond meal.
3/4 cups brown rice flour.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
2 eggs, whisked.
1/4 cup coconut oil.
1 1/2 tablespoon rice malt syrup.
1 lemon, juice and zest.
1 cup Cooked Quinoa.
1 cup grated carrot (about 1 small carrot worth).
1 cup (125g) fresh blueberries (see note).
full-fat natural yoghurt, to serve.
1. Line a 4.5 litre slow-cooker insert with baking paper so that it reaches quite high up the side of the pot.
2. Add almond meal, brown rice flour, cinnamon, vanilla, baking powder and sea salt to a large mixing bowl. Combine together and remove the lumps.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, rice malt syrup, lemon juice and zest. Stir through Cooked Quinoa and grated carrot. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Add in blueberries and stir through.
4. Place mixture into the slow-cooker insert and smooth out the top. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2. Check the cake by inserting a toothpick into the centre – it should come out clean. If not, continue cooking on high with the lid off.
5. Once cooked, remove cake with baking paper from the slow cooker, allow to cool slightly before slicing to serve. This cake tastes great with a big dollop of yoghurt.
If you like cereal…
Teenagers especially have a knack for eating salad bowl-sized servings of cereal. You won’t feel so bad about it when it’s I Quit Sugar’s world-renowned Coco-nutty Granola recipe. This one is a chocolate version, so it’s just like that famous variety that “turns the milk chocolatey”. Only crunchy and not full of hideous amounts of sugar.
Chocolate Coco-nutty Granola
3 cups coconut flakes.
2 cups mixed almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts and pepitas (preferably activated, roughly chopped).
2 tablespoons chia seeds.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional).
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted.
2 teaspoons rice malt syrup (optional).
1/2 cup raw cacao powder.
2 tablespoons cacao nibs.
1/2 cup Greek-style full-fat yoghurt or unsweetened coconut yoghurt, to serve.
1. Preheat oven to 120ºC / 250°F / Gas Mark ½ and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Combine all ingredients (except yoghurt), then spread evenly on the tray.
3. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden, turning halfway through the cooking time. The darker it is, the crunchier it will be.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
5. Store it in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 2 weeks (or in the freezer for even longer!).
To serve, spoon the yoghurt into a glass jar or bowl and top with 1/2 cup of granola.
If you like energy bars…
Energy bars – so sugary, so small, so deeply unsatisfying. It’s too easy to work your way through a whole box of the packaged kind. Better to satisfy cravings with this protein and fat-rich granola slice. Best served chilled, so you can whack it in the fridge the night before!
Sweet + Salty Granola Slice
1 cup almonds.
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
1/2 cup sesame seeds.
1 cup activated buckwheat groats.
1 cup shredded coconut.
2/3 cups coconut oil.
1/4 cup rice malt syrup.
2 tablespoons almond butter (or nut butter of choice).
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
1 teaspoon vanilla powder.
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
1. Preheat oven to 160°C / 325°F / Gas Mark 3 and line one large baking tray and one small slice tray with baking paper.
2. Place almonds, pepitas and sesame seeds into a food processor and blitz until you form small chunks. Add into a mixing bowl with the buckinis, shredded coconut and ⅓ cup melted coconut oil. Mix to combine.
3. Spread the mix over your baking trays. place in the oven and cook for 15-20 mins, tossing the mixture at 10 minutes.
4. Once crispy and golden brown, remove nut mix from the oven and pour back into the mixing bowl. Add in remaining coconut oil, nut butter, rice malt syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and mix well.
5. Scoop the mixture into the prepared slice tray. Spread and press down mixture firmly. Place in the fridge or freezer to set for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
6. Remove from fridge and cut into slices to serve. This one makes 24 small snack pieces.
If you like chocolate…
Sometimes the only thing that hits the spot is a little chocolate hit. Serve up this famous Raspberry Ripple into slices when you have company around (trust it, it will go like that!)
1/3 cup frozen raspberries.
1/3 cup shredded coconut, or coconut flakes for a chunkier version.
1/3 cup coconut oil.
80 g salted butter.
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder.
1 teaspoon rice malt syrup.
1. Line a dinner plate or baking tray with baking paper (a dinner plate is ideal as the slight indent creates a good shape).
2. Scatter the berries and coconut on the plate or baking tray. Melt the oil and butter in a saucepan or in the microwave (the oil takes longer to melt, so add the butter a little after).
3. Stir in the cacao powder and syrup and continue stirring until syrup has melted and mixture is well combined.
4. Pour mixture over the berries and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes until firm. To serve, either break into shards or cut into wedges.
Make sure the rice malt syrup has melted over the heat and combined well with the other ingredients before pouring over the berries and coconut. Fail to do so will result in your mixture splitting – still yummy but not the desired outcome.
Be sure to use salted butter in this recipe – it gives a lovely kick.
Sweetener note: This recipe contains 1/2 teaspoon of added sweetener per serve. If you haven’t quite quit the white stuff or you’re making these cupcakes for people who haven’t either, you may like to add a touch more. We suggest adding a little bit of sweetener at a time and taste testing until the sweetness is right for you.