I absolutely love food and not-surprisingly I treat myself to something sweet every single day. In the past I would reasearch diets for losing weight in all the wrong places and found them all to be incredibly restrictive and unrealistic in the long-term. It has taken me years to adapt my palate and get away from overly processed foods to what I eat today. My diet is made up of fresh, whole and nutritious foods that help me to perform my best in the gym and every day. However, I’m all about moderation. There is no point in starving yourself of the foods you love because it will leave you unhappy and unsatisfied pretty quickly. My solution is to eat an ’80/20′ diet. That means that I eat well 80% of the time while enjoying chocolate, popcorn, bacon (the list goes on..) about 20% of the time. This type of diet has worked for me so far but I am constantly adapting and changing as I go. By not depriving myself of the foods I love I have been able to make this a complete lifestyle change, and I have compiled a list below of how I did it and what my favourite snacks are.
Always first on my list is chocolate. If you were to ask my boyfriend, he will tell you that I will very often eat myself sick with the stuff. However, this chocolate is a little bit different. Loving earth have created a vegan chocolate (hear me out) that is just as creamy and packed full of flavour as the real stuff. I can be a little bit sensitive to dairy so this brand is great if you’re like me, plus the ingredients are crazy simple (for eg. the caramel one: virgin cacao butter, evaporated coconut nectar, raw cashews, coconut, cacao). You can find them in most health stores and even online. They also pair incredibly well with my other favourite snack, popcorn! Such a simple snack idea but I always find myself reaching for a bag of popcorn whenever I want a salty treat. The brand I have found and love is proper corn, and they do a range of gourmet flavoured popcorn although my favourite is salty.
PINEAPPLE! Never underestimate seasonal fruit. Our supermarkets are great these days, and we can have our favourite fruits all year-round. But have you ever noticed the difference in the quality and taste of your fruit and veg when it’s in season? For me, it’s quite noticeable and I will always make the most of fresh pineapples. Such an underutilised fruit, bursting with flavour and so refreshing. Most weeks I will purchase a pineapple and chop it up to store in my fridge or freezer as a snack or to throw into my smoothies. I will also make sure to buy a big punnet of berries for the week to snack on when I’m out and about. A container full of fresh fruit is a great snack to bring with you to work or college and requires little to no prep. So, experiment with new fruits in the supermarket and use them as snacks or even to top your oats, pancakes and french toast!
Nuts and seeds are an essential part of our diet that have definitely been forgotten about by many. Shop around to find the best price for these snacks as I know many places will charge a high price which has put me off in the past – I find Aldi or Lidl to be the best on cost. These little gems are packed full of healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals and will do wonders for the health of your digestive system, skin, hair and overall wellbeing. I don’t bother to buy fruit and nut mixes anymore as I simply gather my favourites and combine them in a big zip-lock bag which I can dip in and out of as I please. These are an absolute powerhouse snack that are portable and handy for anyone with a busy schedule. My favourites are pistachios, brazil nuts, chia seeds and hazelnuts. I like to add chia seeds to my salads, oats, smoothies and even my water as a way of getting more fibre and omega-3 into my diet.
In keeping with the theme of chocolate and fruit, I had to of course include my all time favourites for when I’m feeling a little extra indulgent. This a 70% chocolate with little flecks of caramel in the mix and I absolutely love the stuff. I have definitely migrated away from white and milk chocolates as I find dark to be more rich and satiating (although sometimes I just can’t help myself). Again, I always make sure to have plenty of berries in my diet and will always include them in my breakfasts or an evening snack for their sweetness. Although nothing makes me happier than to have a fruit bowl fully stocked up on bananas, my absolute favourite and most portable fruit snack for on the go!
Another favourite snack of mine, and one which features regularly in my recipes is coconut. I often add these little shards of coconut goodness into my granola recipe (which you can find here), however they are just as good eaten straight from the pack!
And last but not least, home-baked goods. I know what you’re thinking, muffins and cakes aren’t healthy! Well, I am an absolute fiend for baked goods and if I were to deprive myself of them I would be very unhappy, very quickly. So, what’s my advice? Simple: bake what you crave from scratch. I know it is so easy to buy premade cakes that taste great when you want that quick fix, but most of the time there are unnecessary ingredients added to those goods. By baking at home, you are in control of what is put into your food and you can learn and play around with new, healthier ingredients while learning how to make amazing treats you can be proud of. Above is a stack of my favourite banana muffins (taken from a Mary Berry recipe) that I bake whenever I’ve got an over ripened banana lying around. Muffins are extremely versatile and forgiving when it comes to ‘healthified’ recipes and they can be easily frozen, ensuring you’ve always got something to munch on with your morning coffee.
Well, that was a ramble and a half. I hope this post has helped anyone who is in need of motivation or inspiration. These are only a handful of my favourite snacks, if I were to list them all we would be here all week! Don’t be afraid to experiment with foods and find what works for you. Let me know if you’ve tried anything I have listed above! But most importantly, what are YOUR favourite snacks?
The Perky Peach