Healthy Snacks this Lent

Barbara Wilson

Having a snack doesn’t have to mean tucking in to a family-sized bag of crisps or a giant chocolate bar. Snacking can be a healthy addition to the day, adding valuable nutrients and keeping those blood sugar levels steady.

If you become hungry between meals, having a healthy snack might make the difference between eating sensibly at the next meal or eating with less control and making not-so –good food choices. Just remember to include the calories from your snack into your daily allowance.

Savoury cheese whirls

Thaw a sheet of ready-rolled frozen puff pastry – wholemeal if possible. Mix a tsp of water into a tbs of Marmite or tomato puree and brush over the pastry. Grate 100g of low fat Cheddar or Edam cheese and sprinkle over the pastry. Roll up like a Swiss roll and chill for 20 minutes.

Cut into thin slices (½cm in thickness) and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 200 degrees C. Once cool, store in an air-tight tin or freeze and re-heat under the grill for a few minutes when you want a quick snack.

Makes 30 servings. Nutrition information: 40 calories and 2.4g fat per serving.

Chilli bean dip

Heat a tsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan and gently cook a finely chopped onion, a crushed clove of garlic, a good pinch each of cumin and chilli powder. Add a tbs of tomato puree and a tbs of red or white wine vinegar and leave to cool.

Stir in a 100g tub of low fat plain cottage cheese, half a 400g tin of beans, such as kidney beans, black-eye beans or cannellini beans, and 40g grated mature Cheddar cheese. Mash lightly with a potato masher and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve with carrot or celery sticks, pepper batons or rice cakes.

Makes 8 servings. Nutrition information: 75 calories and 3g fat per serving.

Peach & banana smoothie

In a blender, whizz together a small tin of peaches, 2 tbs of their juice, a banana, a tub of natural low fat yoghurt and 6 ice cubes. This can be stored in the fridge until you’re ready for a snack – just shake and snack!

Makes 2 servings. Nutrition information: 110 calories and 0.6g fat per serving.

Chocolate banana brownies

Grease and line an 18cm square cake tin. Break 75g plain chocolate into pieces and place in a small saucepan with 3tbs of polyunsaturated oil and 3tbs of honey. Heat gently until melted. Sieve 50g self-raising flour and 50g wholemeal self-raising flour into a mixing bowl, making a well in the centre.

Pour in the chocolate mix, an egg, an extra egg white and 2 small mashed bananas. Mix well until smooth. Pour into the cake tin and bake at 180 degrees C for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and cut into 16 squares. These can be stored in an air-tight container for a few days or frozen.

Makes 16 servings. Nutrition information: 85 calories and 4g fat per serving.

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