This week’s nutritious snack suggestions are quick and tasty. They are suitable for any occasion and can be prepared prior to an event. Based on plant foods they boost our nutrient and phytochemical intake without overdoing the kilojoules.
What is a nutritious snack?
A nutritious snack is ideally based on plant foods with no or minimal added salt and sugar. They can contribute to your daily intake of whole foods, such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, dairy and meat, seafood and poultry requirements. When less processed, they offer higher amounts of fibre and nutrients. High fibre foods satisfy our appetite and provide other health benefits via metabolism and gut function. Here are nine of my favourite snacks.
- A colourful fruit platter deserves a place on your menu. Research shows that people are more inclined to eat fruit when it is cut up. It is a great option for warmer weather and viewed as a traditional nutritious snack option.
- Plain nuts (unsalted, raw or baked without oil) are a really satisfying and nutritious snack. Nuts for Life provide excellent information about different varieties of nuts and their nutritional qualities.
- You can add some sweetness to your plain nuts by adding in dried fruits. Try some different flavours with dried berries, figs, pears and apple.
- Dried fruit can also be rehydrated, pureed and rolled into fruit truffles. You may even wish to roll the balls in seeds or cocoa to add additional flavour. These are a satisfying bite-sized nutritious snack.
- Vegetable based dips, such as tomato salsa, hummus and beetroot, are a tasty option. They can be prepared at home without added salt and oil. Ideally served with salad vegetables e.g. carrot sticks, sliced cucumber and celery, or baked flat bread or rice crackers. A well received nutritious snack.
- Bruschetta is traditionally chopped tomato mixed with onion, garlic, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar served on toasted bread. A simpler variation to this is created by, placing thinly sliced pieces tomato, alternating with leaves of basil, on bread or a cracker, and then drizzling a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar to finish. The onion and garlic are optional.
- Rice paper rolls are easier to make than you might think. The trick is to keep the rice paper sufficiently moist. Have your ingredients chopped prior to wetting the rice paper. Suitable fillings include: finely sliced green beans (long ways), bean shoots, sliced lettuce, sliced avocado, thinly sliced mushrooms, basil, coriander, cooked prawns, sliced meats and sliced marinated tofu. Keep the rice paper rolls moist by placing a damp cloth over them, prior to refrigerating. A low salt dipping sauce can be made from citrus juices with fresh herbs.
- Oven baked vegetables can be served warm or cool. Bon appetit have some great natural flavour boosters for roasted vegetables—I recommend the plant-based oils over the suggested chicken fat and bacon fat though, also use the salty finishes sparingly.
- Vegetable kofta, a savoury ball or pattie, can be made with cooked legumes and mashed vegetables such as pumpkin. A range of Indian spices can be used to add flavour. To reduce the fat content, the kofta can be oven baked instead of fried, and served with yoghurt and tahini based dipping sauce. Kofta are an appetite pleasing nutritious snack.
I suggest that you collect and develop recipes for nutritious snacks, so when hosting a party or taking snacks to a function, you can confidently put an attractive and tasty plate of food together. In-season plant foods offer great colour and flavour.