11 Of the Best healthy Junk Food Snacks
OK, that title’s a bit of an oxymoron. I mean, is there such a thing as healthy junk food? Of course not, if it’s junk food then by its very nature it probably has too much sugar, salt and hydrogenated vegetable oil in it to be healthy.
But, would you have started reading if the headline were “eleven really healthy snacks made from carrots” ?
Of course not.
However, the fact is, we all like to snack and when the stomach starts to rumble we will often reach for the easiest thing at hand. If you’ve got a machine in the office, it’ll be that. It’s also amazing how easy it is to start the car and find a McDonald’s drive through.
But stop yourself, prepare beforehand and get ready to indulge yourself with some quick to make, easy to prepare snacks that will keep the grumbles away until tea time.
OK, ok, I know what you’re thinking, “maaaaaan, why carrot sticks, they’re sooooo booooring!”
Yes, they are, but they’re also incredibly healthy, and they fill you up nicely. The great thing about carrot sticks is that they’ve got a great crunchy texture, too. They have a satisfying ‘snap’ when you bite into them, much like a bourbon biscuit.
Don’t dunk them in your tea, however.
Same to you! Oh, I get it…
Do you always head to the crisp section when you need a quick snack? Fine, but crisps are full of salt and fat, move along. Nuts? Well, yeah, they’re OK I suppose, but the ones next to the crisp section tend to be covered in all sorts of tasty-yet-fatty substances. The amount of salt is very much off the scale on a lot of them.
No, head deeper into the store and find the healthy food section or even the baking bit. Find some natural, non-tampered with nuts, they’ll be lovely.
Even better, mix them up a bit and add some raisins or sultanas. Again, check the baking aisle and you’ll find huge bags of them for very little cost. Store them in plastic containers, and you can use them all week.
One last thing about nuts is that they are packed with protein that will fill you up until it’s mealtime.
One of my favourite snacks, this. There are so many ways to cook eggs that Delia Smith wrote books about it. If you’re frequently stuck for time during the week and want a bunch of mid-morning snacks to keep you going each day, then hard-boil a few at the beginning of the week. Store them in some Tupperware and just take one to work with you.
Hungry? Chomp away.
Got a bit more time? Got a microwave in the office? Peachy!
Scrambled eggs is so easy to make. Grab a cup, break a couple of eggs into it and add a bit of pepper (or not, your choice). Whisk up with a fork.
Pop in the microwave and heat for 20 seconds or so, check it, whisk up again and keep going until it’s nice and fluffy.
Bung on some buttered toast, boom — snack in less than five minutes.
Because I’m a bit of a snob, I’d also mix in some chives, but that looks waaaaay too much in the office kitchen. People will talk.
Pepper & dip
Yeah, how about starting a running buffet for elevenses?
You’ll need a clean jar or something similar. Get some hummus and pop it in the bottom, only filling to a third of the way up. Then get some red, yellow and green peppers and cut them into thick strips, shoving them in the jar.
There you go! It’s like one of those cheese dipper things only healthier, cheaper and waaaay posher looking.
Again, find these in the health food section of your supermarket. If you have the will-power then buy in bulk to save money and decant to small Tupperware boxes for use during the week. However, if you’re the sort of person who sits their binging on bags of things, just because they’re there, buy small!
This was a suggestion by someone else. A friend of mine loves the stuff, but I am of the firm belief that it doesn’t fill you up because it’s so disgusting.
I’d personally rather eat shoe leather, but I am told it’s filling, low salt and high protein.
We should all be eating five portions of fruit and veg a day, and a couple of pieces of fruit will easily get you to that target. Bananas and apples are the real easy ones to go for, they come in biodegradable packaging, are tasty and can be picked up cheaply from all the supermarkets around the office.
However, they’re also full of sugar. Ah, yeah, sugar. It’s true that it’s fructose, which it a fruity kind of sugar (not a scientific description, granted), but it’s sugar nonetheless. So, don’t go crazy on the fruit all day otherwise you’ll get the highs and lows associated with it.
And don’t dip them in chocolate. What were you thinking??
I know! Chocolate! On a healthy snack blog!
Seriously, don’t go crazy, there’s something in this.
Dark chocolate is yummy but it has a few benefits that are often overlooked due to it sitting next to all the sugary death bars on the counter.
For a start, the really quality stuff is loaded with minerals. Seriously, it’s got tons of the stuff and it doesn’t contain as much fat as the milk chocolate.
It does, however, have caffeine and some sugar but neither in massive quantities. However, I find the best thing about it is it fills you up without having to eat too much. If you buy a huge bar of the stuff and eat it all quickly then you’re not going to feel too well later. But, if you just snack on a few squares, you’ll be fine.
What?!! A Chocolate bar?!!
Well why not? The great thing about a Snickers is that it’s packed full of peanuts (conversely that’s a bad thing if you have an allergy) and peanuts are full of protein which can make you feel full and give you a good energy boost.
There’s also sugar which can give you a boost if you’re lagging, however it does have a lot of saturated fat. Now, many people are worried about saturated fats and for years we’ve been told that they contribute to cholesterol but recent research casts doubt on this. According to the Telegraph, they may not be that bad after all.
Although the same article does say sugars are the bad boys — maybe don’t eat too many Snickers then, eh?
Ever had “lite” crisps? You know the ones, they’re advertised as 25% less bad for you. Well have you noticed that essentially this means they contain fewer actual crisps and taste worse?
Well we discovered that our old school favourite Quavers had less fat, fewer calories and still tasted as amazing as when we ate them in the playground years ago.
Quavers are great in that they give you that nice satisfying “crunch”, too.
For some people, the only snack at the desk is crisps. Yup, a lovely crunchy snack is all that will help some get through the day and why not? They’re delicious.
However, tortillas are much lower in salt and cheaper, too.
Now, you’re going to have to practice restraint again because the best bargains are to be had when you buy bigger packets. For example, Tesco does an “everyday value” 200g bag for 46p. That’ eight servings at the standard crisp packet size.
They have half the fat though, so they’re well worth it if you must have a crispy treat.
Now for some recipes
We’ve stuck to the really easy stuff so far, but for our last two we’re going to make you work for your lunch. And why not? Surely eating something you made yourself and you know is (relatively) healthy will make you feel doubly good?
Nope, not deep fried, instead we’re going to bake them. Yeah, that’s why they’re so healthy!
First off you need to get the oven up to 220C, that’s usually as hot as most ovens will go, ramp it on up there. Pop some oil on a couple of baking sheets and pop them in the oven to warm up.
Top and tail two onions and peel them, and then slice into 2cm slices. Separate these into rings (get rid of the smaller ones, they’re not much good for anything except soup).
You’ll need some flour, some baking powder, some breadcrumbs and some eggs. How much I hear you ask? Well, you’re going to be coating the onion rings, so there’s no real magical formula, just see how much you need. If you need another egg, crack one. Need more flour? No problem
You’ll also need some Cajun spices. About a tablespoon should do.
Mix the flour and baking powder in a dish and beat the eggs in a bowl. Mix the breadcrumbs and Cajun spice in another bowl.
You can see what’s coming! Dip the onion rings in the egg, then the flour, then the breacrumbs.
Bake for ten minutes each side.
And finally, the best solution to a cold day in the office — soup!
The great thing about soup is that you can use pretty much any vegetable you’ve got. This particular version works for any root veg you’ve got lying about but you can substitute almost anything. The technique is very easy to follow.
For ingredients you’ll need your veg, about 200g, some potato, about 300g, some oil and about 700ml of stock. Make more or less by increasing the ingredients as you see fit. This will make about a litre.
Chop the veg and potato into small pieces and fry with a little oil in a big saucepan until they start to go soft.
Pour the stock over (just the stock made from cubes, nothing fancy) and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes or so until the veg is now really tender.
Blend either by pouring into a blender or using a stick blender.
You can make loads up and freeze it into individual tubs ready to take to work and microwave as needed!
Over to you!
So what are your favourite work-time snacks? Let us know and we might feature them on here!