Healthy Vegetarian Snack Ideas!

As you may know, I’m a vegetarian – so any recipes/food I include in this blog will be vegetarian because that is how I eat.  You can always adapt my ideas to add meat, if that is what you prefer.

I’ve always been a snacker.  It runs in my family that we are all really susceptible to low blood sugar levels if we don’t eat regularly.  For me, if I go longer than around 4 hours without eating, I can feel the tell-tale signs of starting to feel a bit disoriented, grumpy, weak and confused – not fun!  So snacking is definitely the way forward, although I like to keep my snacks healthy, as otherwise, the calories will easily stack up, leading to eating more calories than are necessary for the day.

Here are some EASY snacks I enjoy (easy is important for me – I am chronically ill, and often unable to spend long preparing food!)

Apple ‘Donuts’

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Cut your favourite variety of apple into four slices, removing the stubby end pieces and stalk.  You can either use a corer to remove the inner core and seeds, or simply trim round it with a knife, to create these ring-shaped pieces.  Then spread a small amount of peanut butter onto two of the four slices (natural, smooth or crunchy – whatever you prefer).  Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon onto the remaining two slices, then simply put them on top of the two peanut butter covered rings.  Voila – a healthy and nutritious apple snack that takes about 1 minute to make!

You could also swap the cinnamon for mixed spice or nutmeg if you prefer.  My husband also likes a drizzle of honey on his (I’m not a honey fan!)


Kale Crisps (or Chips if you’re American!)

I absolutely love kale crisps!  I’m a fan of kale anyway, in smoothies or simply stir-fried with garlic.  But even if you don’t think you like kale, I reckon you’ll love them in this recipe.  They taste so different once they’ve been baked!  Kale is very nutritious – full of vitamins A, C and K, plus various minerals.

kale

The Simple Recipe

  • Take fresh curly kale (I tend to use the pre-chopped up bagged stuff from Tesco, but you can use any kind – if it’s whole, make sure you chop it into bite sized pieces first), wash if needed.
  • Spread the kale evenly over a baking sheet (or several – it shouldn’t overlap, so to make a decent portion, you may need a couple of baking sheets).
  • Drizzle or spray very lightly with oil.  I tend to use the One Cal spray oil, as it’s so low in calories, and spraying ensures even coverage, but olive oil or similar would be fine.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Bake in the oven at 150C/130C fan/gas mark 2 for 18 – 20 minutes, until visibly crisp.  You can cook them on a higher heat for much less time (I have done them in 8 minutes before), but the slower method usually results in a nicer taste.

My Favourite Flavour Variations

I rarely make kale crisps plain, I like to experiment with flavours.  My favourite are:

  • Still lightly spritz the kale with oil, then drizzle soy sauce over before baking.  No need for salt, as the soy sauce is already salty.  The soy sauce goes all sticky and lovely once baked.
  • After drizzling with oil, sprinkle over a pre-made BBQ flavoured powder (or make your own if you have time!).  This makes wonderful BBQ kale crisps that are so savoury and tasty!
  • After oiling, squeeze a wedge of lime over the kale crisps so they are lightly covered in the juice, then sprinkle on chilli flakes, to taste.  This can be as subtle or as hot as you like!

Bean Hummus with Crudite

This is almost sacrilege as a vegetarian, but I’m not a huge fan of hummus.  I don’t mind the flavoured varieties but I’d still rather eat something else.  I love eating raw vegetables as snacks (I prefer most veg raw to cooked) and it’s nice to have something to dip it in.  I could eat sour cream & chive dip all day long, but obviously I need to eat something a bit more nutritious and less calorific!

butterbean hummus  (This is not my photo, as I haven’t made it recently!)

I found something similar to hummus but made with beans instead of chickpeas.  You could probably use any kind of cooked beans, but I used butter beans.  For ease, I chose pre-cooked canned butter beans – you can always use dried, but make sure you follow the soaking instructions carefully.

  • 1 can of butter beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic (this can be adjusted to taste, I like garlic so prefer to use 2)
  • Olive oil – around 4 tablespoons, but keep adding a little at a time until you get the desired consistency
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika (you can use regular, but the smoked gives a lovely flavour)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Simply take everything apart from the oil into a blender (I use a Ninja, which is really handy for this recipe).  Add 1 tablespoon of oil and blend everything up – keep adding the oil, using only enough to get the right consistency.  Serve in a bowl with raw vegetable sticks.  You can also toast and chop up some pitta bread too, if you’re having it as a meal.


Healthy Snacks On-The-Go

Obviously you may not always have the time (or desire) to make something yourself.  Sometimes you need handy, portable snacks that are still nutritious.  Some of my favourites are:

Nakdbar          nuts

  • Nuts – eaten in moderation, these are a good source of protein.  They are an easy snack.  Although they say you should only eat raw, unsalted nuts, I tend to find these a bit bland.  I would prefer to eat roasted or salted nuts less often!
  •  Popcorn – it is easy to find small portion-controlled packets of popcorn these days.  These are a good low-calorie snacking option and come in a variety of savoury and sweet flavours.
  • Nakd bars – these are one of my favourite snacks.  They are made solely from natural ingredients, including fruit and nuts.  They come in some lovely flavours, my favourites being Cocoa Orange and Rhubarb & Custard.  Of course they have a relatively high sugar content, but are more natural than their equivalent cereal bar, packed full of sugar but with little nutrition.

What are your favourite healthy snacks?  Will you be trying any of my recipes or suggestions?  Let me know in the comments box, or follow me on social media!

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