Power Snacking

To avoid making a meal out of another mealtime, Lawrence Brackstone offers some solutions to the culinary minefield of between-meal snacking

Issue ID: April 2009

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Previously, we covered one of the most difficult meal times of the day – the working week lunch – and demonstrated how a little pre planning can provide a healthy meal solution. This time, in a similar vein, we’re going to look at two other potential meal-time pitfalls – the mid-morning and mid-afternoon slump, when our ebbing energy levels inevitably veer us towards the biscuit tin or one of the many cakes that someone’s brought in for their birthday… or perhaps just because it’s Wednesday! But just half an hour later, the energy slump we satiated with the quick-fix sugar rush will, no doubt, have returned.

As triathletes it’s normal for our bodies to cry out for extra energy ‘top-ups’, and to create a more natural five-times-a-day meal plan. With these snacks, the extension to the traditional three meals ‘flattens’ out the rollercoaster curve of our intake and eliminates hunger pangs. Training after work also becomes more productive as you’ll have power reserves in the body on which to call upon.

The following five recipes are purposely simple, nutritious, delicious and are easy to digest. They’re cost effective, use fresh and light flavours that won’t ‘repeat’ on your training session, and are all vegetarian.

Cherry tomato and cucumber skewers with chickpea paste

A good boost of protein and carbs for your post-work session. Shop-bought hummus can be strong on garlic and can contain high fat levels. This recipe provides a lighter version that won’t leave you with garlic breath for the rest of the day. You can change the choice of veg, too.

Preparation and cooking time 10mins
Equipment Food blender, skewers

Ingredients

Paste (will keep for four days when chilled)
200g chick peas, drained
Half a lemon, juiced
1-2tbsps olive oil or rapeseed oil
50ml water or liquor from the chickpeas
Black pepper, optional
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of mixed seeds for seasoning. Can include sesame, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, linseed

Skewers
4 cherry tomatoes
6 chunks of cucumber
 

Method

1 In an electric blender, add all the paste ingredients, except the seasoning. Blend until a chunky paste is achieved; blend more if you prefer it smooth.
2 Season with salt and pepper.
3 Chop the cucumber into approximately 15mm cubes and thread onto one skewer with the cherry tomatoes.
4 Spoon the chickpea paste into a small lunchbox and sprinkle with the seeds.
5 Dip the veg skewers into the paste and enjoy.

Fruited muesli and natural yoghurt

A fantastic pick-me-up, which is especially good for late morning. It provides a good supply of low-GI carbs and vitamins C and A.
Preparation time 2mins

Ingredients

2tbsps quality muesli
1tbsp natural yoghurt
1tsp clear honey
12 fresh blueberries

Method

1 Stir all the ingredients together and pack into a small lunchbox. Job done!
 

Fresh fruit and oat salad

Perfect for elevenses; packed with vitamin C and low-GI oats.

Preparation time 5mins

Ingredients

1tbsp rolled oats
A small slice of watermelon
6-8 seedless black grapes
Half an orange or a whole satsuma

Method

1 Peel and cut the orange into approximately 20mm chunks. 
2 Remove the skin from the melon and cut into chunks. 
3 Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl and pack into a small lunchbox. 
 

Carrot, orange and ginger snack

This is a great pick-me-up snack at any time of the day; high in vitamins A and C.

Preparation time 3mins

Ingredients

1 small carrot, grated or thinly sliced
Half an orange, chopped
Half an orange, juiced
A small piece of fresh ginger
1-2tsps pumpkin seeds, optional 
Half a tsp of olive oil or rapeseed oil 

Method

1 Peel then grate or slice the carrot.
2 Peel and cut the orange into 
20mm chunks. 
3 Chop the ginger, adding as much or as little as you wish. 
4 Stir together with the oil and juice, adding pumpkin seeds if desired, and pack into a small lunchbox. 
 

Beetroot, butterbean and almond power snack

Well suited to solve a 4pm energy dip. This robust snack gives a good protein boost and carb top-up.

Preparation time 3mins

Ingredients

1 cooked beetroot 
A handful of butterbeans, drained
1tsp sundried tomato paste 
Half a tsp of olive oil or rapeseed oil
6-8 whole almonds
Black pepper to taste 

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Method

1 Cut the beetroot into approx 20mm chunks. 
2 Place all other ingredients into a bowl, add the beetroot, stir together and pack into a small lunchbox.