Life lessons with a side of snacking

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Sitting at my kitchen table enjoying a huge bowl of porridge and a steaming mug of green tea I’m watching the sun come up for the last day of the working week. This full time work thing is still such a novelty to me after two weeks. I’ve been assured that it does wear off. But yesterday a patient told me that I changed their life, I don’t know how many pain killers she had that morning, but hey it still made my day. I hope that feeling never wears off.
Despite the change in routine I find I have had more time in the mornings, which I absolutely love. I have time to enjoy my breakfast, catch up on a few blogs and pack a tasty lunch. Sometimes I do overestimate and straightening my hair gets pushed to the side for coffee. Priorities right.

But the evenings, thats a challenge, which I absolutely do not love. My morning workouts have now swapped to evenings, which I am still adjusting too and my Β dinners are favouring convenience.
This week I have learnt a few things. That elaborate dinners will almost always be pushed to the side for old faithfuls. That my boyfriend can cook crispy skin fish better than me, a fact I am not complaining about. That steak, sweet potato chips and greens is a fabulous standby. That you can eat the same thing for lunch 5 days in a row. And that I in fact do like tuna from a tin.

The most important lesson has been the art of snacking. Snacking is a beautiful thing. Though my dietitian brain does not class it wouldn’t class it as necessary. The number one thing I like to teach my clients is to listen to their body.

Some people need snacks, some don’t.

The science does show that six small meals is a great pattern of eating, however for some this is simply impractical. Advice that is unrealistic is bad advice. You must work within your lifestyle to achieve success.
Sure I have loads of tupperware but certainly do not have enough for six small meals a day or the time for that.
Personally I like to follow three medium sized main meals and two small snacks (that slips to three when my dessert stomach calls). This pattern mainly to prevent boredom, but more realistically it spots me gorging at main meals and making poor choices based on hanger. Yep I used it- hungry and angry. It’s a thing. I don’t function if I’m hungry.

I find snacks confuse people. Most of us (dietitians included) do not know the difference between a snack and a small meal. Three medium sized meals and two small meals is not a good pattern.
So today on Valentines day, I am giving you all a gift, 14 different snack ideas. Some will require some effort, some none at all. There is a mix of sweet and savoury. Something to warm everyones hearts. Yeah there I go, with a corny V day pun. Happy Snacking

1. Hard Boiled egg

2. Two medjole dates, seeds removed with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter

3. Vegetable sticks with 1 tablespoon of hummus

4. 1 small tub/squeeze pack of chobani greek yoghurt. Chobani is my valentine.

5. 30g of mixed nuts

6. 1 piece of fruit of choice

7. 250mL glass light cows milk

8. A small skim cappuccino

9. two vita wheet crisp breads with 30g sliced cheese and 2 slices of tomato

10. 2 rice cakes with 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, banana and honey (perfect for pre workout snack !!)

11. 1 small tin of tuna on two vita wheet/rice cakes

12. Banana ‘ice cream’: blend frozen banana with 1 tablespoon of milk and 1 teaspoon honey. Served topped with chopped nuts.

13. Sweet and salty nuts: combine 2 and a 1/2 cups mixed nuts + 1/4 C pepitas + 1/4 C sunflower seeds in a bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons of honey in a microwave. Combine with nuts and spread over lined baking tray. Bake for approximately 10 mins or until brown and crisp. Divide into 1/2 C servings for snacks. Also delicious tossed through a salad.

14. And finally these delicious choc chip tahini bars:

Choc Tahini Bars (adapted from the lovely Heidi from Apples under my Bed, she is the best)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 C Rolled oats
1 C pecans
1/3 C walnuts
1/3 C brazil nuts
2 tablespoons pepitas
1 packet dark choc bits
1/3 C honey
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 eggs + 1 egg white

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a slice tin with baking paper
2. Blitz oats, pecans, brazil nuts and walnuts in a food processor until roughly chopped. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add cinnamon and stir to combine.
3. Combine honey, tahini and oil in a microwave safe jug. Place in microwave for 30 seconds or until melted and combined. Pour over dry ingredients.
4. Add eggs and whites and chocolate and stir to combine.
5. Pour into baking tray and press with a wooden spoon.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and firm.
7. Let cool in pan. Slice into bars when completely cool.

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The Author

23. Clinical dietitian. Lover of red wine, sea salt chocolate and baby spinach. In that order. Believer in achievable, affordable, real food.

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