Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

The end of school holidays is near which means we need to get organised for the busy work week ahead. With healthy eating a goal for many of us, planning plays a big role in helping to ensure we are eating well. Having the foods, especially the snacks we need on hand is crucial. To help out, I’ve been working on the ultimate healthy snacks guide for both school and work to help you achieve a healthy 2021.

There are plenty of popular snacks out there including bars, bites, crackers and balls that taste good and are quick. Take a closer look at their nutritional panel however and it will likely indicate that they are packed full of processed carbohydrates, as opposed to great natural snacks such as a banana. Carbohydrate rich snacks can lack the protein and dietary fibre that helps to keep you full and satisfied after eating. Both adults and children can be left feeling unsatisfied and even craving sugar after grabbing these snacks which often lead to overeating.

If you think of a ‘snack’ as a mini meal, ideally it will keep you full and satisfied for at least 2-3 hours. In good terms this means that a snack needs to contain some carbs for energy but also some protein and / or dietary fibre to slow digestion and keep your blood glucose levels controlled for an extended period of time. From a calorie perspective this also means a substantial snack will contain 150-300 calories depending on your age, activity levels and gender.

Aiming to combine proteins such as egg, nuts, dairy or fish with a natural, minimally processed carb, such as bananas, wholegrain bread or crackers ticks the box nutritionally with the key nutrients you need for a balanced snack. Good options include banana and Greek yogurt, crackers topped with peanut butter or tuna or smoked salmon and milk-based drinks.

For the school lunchbox, cheese and cracker snack packs, roasted broad beans and peas, fresh fruit teamed with cheese or hommus and Greek yoghurt tubes are all good options that are child friendly.

If one of your goals in 2021 is to commit more time to food prep and cooking, you can make plenty of healthier homemade snacks including wholemeal banana and vege loaves, fibre rich muffins and a range of protein balls.

Recipe: Zucchini Banana Bread

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 50g butter
  • ½ cup dark choc bits
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup milk

Method

1. Combine sifted flours with dry ingredients. Add mashed banana and grated zucchini.

2. Mix melted butter, beaten egg & milk.

3. Bake at 180deg for 50-60min.

Recipe: Banana Bites

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup rolled oats, raw
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut, shredded (for rolling)

Method

1. Combine the mashed banana with the oats and dates in a blender for 1 minute.

2. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until firm.

3. Roll the mixture into small-sized balls in your hands.

4. Coat the balls in shredded coconut and store in the fridge.

The simple act of planning your snacks in advance and packing them the night before will go a long way in helping you eat well at both school and work and save much precious time and energy on busy mornings. Get smart with your snacks so you are ready to power through 2021!