Snacking doesn’t have to be all bad. Here are some foods that you can enjoy without feeling guilty.
WORDS SUE-ANN BAUMGÄRTEL
Juggling a job, sleepless nights with a newborn, managing the daily routines of young children – no matter how you turn it around, there is little time left to look after yourself. All too often, moments are snatched here and there, functioning on the go. Eating healthily and consciously can sometimes be pushed to the back burner.
As a mother, you are no doubt aware of all the vitamins that your child requires. The good news is that most of these vitamins are also on any mum’s list for healthy eating. Protein, various vitamins, calcium, fatty acids, iron and fibre – all these nutrients are important for both mother and child, and indeed the whole family. By re-evaluating how you organise your grocery shopping and cooking habits, you can provide a healthy yet tasty array of snacks for the whole family to enjoy. “Health” foods can sometimes be deceiving – sugar-free means sugar-free, but it might include glucose.
Make it a habit to read the ingredients on ready-made products,
however healthy they might be packaged.
How about making your own snacks instead? By doing so, not only are you in control of what you eat, you also will save a huge amount of money.
Spread it or Dip it
Dips and spreads are a tasty and effective way of including legumes and protein in your daily diet. Legumes, especially darker beans such as kidney beans, are a good source of iron and fibre. Legumes and tofu are an efficient base for dips and spreads, as they carry strong flavours well.
Hummus can be easily whipped up by blending a tin of chickpeas together with some tahini and garlic. Lighten it with some lemon juice and olive oil, and dust with a sprinkling of paprika. Serve with some vegetable crudités and crackers for a quick snack.
Bold herbs such as basil and Italian parsley can be blended with garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese to make a pesto that can be used to jazz up salads.
Dairy products are a good source of protein and calcium, both of which are vital for breastfeeding mums and young children. Cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese and Greek yoghurt also work well as a base for dips and spreads.
Grate some cucumber into a pot of Greek yoghurt, add a crushed garlic and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice, and this tzatziki can make a refreshing snack served with toasted flatbread.
Cream and shredded smoked salmon make for a delicious and
healthy spread. For a sweet treat, ricotta or any other soft cheese can
be topped with fruit compotes or honey.
For mums on-the-go, nothing beats fresh fruit as a healthy snack. If you have time to spare, you can stretch out the vitamins found in fruit and vegetables. Smoothies and juices are a great way to fill those hours between meals. Blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, bananas, oranges, kiwis – you can just about use any fruit to make a filling smoothie. Adding vegetables such as kale or carrots will give you an extra vitamin boost. Sweeten your smoothies with honey or agave syrup and freeze them for a treat for the whole family.
Supercharge with Superfoods
As superfoods go, nuts and seeds are at the top of the pyramid. Almonds contain calcium, vitamin E and plant-based proteins, while just two Brazil nuts will provide an adult with their daily dose of selenium. Sunflower seeds provide vitamin E and B vitamins, while pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium. Generally, nuts and seeds are high in fibre, which aids a slower digestion and give you a sense of feeling full for longer. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips, go for a handful of nuts and seeds. Add your own flavours by roasting them with miso and honey, or cayenne pepper and soya sauce.
Nuts and seeds are the basis of any decent granola, which can be used to top up cereals, yoghurts or deserts. Combine oats, any nuts and seeds of your liking, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, mix together some honey, oil, vanilla. You can also add some fruit in the way of puree or dried fruits. Mix the wet ingredients together with the dry ingredients and spread it out even on a lined baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C. Toss the granola and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden brown.
Like anything in life, it is a question of balance. Making sure you have the right nutrients as a breastfeeding mother, or the physical support of vitamins as a busy mum is important. But it also allows you to enjoy the “forbidden” treats, which are impossible to avoid. Keep your diet balanced, but ultimately you have to enjoy your food.
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