I am always on the search for a fast healthy snack. I would love to be more like the French and not snack between meals. But, well, I just love elevenses. Or a quick nibble with a fresh pressed coffee in Cafe du Canard as I watch the sun come up. Talk about bliss.
Except. It’s surprisingly hard to find a fast healthy snack. And by this I mean, not store bought. Why not store bought? Because the list of ewwwww ingredients, no matter how healthy they claim to be, are just ewww.
Sure there are the very odd truly healthy snack, usually touting ‘only 5 ingredients’ or some such number, and only available in a health food or speciality shop. Neither of which do we have any where near us. Not to mention, the price! For 5 ingredients! Such is the cost of health.
Luckily, I for one love cooking or making things, so would rather make my own food any day. I know what goes into it then too. No ewwww. And we eat very healthy as a general rule. Or at least always know what ingredients went into our meals.
So this leads me back to snacks. And particularly fast snacks, when you only have a few minutes to spare. I am a great fan of sliced apple dipped in home made peanut butter. Easy peasy and so tasty. If you have never made your own peanut butter, honestly once you do you will never go back to store bought.
To make Peanut Butter
You will need a blender or magi-mixer type kitchen gadget. That’s the only requirement. Oh, and peanuts. I buy our peanuts in a packet, already shelled, from the shop but you could use either. I do check the peanut packet ingredients list. You would be very surprised what all some people put in with peanuts. Why?! It should be peanuts. Or peanuts and salt.
You can make your peanut butter from either salted or not, depending on your preference. Put the peanuts in your mixer and whizz. It will need to whizz for a good minute, possibly 2. The blades will not only chop up the peanuts but release their natural oils too. If you like chunky peanut butter, just watch for the consistency you like. If you like smooth you may wish to add a bit of oil to help smooth it out. Add a little at a time as it takes a few seconds to see the consistency change as the oil gets mixed in.
Now this is a go to snack for me, but sometimes I get bored with it. So the search is always on for some other fast healthy snack. Something I can make super quick. I am talking 5 minutes max. And preferably with ingredients I probably already have in the cupboard.
I have this thing for ‘energy bites*’as they are often called. Little balls of tasty goodness usually made from oats and dates and some other ingredient or two to change the flavour. They are a truly tasty snack, and surprisingly filling.
Trouble is, oats don’t agree with me (even if gluten free). And dates, it turns out, are generally preserved in high fructose syrup or something similar. (And they don’t always put it on the label. If there is a hard-ish coating to the date, yup, it’s been preserved in some sort of fructose.)
I am super against fructose syrups. Made from either wheat or corn, but they don’t tell you which, so a real danger if you are celiac, gluten free or have starch issues.
So long story getting to the point, my search for healthy snacks is somewhat limited in ingredients. And when you want them fast, as in I just realised 5 minutes ago I am peckish, that creates even further limitations.
Today a brain storm hit. What if I take an energy bite concept, but use ingredients I have in my pantry. Let’s see… peanuts, almonds, coconut flakes, cocoa powder (unsweetened) and raisins. Thinking about it, these are typical ingredients for a trail mix. Well, maybe chocolate drops instead of the powder.
I added them all into the mixer and whizzed for about 5 minutes. Until I had the consistency of a slightly damp collection of crumbs. Do keep an eye on it as whizz too much and you will have trail mix butter instead of ‘cookies’.
Actual recipe for Fast Trail Mix Energy Bite Cookies:
¼ cup peanuts (salted or unsalted your choice) (Or other nut of your choice, but a base of peanuts will make costs lower.)
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup almonds (but you could also use any other nut, even more peanuts)
1 Tbl cocoa powder
1 Tbls coconut flakes
There is no hard and fast rule on the above measurements. Much depends on which are your more favoured ingredients. You can swap and change as you like. Leave out the cocoa or coconut if you prefer. Add a dollop of maple syrup or runny honey to sweeten, if you like your snacks sweeter.
The trick is to add what you have. Mix it, taste it, and adjust. Too moist? Add more nuts. Too dry add more raisins, or that dollop of maple syrup.
Once done and to a sticky ish consistency, scoop out and form into round balls. Store in the fridge to make them more solid.
And there you go. A fast healthy snack, with lots of versatility. Oh, and I will add vegan, vegetarian and gluten free friendly if you are in need of such a recipe (but not nut allergy friendly).