So another school term starts and your kids are coming home hungry and tired. Chocolate bars and crisps are an easy option I know, but let me tempt you with some healthier alternatives that should keep the hunger pangs away which your kids will love just as much...
Apple and cinnamon rings (serves 4)
These yummy apple rings are a great sweet treat, which are healthy. Apples contain insoluble fibre and pectin, both help keep your bowels regular, whilst cinnamon is a great anti-inflammatory and can help lower blood sugar levels.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees or (gas mark 6). Take 6 apples (any apples are fine, but crisper varieties will hold better). Core them using an apple corer. Then slice from the bottom of the apple to form rings of about 2-3 mm wide. Lay them on a baking sheet, lined with greaseproof paper and lightly sprinkle cinnamon over them. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes or until they are slightly golden and crinkley. Let them cool slightly before eating. Beware they'll disappear quickly!
Spicy chickpeas (makes 4 small portions)
A great savoury snack, which you can batch make and store for the rest of the week. Chickpeas are a great source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals and can help to improve blood sugar levels which will help maintain a steady mood and energy levels, great for that end of school day fatigue.
1 400g tin of chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
Salt to season
Feel free to vary the spices, just add your favourites!
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees centigrade (gas mark 8). Empty the chickpeas into a bowel and blot them with a paper towel to absorb the moisture. Add the oil, spices and salt, toss until they are covered with the spice mix. Spread over a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes until they are crunchy. Leave to cool before eating.
Sweet Potato Crisps (serves 4)
These yummy crisps are a great alternative to shop bought crisps. Sweet potatoes contain more fibre than regular potatoes as well as being a good source of vitamins A & C. Unlike most crisps these only have natural, healthy additional ingredients and are low in salt.
Ingredients: 3 sweet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
sprinkling of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180 C or 355F. Peel and finely slice the sweet potatoes so they are a couple of millimetres thick. Pat them dry, and spread them over a baking tray or dish. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle over the cayenne pepper and sea salt. Turn them over so they are all coated on both sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until they are crispy. Take out and leave to cool.
Popcorn is such a quick easy snack to make for hungry kids or can be easily taken into school as a snack. I don't mean the shop bought sugar laden variety! Take a look at these alternative toppings.
1. Balsamic popcorn (serves 4)
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of good quality aged balsamic vinegar over 4 cups of air popped popcorn.
2. Dark chocolate & sea salt popcorn
Melt 50g of good quality dark chocolate (you want it to be at least 70% cacao) in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Once it’s melted grind some good quality sea salt (about two good grinds should be enough, you don’t want it to be too salty) into the chocolate. Whilst it is still runny, using a spoon drizzle the chocolate over 4 cups of air popped popcorn.
3. Paprika & chilli popcorn
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp paprika
4 cups of air popped popcorn
Mix the spices together in a bowl and then sprinkle over your popcorn, mixing well. Taste and add more spices if you prefer it more spicy!
Frozen banana slices
This has to be the easiest of all snacks. Try freezing slices of banana (slightly older bananas work best). Eat them as they are or blend with other fruit, a dash of maple syrup, milk or nut milk to make a delicious creamy smoothie. Yum!