V for Life

Summer, the season of snacks and lighter meals

Posted by Justina on 31/07/22 in Recipes

When people mention the word snacks, we instantly think about crisps and chocolates.

But snacks can be anything small, such as nuts, grapes, or mini pies. You might find you don’t feel like eating much because of the heat on some summer days and your appetite in general is lower.

This blog will hopefully inspire you with some snack ideas that will keep you energised throughout the day and won’t leave you feel sluggish in the evening.

There is some guilt around the word ‘snacking’, but it is only an issue when we don’t prepare and plan our snacks and end up grabbing the first thing we see when we can’t hold the hunger any longer. And let me tell you, it is unlikely that you will go for that apple! Prepare a couple of light summery meals or snacks that you can grab when you feel like it with no guilt.

  • Try making yourself a lunch box with small finger foods (just like the ones in the graze board section below).
  • Have snacks available in the fridge to serve instead of cakes and biscuits. Including fresh fruit cut in small pieces ready to eat, perhaps placed in a small bowl so you have a tasty fruit salad.
  • Create a different dining experience by serving a buffet style dinner of lighter options.
  • Teatime may include protein balls, which could be flavoured like cake and called cake bites, such as brownie, carrot cake, lemon drizzle or even Victoria sponge with a dollop of jam in the middle!

Graze boards

Graze boards seem to be popular this year. If you never heard of them, a graze board is like a sharing platter (though could just be for one person) filled with picnic-style finger foods. Food can be eaten with fingers, toothpicks or wooden skewers. The serving board could be a chopping board, slate, tray, or for large groups a grazing table can be created, perfect when hosting friends.

The food can be anything you like from BBQ items such as burgers, to salads, vegan cheese or crudités with dips. Accompany with chutneys, apple slices, grapes, figs, apricots, celery, caramelised nuts, flatbreads, crackers, or anything you can put cheese on or dip.

You could have a separate sweets board, or a large board to fit both sweet and savoury. Sweet graze board ideas include cakes, small cups of chocolate mousse, fresh berries, and fruit. You could make a tray of homemade ice cream served in paper cups, just like if you bought the ice cream from the ice cream parlour.

Here are some recipes you could include on your graze board:


Bruschetta with a Trio of Toppings

Roasted Cauliflower Tart

Banana, Apricot and Walnut Muffins

Satay Tofu

Chocolate Pots with Piped Biscuits

Coronation 'Chicken' Pastries

Kale Crisps

Greek Fritters with Tzatziki


The easiest healthy ice cream

  • 1 frozen sliced banana (ideally frozen overnight or for at least 2 hours)
  • Optional flavouring of your choice: vanilla essence, cocoa powder, blueberries or peanut butter
  • Toppings of your choice: fresh berries, coconut flakes, cocoa nibs, seeds or granola

Method

  1. Add frozen banana pieces to a food processor and blend for at least 3 minutes. It will be lumpy for a while. If the processor is struggling add a dash of plant-based milk or cream. When the last lump of banana is blended, the whole texture will change to a fluffy consistency.
  2. Add your optional flavourings now and blend a little longer.
  3. Enjoy straight away as a soft scoop or place it in the freezer for a more scoopable consistency to enjoy later. Add your favourite toppings if you like.

If you are fan of ice cream on the stick rather than the cup, slice a peeled banana in half and stab each half with a chopstick halfway through or use forks. Dip each half in vegan chocolate, roll in hazelnuts and freeze. The longer you freeze it the harder it will get. Enjoy straight from the freezer or defrost slightly for a couple of minutes on a plate.

Mini refreshments

Small fruit skewers make a refreshing snack. Make them in the morning or in the evening and pop them in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s a good way of having a mixture of fruit throughout a day, a little like a fruit salad. If you are using apples or bananas squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on the top to slow down the browning of the fruit.

If you a fan of eating off wooden skewers or toothpicks, you could make mini sandwiches or even clubs. Cut a slice of bread into 6 to make 2 mini clubs or 3 sandwiches. Make your club by adding bread, cheese, bread, vegan chicken slices, bread and top it up with a grape then stab the skewer through. It could be a nice treat if you have a friend over for a sunny day with iced tea in the garden.

Salads

A lot of people say that they don’t like salads because it’s rabbit food. Yes, it is if your salad is just lettuce and cucumber!

Step out of your comfort zone and make your salad more interesting to power you up for the day while still being a light meal.

  • Add chickpeas. If you are not a fan of having them straight from the tin, dry them and pan fry in a teaspoon of sesame oil. Add a sprinkle of smoked paprika and leave them to cool.
  • Alternatively, make hummus to dollop on the top of the salad instead of dressing.
  • Why not add rice, lentils, edamame or green beans to your salad?
  • Sprinkle pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds.
  • Add herbs to lift your salad: parsley, dill or coriander.
  • Use spinach and rocket instead of gem lettuce for more nutrition and flavour. Roasted courgette, squash or cauliflower on a cooler day would make a completely different salad.

Here are some light meal ideas for when you don’t feel like putting the oven on:


Veggie Burger Salad 

Hummus 

Black Bean Burger 


Here is my favourite salad dressing recipe. It is all about the ratios, so it doesn’t need to be precise.

  • 0.25 cup of tahini
  • 0.25 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove/1.5 tsp of garlic powder
  • Pinch of ground cumin and salt
  • Optional chilli powder

Use a food processor or a stick blender to process all the ingredients. If you don’t have one, use garlic powder instead of the fresh garlic and add all ingredients to a jar and shake. Great with chickpeas or lentils in your salad.

I do encourage you to try at least one of these recipes this summer. Keep hydrated and carry on snacking!


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