I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m a stress eater. My weight fluctuates constantly because I have a kind of oral fascination (lol) and constantly need to be snacking when I’m stressed. Also I’m normally very stressed yet bored, another trigger for eating crap.
So, I try to avoid major temptation around times when I’m feeling like this. For example, I was in Tesco the other day and saw a whole freakin’ crate of grapes reduced from £3 to £1.50. You better believe I snapped that up and lugged it back to the house.
This blurry pic is of me hurrying home in the rain, cradling my grape crate like the precious child it is. Just to the right of the frame, I am screeching.
This next pic was taken nay an hour later. Ft my unseasonably winter-themed animal pyjamas and a half-eaten crate of grapes. To the left of the frame you will see a woman very full of grapes and a little smudge of shame.
So, I really like grapes. The point of this little meander was to illuminate my ~healthy~ snacking habits and why they’re a bit better than they used to be.
- Number one on my list are the Goodness Knows bars which seem to be a relatively new thing on the UK market. They’re delicious, first of all, but their best feature is that they’re chopped into four tiny squares within that bar. It’s kind of like portion control, except it doesn’t really work when you’re ravenous and tip the whole packet into your mouth like a bear whom has just awoken from hibernation. In any case, they’re a fab library snack because you can award yourself one of the little chunks for each page of reading/writing you do. Nifty and delicious.
Find a pack of 18 here on Amazon for £12 (cranberry, almond and chocolate flavour)
- Sticking with the bar theme, the Eat Natural bars have also been a godsend during lo-o-o-ong library days. It gets to about 3pm and I’m seriously crashing. Past MJ might have just gone home and given up, but current MJ whips out one of these yoghurt-covered angels and goes to town. A little hit of something which feels like a treat really does remotivate me and get my little claws tapping away on the keyboard again. (Laptop keyboard, I’m not playing an instrument in the library.) The Eat Natural bars have a richness to them which tend to keep me full for longer, as well, so I would highly recommend them as a snack for busy days.
You can get a mixed flavour box of 20 on Amazon here for £18.95, or if you know what flavour is your favourite, you can get a 12 pack even cheaper: here £7.96 (dark chocolate, brazil nuts and apricots, here £13.56 (my personal fav – almond & apricot with a yoghurt coating)
- Third up begins our dried fruit segment: dried apricots! This is potentially a love them or hate them kind of snack, but obviously I love them. They’re sweet so they fill my need for a sugar rush, packed with vitamins, high in fibre, and are recommended to help those with low iron (me). If you’re a dried apricot lover you’ll have a favourite kind of apricot within the pack. For me, I love the ones which are less moist and less sticky, the kind of dry ones with a slight crunch to them. Pretty much all my housemates disagree and think the juicy ones are the best. Either way, they’re a great snack to have lying around when the munchies hit.
You can get these anywhere, I normally choose Tesco or the Co-Op because they’re the closest shops to my house and they offer resealable bags. Though, it’s not like I ever reseal the bags anyway…
- Next, another dried fruit snack: banana chips! One summer when I was like.. fourteen? I massively overdid it on the ole banana chips. I was eating them every single day and I just developed this hatred for them. Nearly seven years later, I’m back on the dried banana bandwagon. They’re crunchy so maybe not the best library snack if you’re self-conscious about making noise. Great if you’re like me and enjoy making a reasonable amount of noise in order to enjoy yourself. They’re really tasty in my opinion and are perfect if you’re looking for something to replace the crunch of a packet of crisps. However, they’re sweet (ish), like bananas are, so don’t expect them to be anything like crisps in terms of flavour!
You can get these anywhere, but go and support your local health foods store/wholemarket if there’s one near you. Chances are, they’ll offer a big bag of banana chips for way cheaper than you’d find in a mainstream supermarket.
- Okay, changing it up, here’s a meal idea which is great when you’re in a hurry to get to your bed after a long day of studying/working. I’ve raved about this kale pesto pasta before, but here it is again! This is one of Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredient meals which me and my housemates have sort of adapted to make more sense for our shopping habits. Instead of whatever leaf Jamie suggests, we use normal kale – instead of spaghetti, we use fusili – instead of ricotta, we add goat’s cheese and, because we aren’t monsters, we serve with garlic bread.
Here’s how you make the bright green pasta dish:
Fill two pans with water & bring to the boil. Put 200g kale in one pan and four garlic cloves (I chop them to make them easier to blend). In the other pan add your pasta. After 5 mins, remove kale & garlic from pan and put into blender. Add parmesan, a bit of oil and blend. Drain pasta, but reserve about a mugful of the cooking water. Put super green ‘pesto’ stuff from blender in with drained pasta. Mix together, using leftover pasta water to loosen the green stuff if it’s not sauce-y enough for you. Serve with slices of garlic bread and blobs of goat’s cheese on top.
- My penultimate choice from the array of food I’ve been eating is a mixture between a snack and a meal. It’s a salad. I know, boring, but hear me out. I freaking love salad, and I think after eating salad (even on the side of a regular meal) your body just feels refreshed an great. Salads don’t have to be dull, friends, treat it like a DIY pizza and add whatever you like into it. Here’s the combo I’ve been loving lately:
Avocado chunks, red onion, olives, feta, iceberg lettuce strips, cherry tomatoes (halved), cucumber chunks, yellow pepper chunks/strips.
Then I just cover the lot in lemon juice, add salt & pepper and then dig in. It honestly is a lifesaver to have a big pot of this in fridge to have with meals/as a snack when you’re working from home.
- Last but not least, a very new meal to my table. Last night, me and my housemates created a meal around this filo pastry we’d had in the freezer for ages. We separated the sheets, then stacked them on top of each other, spraying each layer with an olive oil spray so that the pastry would stick. Then my two fish-eating housemates coated salmon in cheese and herb spread and put that in the centre of their pastry. I put a layer of tomato puree as the base of my dish and then dotted red onion, wilted spinach and goat’s cheese. We then folded/rolled our pastry up (mine kind of looked like a burrito) and baked for 13 minutes. We had salad on the side, plus a potato salad which was delicious, and it was just an amazingly light, refreshing and quick meal which actually filled us up! 10/10 would recommend. It’s so quick once you get the hand of layering the pastry (I was on salad duty so didn’t have to struggle, but I could hear the trauma coming from the kitchen and it sounded fiddly)
So, those were my few suggestions for healthier choices. Life is about balance: today I had a punnet of raspberries and a punnet of blueberries, followed by like half an Easter egg.
Keep working hard and keep eating well, mostly.