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Find savoury snack Heaven!

I’ve just returned home from four days in Spain for the wedding of my lifelong friend, Trish.

We’ve known each other since we were seven years old: we walked to school together, learnt to ride bikes together, tried to outsmart our parents together …. the usual!

Our parents both divorced and remarried and at one stage my Dad lived with her Mum, in a non-romantic but brilliant arrangement so we lived like sisters too.

We’ve hitchhiked through Zimbabwe, climbed mountains in Malawi, partied under the stars on beaches in Zanzibar …. which all sounds amazing (and was) until the part where Trish got malaria and I got giardia.

By the time you’ve held each other’s vomit bowls and carried stool samples to the doctors, you really do know each other inside out.

However, her dive into the ocean from the deck of a mussel and oyster farm (in her wedding dress) did surprise me. She wasn’t running away (she’d already tied the knot at this point) but instead, love-drunk and fantastically carefree, she dove in and joined her groom. Best bride ever!

Needless to say, after a few days of airports and a lot of celebratory drinks, I’m now on a post wedding (and indeed the whole summer) detox. I’ve found I’ve slipped into that really annoying place where I eat amazingly healthy meals, but sabotage myself with a rather large layer of wine and chocolate.

It’s all too easy, too available and too fun! And although I choose organic options, we have to face facts; just because something is organic, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

I can only slip so far down the slope before I put the brakes on. We have a “choose food that nourishes you” motto at Natural HQ and it’s something I stand and live by the vast majority of the time. I really feel it when I fall off the wagon — not just in the way my body looks, but more so in the way I feel: how much energy I have, how focused I am, how patient I am (or not) with my children. Feeling the direct correlation of the fallout (as annoying as it is) is a great reminder for why I eat the way I do.

And to be honest, once I’ve got myself organised, I love getting back on the wagon. And loving it is key. We all do so much better when we do things we want to, rather than because we have to. As it’s really the sugary sweet snacks that pull me down. This weekend I’ll be stocking up with lots of healthier, savoury options. Eating well isn’t just about ridding yourself of the junk, it’s also about making sure you have lots of delicious, healthy alternatives around you instead. Make eating healthy easier and that’s 50 per cent of the battle won right there. Here’s my list of savoury snack alternatives. Join me on Facebook and we can share more ideas there. I’ll post the video of the diving bride too!

Snack attack!

1. Hummus and veggie sticks

Ah, the savoury classic. I love the whipped hummus from Miles and the red pepper hummus at Supermart. It’s easy to make your own too and rotating flavours will stop you getting bored. I’ll post a good recipe on Facebook over the weekend.

2. Lentil chips

There are a couple of different brands out there. I think the Mediterranean Snack Company has the best nutrition profile. Lots of fibre and a little protein too. Do try and go for the plain sea salt flavour though, as the other flavours have layers of maltodextrin, which is just another version of sugar. Kids tend to like these. Available at most of the major grocery stores including Supermart.

3. Flackers crackers

Not so child-friendly but great for nutrition geeks. These are made with soaked and cracked flaxseed so you are more likely to get the benefits of all that Omega 3. These are delicious with hummus, guacamole or a little organic cheese. Mmmm! I’ve spotted them at Supermart and Lindo’s so far.

4. Munchy seeds

Gently roasted seeds sold in tubs or little snack packs at Down to Earth and Supermart. Mainly savoury options, (there is a chocolate option) but my personal fave is the Pumpkin Power blend. They are great sprinkled on top of salads.

5. Guacamole

My desert island food. There is nothing better than an amazing guacamole bursting with lime and coriander. So many great recipes online but I’ll add my favourite to the Facebook list.

6. Avocado on toast

Wholegrain toast, a little butter or Earth Balance (vegan margarine — non hydrogenated), avocado slices, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Simple and delicious.

7. Nut butter and celery

Ever tried a celery stick with cashew or almond butter down the middle? It’s tasty! You can add raisins too if you are OK with a little sweet.

8. Veggie bowl

This is my morning-after go-to, when I have had too much fun the night before. I’ll pack a bowl full of shredded red cabbage, yellow peppers, cucumber and anything else I have kicking around. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil or flax oil, lemon juice and some light seasoning. I feel like this cleans my body from the inside out! Add avocado or hummus for something more filling.

9. The life-changing loaf of bread

The “life-changing” loaf of bread was created by Sarah Britton, holistic nutritionist extraordinaire and creator of the amazing My New Roots blog. Some argue that it’s not really “bread” — there’s no actual flour, it’s packed with nuts, seeds, psyllium and oats instead. It’s a super-healthy vehicle for hummus, guacamole, nut butter or a little organic cheese! Here’s the web address: http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-life-changing-loaf-of-bread/

10. Veg sticks and green goddess dip

If you like Mexican flavours this dip is for you! Recipe on Facebook over the weekend. Great with lentil chips or veggie sticks. Give it as much kick as you like.

11. Quality protein

If you need to stay on top of your protein intake, try quality animal protein as a savoury option. Keep it simple with boiled eggs, shredded organic chicken or Applegate turkey or ham.

12. Sheffa “Savory” bar

It’s hard to wrap your head around a completely savoury bar, but Sheffa have produced a popular Savory bar packed full of whole grains and savoury spices. Grab yours at Devil’s Isle or Miles and see what you think.

13. Seaweed snacks

If you are looking for a little nibble, but aren’t all that hungry, try the GimMe organic Seaweed snacks from Supermart and Down to Earth. Again, try and stick to the sea salt option though, as the Teriyaki flavour is pretty sweet.

14. Caprese salad

If you eat dairy, then mozzarella is a good, lighter option. Mix it with juicy sliced tomatoes, torn basil and a drizzle of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil for a seriously tasty snack. If you are dairy free, I think it works just as well with avocado instead of cheese.

15. Olives stuffed with almonds

Olives are packed with antioxidants and some good fats too. Try the Waitrose or Good Earth olives at Supermart for a gourmet experience, or the Miles deli.

16. Eden Organic Snack Packs

Most grocery stores stock the Eden Organic gently roasted nuts, seeds and trail mixes. Supermart has the full range. I love the tamari almonds that have enough flavour to make them interesting without being covered in MSG or maltodextrin. They do great roasted and spicy pumpkin seeds too, as well as organic shelled pistachios.

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the Managing Director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK Please note that she is not a Registered Dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda