A ploughman’s lunch is a fancy name for lots-of-yummy-stuff on a plate. It’s simple, it’s wholesome, it’s satisfying and, just as a bonus, it’s incredibly easy to put together...
When going sugar free, finding healthy snacks can often be tricky. Lucky for us, the amazing Healthy Natty has kindly shared her wisdom by giving us her top ten sugar free snacks…
By Natalie Zee
I believe a lot of the sugar we eat is purely out of convenience – I mean, how easy is it to grab that muesli bar to throw in your bag before work? Or grab a muffin for afternoon tea with your awesome salad sandwich at lunch? And when it hits 3pm and you haven’t got anything at all, the vending machine and cookie jar are right there staring at you.
And people who don’t snack, I salute you – I mean for real, how on earth do you do that?
Me, I can’t stand that 6 hour gap between lunch and dinner without a little something to eat, so here are 10 of my sugar-free favourites to snack on. I hope you’ll find some inspiration…
1. Banana Smoothies
‘But wait, honey has sugar in it?’ I hear you say. I am here to let you in on a little secret that will help any sweet-tooth quitting sugar make it through; cinnamon. If you have a ripe banana or two, some milk and/or plain or greek yoghurt, some ice and some cinnamon – you absolutely 100% will not miss the sugar (promise). I regularly throw a handful of baby spinach into my banana smoothies because I am crazy (and also because spinach is totally tasteless in a smoothie & adds a punch of nutrients. Also, green is my favourite colour which is totally a good reason, right?).
2. Pimped Eggs
Although I’m sure you’ve rolled your eyes at someone suggesting you carry around a hardboiled egg before, I’m pretty confident nowhere near as many of you have rolled your eyes over pimped eggs.
Stay with me..
It will take you about 8 seconds to peel your hardboiled egg and throw it in a small Tupperware container (15 seconds if it’s one of those ones that just doesn’t want to let go). Add a sprinkle of dukkah, salt and some torn herbs and you have another 30 seconds taken up.
Or maybe you’d like to add some yoghurt, curry powder and salt.
Or maybe vegemite (yes, vegemite)
Or some finely chopped pickles, capers and cucumber.
… none of them take long, right? And they make your egg a whole lot more interesting.
3. Peanut Butter
(or almond butter or cashew butter or ABC spread or whichever you like best – as long as the ingredients are nuts, nuts and perhaps a little salt).
I love peanut butter, ‘hell hath no fury like a woman craving peanut butter’. I eat it straight out of the jar as a snack and find a teaspoon of the stuff incredibly satiating. But if you need to dip celery, carrot or apple into it, that’s fine. If you need to sprinkle it with curry powder before spreading it on red capsicum pieces, that’s also fine.
4. Stewed Apples
This is particularly good in Melbourne’s cold weather, but also a really comforting dessert after dinner when you feel you need that something. Apples, granny smith in particular, chopped and cooked in a little water (you only need a few centimetres and to stir regularly), with cinnamon is delish. You could also add star anise and if you’re still missing sweetness, the juice of a fresh orange. If you pour it all in a baking dish and top with oats, shredded coconut, crushed walnuts and a little coconut oil and stick under the grill you’ll have an apple crumble good enough to eat for breakfast!
5. Chocolate Crackle
Yup, that’s sugar free. It will taste it at first, but I promise you by the end of the month this will taste sweet to you like it does to me.
How to make it?
– Melt 2 heaped tablespoons of coconut oil
– Mix through 1 ½ tablespoons of cacao powder, ½ a cup of shredded coconut and 1 ½ cup of puffed brown rice
– Spread on a tray lined with baking paper about 1cm thick and allow to set in the fridge for 20 minutes
7. Hot Chocolate
You will have to trust me on this – if you add a little cream to your cacao and boiling water, it will taste creamy, sweet and delicious. I first did a month without sugar about 2 years ago and I kept sprinkling cacao on a teaspoon with a little cream to get my chocolate hit. It’s that convincing.
8. Fruit Salad
Lame? Make it un-lame! What about these combinations;
– Pineapple, fresh mint, coconut and chilli
– Apple, walnuts and a little grated tasty cheese
– Passionfruit, banana and almond flakes
– Figs, thyme and feta
– Oranges, almonds and coconut
– Strawberries and rocket
… experiment and see what you love!
Cheese is satisfying and as long as you don’t overeat it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with cheese. A slice of tasty under a grill or on a cracker is extremely satisfying, tasty and completely underrated. Sometimes it’s lovely just to get back to the simple things.
If you’re looking for a twist on toasted cheese, do as my Dad has always done and sprinkle it with black pepper and white vinegar to finish!
10. Yoghurt with frozen berries
Last but not least, an oldie but a goodie – and particular good if you’re taking it to work as the frozen berries will keep the yoghurt cold and then slowly defrost for you to eat later in the day. Blueberries with cinnamon (yes, cinnamon, again) is the one I find best for squashing sugar cravings, but raspberries with almond and coconut is also yummy. Be sure to look at the nutrition panel of the yoghurt and go for one with less than 5g of sugar per 100g to stick to your sugar free goals (this means ‘natural fruit’, and ‘naturally sweetened’ etc are also not advisable).
And there we have it – 10!
That’s a different snack every working day for 2 weeks.
.. and if the above doesn’t squash the afternoon munchies, keep a good stock of herbal tea (I’m a green, peppermint and rose tea lover).