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Some easy ideas for healthy snacks

publication date: May 31, 2011
author/source: Signe Johansen
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Confession-time: I eat with gluttonous joy during exams. Under the auspices of feeding the brain I hoover up everything in sight - cheese, veggies, fruit, dark chocolate, nuts, crackers. The trick is to scoff a balanced assortment of stuff, not crisps, milk chocolate, energy bars or anything too processed or artificial. Below are a few tips for simple snacks to see you through a mid-morning elevenses or afternoon slump during exam-time.

Oat crackers are a great base for making mini open-sandwiches (see right):

- a slice of cheddar and tomato topped with black pepper

- mustard, bit of pesto, sliced avocado, lemon juice and black pepper

- peanut butter and a sprinkling of salt (If you like an American-style peanut butter and jelly style of snack, add a spoonful of jam with a high fruit content. Dalfour make great ones that have no caster sugar in them. Honey's also good with peanut butter, as is banana...)

Marmite's also great on oat crackers, with a slice of cucumber

Other ideas:

- nuts - almonds, pecans, walnuts, even the humble peanut (technically a legume but whatever) macademias, cashews - plain or roasted. If you have a sweet tooth try tossing the nuts in a mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar a pinch of salt and oil to coat the nuts. Delicious! Also great in your breakfast cereal or porridge.

- couple of small squares of dark (70% or more) chocolate - great for boosting your mood and giving a bit of a caffeine/sugar kick

- a small piece of dark chocolatey brownie with yogurt and some berries (a real indulgent treat, save for when you're really struggling with calculus, stats or some beastly social theory)

- plain yogurt and some seasonal fruit or berries

- smoothie of choice

- scrambled or boiled egg (great source of nutrients and protein)

- cup of vegetable bouillon. Sounds odd, but sometimes you crave a bit of salt, and Marigold makes a great powder you dilute with water. Great alongside those oat crackers...

- anything fishy, the oilier the better - not to everyone's taste but this is real brain food

Basically try to stick to wholegrains, fresh produce, a bit of protein and avoid TOO MUCH SUGAR! The occasional brownie or ice cream isn't going to destory your revision, but refined sugar can make you very hyperactive followed by a precipitous decline in energy and mood. Avoid too much sugar before bedtime - it can really affect your sleeping habits and make you anxious. Stick to fruit sugar, honey, agave syrup and brown sugar if possible and avoid artificial sweeteners.


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