Keeping it simple through the summer

  • Good habits: Catherine Burns's daughter Belle and her friend Kallie with healthy snacks

    Good habits: Catherine Burns's daughter Belle and her friend Kallie with healthy snacks

Several years ago, I pulled together a savoury snack list, after discovering Belle helping herself to handfuls of icing sugar for breakfast.

I’d tried to lie in and then kind of slept while I heard the children crashing around downstairs. I knew I’d come down to some kind of chaos, but wasn’t exactly expecting a layer of sugar over the kitchen cabinets and across the living room floor.

Earnestly, she told me that “it’s all I could find to eat”…. That’s overlooking the apples and the cereal and the crackers and hummus that were right there, of course!

I’m all about creating a supportive environment so it’s easy to make healthy decisions; that day, I learnt that you can’t just have the good stuff available, you have to not have the bad stuff around too. Everyone who’s ever found themselves nose-deep in a bag of chocolate chips at 11pm knows this!

After reducing the sugar in every baking recipe I ever used, I also learnt that even if you go for healthier snacks, you can still consume way too much sugar.

In the Nutrifit Kids class I’m teaching this week, we look at the fact that seven to 11-year-olds should consume no more than 24g (that’s six teaspoons) of sugar a day.

In terms of counting the grams of sugar on labels (or in recipes), you need to count everything that’s not either whole fruit or plain dairy.

So, even if you’re having home-made muffins, organic yoghurt or healthier granola bar options, it’s still easy to go over your sugar limit. I’ve spoken a lot about this lately, but one of the things we all need to do is focus on having mainly savoury snacks. If you’re used to reaching for cookies, banana bread, trail mix or chocolate, then this list is for you!

Sixteen Savory Snacks

1, Hummus and veggie sticks

The classic! I love the whipped hummus from Miles and the red pepper hummus at Supermart.

Bermyfresh are just knocking it out of the park with all their flavours.

It’s impossible to get bored of hummus now. It’s easy to make your own too. I’ll post a good recipe on Facebook over the weekend, so join me there.

2, Lentil chips

There are a couple of different brands out there. I think the Saffron Road brand 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, especially with salsa, hummus or guacamole.

3, Flackers crackers

Not so kid-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 great with hummus, guacamole or a little organic cheese. I’ve found 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 favourite is the Pumpkin Power blend. They are great sprinkled on top of salads, too.

I always have them on my desk for a midafternoon pick-me-up with fruit.

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. You can serve with tortilla chips of course, but dilute with some fresh veggies as well.

6, Avocado on toast

Wholegrain toast, a little butter or Earth Balance, avocado slices, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. So simple and very delicious.

7, Nut butter and celery

Ever tried a celery stick with cashew or almond butter down the middle? It is 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.

Pack a bowl full of shredded red cabbage, yellow peppers, cucumber and anything else you 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.

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 may argue that it’s not really “bread” — that there is no actual flour, that it is packed with nuts, seeds, psyllium and oats, instead. Whatever it is, it’s a super-healthy vehicle for hummus, guacamole, nut butter or a little organic cheese.

Here’s the link:

10, Veg sticks and green goddess dip

If you like Mexican flavours this dip is for you. I found this recipe on Facebook over the weekend.

It’s great with lentil chips or veggie sticks. Give it as much kick as you like.

11, Roasted chick peas

Quick, easy and packed full of fibre and protein. I use the Eden organic brand. Recipe below.

It’s so, so easy and these are great on salads too.

Note: if hummus, chick peas or beans in general make you a little windy, then try Beano enzymes right before you have them. It is really effective and available at most pharmacies.

12, Seaweed snacks

If you are looking for a little nibble but are not all that hungry, try the GiMe 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. Miles have an amazing selection too.

16, Eden tamari almonds

Most grocery stores stock the Eden Organic gently roasted nuts seeds.

Supermart have 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. Yum!

Crunchy oven-roasted chickpeas


1 regular sized tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 tsp light olive or refined coconut oil

Seasonings — your choice, simply salt/pepper (add cayenne if you like things spicy), or try 2 tbsps maple syrup with a sprinkling of sea salt and cinnamon.


1. Preheat the oven to 425F

2. Rinse the chickpeas really well and pat very dry.

If you have time, let them air dry on the side for an additional ten minutes.

3. Dry roast the chickpeas on a baking tray for 20 minutes, shaking the tin at least once.

4. Remove them and toss in the oil and seasonings.

Pop back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes.

Once the time is up, turn off the heat, crack open the oven door and leave them there as the oven cools.

They go extra crunchy this way but don’t risk it if you have toddlers in the house!

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 or call 505-4725. Join Catherine on Facebook: or Instagram at @naturalbda

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Published Aug 23, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 23, 2019 at 12:07 am)

Keeping it simple through the summer

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