I favour nuts (almonds!), green smoothies, green tea, home-dried fruit (on a mango kick right now), fresh apples and, um, the occasional ramekin of tortilla chips to tide me over until the next meal. Sometimes, if I am super busy (this is bad, I know), my snack is instead of a meal. So, my quick and healthy snacks need to be satisfying just in case it will have to do me for more than a couple of hours.
I have recently had the pleasure of getting involved with the producer of one of the best apple varieties around, Pink Lady®. Naturally they sent me some to sample. Tasting this blushingly attractive and flavoursome apple has been a revelation of sorts.
Many of you are already aware that I favour vegetables more than I do fruit. All you have to do is look at my Recipe Index for the evidence. Possibly that’s to do with my favourite fruits not tasting at all like what they tasted like in my Tennessee and Florida childhood. Sound familiar? If anything these apples taste better than I remember apples tasting back in the day, a lovely balance of sweet with a hint of tartness. How does that happen? The texture of the skin is easy to breach but crunchy (check), the flesh is crisp and refreshingly juicy (check), the flavour is sweet (check), but not just sweet it tastes (double check) – bizarrely enough – of apples. I am not being flippant though because you know often times apples can taste woolly, just of sugar, mouth-puckering, perfumed or any number of slightly off-putting sensations. But these taste of old-fashioned apple. Hurrah!
In a survey conducted by Pink Lady ®, mid-afternoon snacking was the most common snacking occasion; whether people go to work or stay at home 57% opt for some kind of snack as the day wears on. The most common reasons cited for snacking are ‘boredom’ and ‘needing an energy boost’. I’m not sure if this was cited as well, but I bet ‘habit’ probably also figures in there. This reason is flagged up in my weight management classes at nearly every session. Maybe we are hungry and tired but eating the same snack day in and day out is often habit and convenience.
To address this phenomenon head-on Pink Lady® have come up with the brilliant Snackisfaction campaign, addressing survey findings that for people to feel overall satisfaction with their snack choices they need to score highly on flavour, appearance and healthiness. Firmly onboard with the whole yummy apple thing I have come up with a couple of really simple recipes to satisfy our snack cravings in a healthy, delicious and eye-catching way.
We really really love these easy appletastic recipes and I will be working them into my repertoire from now on (move over tortilla chips). I hope you give them a go too. Let me know. And, if you have other healthy apple snack ideas to share, leave them in the comments.
Fruity Summer Rolls with Raw Blueberry Dipping Sauce
Change out the pecans for less expensive hazelnuts, leave out the cheese to make this vegan-friendly, even swap your berries – the end result is still crunchy, juicy #snackisfaction.
8 small rice paper sheets (available at many supermarkets as well as Chinese and Asian grocers)
1 sweet apple – such as Pink Lady®, cut into matchsticks and tossed in a little lemon juice
Small handful of raspberries
Small handful of toasted pecans, broken (I toast them in the oven at 180C for 8 minutes then cool)
4 tbsp soft goat’s cheese (you may want more)
The Dipping Sauce
260g (2 cups) fresh blueberries
5 cashews (to thicken the sauce) – optional
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
A squeeze of lemon juice
1. First of all make the blueberry dipping sauce by popping everything into a powerful blender and blitzing until completely smooth. Pour into a couple of ramekins and chill while you make the summer rolls.
3. Pour a little cold water onto a wide, shallow plate or baking dish/pie plate, and slide one rice wrapper into the water, gently pressing it and rotating it to fully wet. Pull it out carefully with both hands (like you are hanging washing on a line) and place on a cutting board or large plate. Add a good pinch of the apples down the centre, a few raspberries, pecans, cheese and torn mint leaves (or leave small ones whole) and roll up, burrito-style. If you are unsure about using the wrappers, here’s a link to tell you how.
4. Depending on how thin your rice wrappers are – mine were very thin – the result may be a little messy or a bit torn. It doesn’t matter a jot unless you are trying to take photos of them. Lay the finished summer roll on a platter and carry on with the remaining wrappers.
Serve the Fruity Summer Rolls with individual ramekins or small bowls of the Raw Blueberry Dipping Sauce.
These can be made a day in advance so as well as a special, fun snack these would be lovely make-ahead finger foods for a picnic, family gathering or party.
Crunchy Granola Applewiches
Homemade granola is such a treat – and highly customizable – but use your favourite lower-sugar brand if you like. Pink Lady® apples make this a naturally sweet and extra crunchy quick snack for flagging energy or post-workout. You can even freeze the made up ones in parchment wrap to take to work or school. Healthy and delicious #snackisfaction.
2 sweet apples, like Pink Lady®
4-6 tbsp peanut butter or other nut butter (here’s my sunflower seed butter recipe too)
6 tbsp granola (here’s my Slow-Baked Apple Pie Granola, but others are in my Index)
Core each apple and cut into rings – about 8 per apple (the smaller ones just nibble on rather than use here). If you don’t have a corer then make these applewiches up as wedge applewiches.
Take two equal-sized apple rings and smear each with some of the peanut butter, topping one with granola. Top with the other apple ring. Carry on with the remaining apples and either eat immediately or open-freeze and wrap the frozen applewiches in parchment paper for future healthy snacking.
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