Top 10 foods I can’t live without (my go-to snacks)

In #Superfoods, Nutritionby Polina

I get asked a lot about snacks, good snacks, bad snacks, anti-craving foods, some people cannot stop snacking, some prefer to feel hunger pains rather than eat something…

Here are the 10 foods that are always in my larder, I got to them via trial and error,  they are my mini-meals, my staples and my treats too 🙂 Perhaps they will work for you too.

A few thoughts first:

A lot depends on your stress levels and environment.  It is very difficult to have a piece of fruit in the office when stress levels are high and everyone is crunching on choccies.

One thing I know – being dependent on “treats” to get on with work does not do anything good for your physical or mental health.

Solutions: if you are finding it difficult to control cravings – do not buy “treats” for home, do not keep “treats” in your desk drawer.  Once you bought them, you’ll eat them. So if you are trying to kick the habit, do not buy them. And tell others to keep them away from you. Instead have a think what healthy options you actually enjoy, sure there are some. Keep those options handy.

When having a pang coming up stop and have a think – are you hungry or munchy? If you are munchy – is it because you are actually hungry (what did you have for lunch, were you feeling full at the time, do you have anything nutritious to eat) or are finding it difficult to concentrate because you are tired, dehydrated, frustrated with your job/task ahead, etc and your brain is diverting to snacking as a default for energy, distraction from the task? Establishing what is going on will help work on the issue in the future. Sugar or the sheer process of chewing might be helping to sort one particular task but it is not going to work as a solution to everything.

Did I tell you the story of me and Tesco nuts? Or me and Hotel Chocolat 6-packs? I really enjoy feeling free of any sugar cravings and I like keeping it this way 🙂

Anyway, here we go, my top 10 foods:

  1. Avocados – many respected nutrition sources say avocados are the most nutrient-rich fruit on the planet. Who am I to disagree? Anyway, avos are super delicious and nutritious (vitamins E and C, fiber, monounsaturated fat), yes, they are calorie dense but do not compare to a Danish pastry 🙂 have yours chopped and added to salads or veggie dishes or just eaten alongside a lean protein source. I put a bit of Maldon salt onto my avos and scoop them out with a spoon!
  2. Bananas – they are tasty, sweet and filling, rich in potassium (muscle cramps) and magnesium (choc cravings), also fiber in bananas are prebiotic, good for gut health.
  3. Yogurt – it helped me improve my stomach acidity and get rid of a persistent cough, so yogurt is a staple. I go for full fat Greek no flavour. Sometimes low fat, the main thing is less sugar. Mix it with oats, or bananas, or an avo, or add protein or have on it’s own. Bear in mind you don’t want to eat the whole tab in one go 🙂 see how many of “your spoons” is 100g, then you’ll now that, for example, 5 heaped table spoons = 250g and can clock, if started scooping 7 spoons 🙂
  4. Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter – great for healthy fats and versatile. I use PB most often with bananas or apples for the 4pm snack or to stop the munchies 🙂 ONE tablespoon MCPB + one banana chopped + a bit of Maldon flakes. Yes, Maldon again, I do not like cooking with salt much, because often the dishes come out too salty, prefer to add a few flakes to a ready dish, those flakes add texture. They are a staple on their own!  Also I use PB with the soy sauce for peanut satay stir frys. I just add pre-cooked ground beef and some sliced garlic and veggies. No salt flakes here, soy sauce is salty enough.
  5. Protein powder – because I eat 6 times a day, and because of my travel schedule, a good protein powder is indispensable. If you’re looking for a host of ways to include protein in your meals, having a scoop with water is an easy boost. I am not associated with any of the brands, there are soooo many around. At the moment I am getting my protein from TheProteinWorks (here is link to my friends code – you get i-shakes or powder freebies, I get the points) because it mixes with water better than other brands I’ve tried so far, because they’ve super quick delivery and reasonable prices. The main thing to look out for is sugar and carb content (unless you are bulking up) and low fat too, so you get lean protein. Good fats you can get from avos, nuts, etc 🙂
  6. Chopped greens (spring greens, cavolo nero, kale) and frozen mixed veg – in the summer I prefer to get the greens from the farmers markets (I wish I could say “right from my own garden”!), but, if no farmers market nearby, those bags of chopped greens are very useful. Frozen mixed veg is great and EASY way to get your greens onto your plate. Even in the office!  Use microwave and spices!
  7. Pre-washed mixed salads – again, very very easy low calorie high “chewability” option , works for light dinners, works for lunches/snacks in the office. Just add your toppers (mozza, chicken, salmon, tuna, etc, etc the list is endless) and a tablespoon of good quality oil (see below).
  8. Truffle, Walnut, Avocado or just plain good quality Extra-virgin olive oil – good olive oil tastes great, is great for you, and goes a long way. Use it instead of dressings/sauces on salads and veg. I’m hooked onto La Espanola White Truffle, also always have some Walnut oil for a more subtle flavour.
  9. Oats – plain simple rolled oats. A staple! Breakfast, snack and with yogurt and caramel macchiato protein oats work as comfort food 🙂
  10. Coffee – good quality freshly roasted bean to cup coffee does not really need sugar, and it is difficult to down 6 mugs of it 🙂 It is tasty, flavoursome and for most people has plenty of benefits. My coffee journey can be a separate blog theme, the best option so far is Aeropress plus beans marked finest/special/etc from Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, M&S. And thanks to Mr Fox getting a frother for us – I take my coffee with milk like a cappuccino or rather flat white. Coffee works for me as a snack, as a treat and as pre-workout drink 🙂

Finally, food is meant to be enjoyed! I love my cheesecake, Firezza pizza, hipster doughnuts/croughnuts, fish and chips feature at the Foxes household quite regularly, and living in Bermondsey the pie and mash shop is just down the road from us 🙂

Just remember to eat the good stuff regularly, and the indulgences not so often and you’ll be fine!