When summer holidays roll around, I always like to spend time in the kitchen and make a bunch of healthy snacks and treats for my family.
Because, let's face it, healthy snacks are a must in summer. Whether you're by the pool, on the beach or out for a walk, smaller meals are much easier to grab on the go.
But, there's no denying that the holidays are all about indulgence too. Everywhere you turn, there's always plenty of leftover Christmas pudding, mince pies, cakes, sweets, chocolates and rich food. But traditional festive treats aren't always healthy, and are often packed with trans fats, sugar and salt which can leave you feeling bloated, lethargic and heavy. That's not a great way to feel on your holiday!
Try these healthy lifestyle tips
In my opinion, the key to a healthy festive season is to:
- Watch your portions
- Eat everything in moderation
- Make healthy snack swaps where you can.
- Drink plenty of water and limit your liquid calories
- Make a plan to move more every day
Swapping traditional treats for healthy snacks is simpler than you think. Instead of eating a sugary donut from the supermarket for instance, rather whip up a batch of healthy waffles, pancakes or crumpets at home. That way you know exactly what's going into your home-baked treat and can make them as healthy as you like.
It’s also important to drink plenty of water and move as much as you can during the holidays. It doesn’t have to be formal exercise… daily walks on the beach, casual bike rides, a game of volleyball or cricket on the beach – these all count!
I love nothing more than going for long walks with my daughter Bella, searching for sea shells or anything interesting on the beach we can find. Of course, I also take my rebounder with wherever I go, and Bella and I enjoy our daily bounce session – which keeps us both happy and healthy.
I also have a few delicious healthy snacks up my sleeve that my family and I enjoy. They’re not overly refined and processed and they’re free from nasty additives. I try to stick to natural sugar (such as in fruit or limited portions in dark chocolate), as far as possible and eat whole foods where I can.
5 healthy snacks to enjoy:
Sliced or cubed fruit pieces dipped in dark chocolate
To prepare: Simply pick your favourite fruits for dipping. Kiwis, bananas, papaya cubes, pineapple, apple, grapes and strawberries work well for this idea. Chop or dice the fruit and slide it onto a wooden skewer stick. For little ones, you can just pop the fruit onto their plate or in a bowl.
To prepare the chocolate sauce: Melt your favourite good-quality dark chocolate with a little milk over medium heat, in a saucepan. Don’t let the mixture boil, the chocolate just needs to melt. Then once it’s cool, dip the fruit into the sauce and store it in the freezer for a few hours to let it set. Enjoy it straight from the freezer or keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.
To prepare: To bake peaches or pears, simply place them in an oven proof dish, pour in 200ml water and sprinkle a little brown sugar on the fruit. Bake at 180C for around an hour until the water and sugar has turned to syrup. You can serve this with sugar-free homemade custard or homemade ice cream for a real treat.
My homemade recipes
Flourless chocolate muffins
To prepare: Click here for my recipe and video so you can see exactly how to make them. This is one of my favourite recipes because these muffins are so simple to make, and it won’t take you longer than 45 minutes to prep and bake. Bonus!
To store: I often bake a batch of these before we head out to the farm in the KZN midlands, so we can enjoy them there with our tea each morning, rather than relying on processed muffins.
Cheesy green fritters
If you have more of a savoury tooth, you’ll love my cheesy green fritters. Trust me they’re delicious and taste even better with a variety of healthy dips such as hummus and homemade tzatziki.
To prepare: They’re quick and easy, I promise. No slaving away in the kitchen these holidays! Click here for my recipe
To store: These gems can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, so there’s plenty of other meals you can make with them, such as healthy veggie burgers, fillings for wraps or pitas or just on their own with a variety of appetisers.
Healthy vanilla superfood waffles
To prepare: Click here for my recipe These taste delicious whether you have a waffle maker or not. They're loaded with healthy, tasty ingredients and if you're home, be sure to serve them with yoghurt, berries, melted peanut butter or sliced banana.To store: These will last for 3-4 days in the fridge, so long as they're packed into an airtight container. They're also ideal for picnics and lunchboxes.