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Twelve simple and healthy dessert snacks that have minimal preparation, quick-step methods and nutritional benefits.

Summer is just around the corner, and for anyone who has been searching for a sweet treat that will hit the spot but remain guilt-free these twelve simple and healthy dessert snack recipes are ready for your everyday repertoire. From pancakes, to peanut butter oats to sorbet and homemade nice-cream there is something for the whole family to enjoy. 

1. Easy Watermelon Sorbet

For those who are searching for something fresh but also like to indulge in the sweeter side, watermelon sorbet is the way.

Ingredients

• 3-4 cups of frozen de-seeded watermelon • 3/4 cup of coconut cream
• Half a small lime

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

2. Two Ingredient Mango Sorbet

A two ingredient simple mango sorbet that cools your cravings throughout the summer months.

Ingredients

• 3 cups of frozen mango • 1 can of coconut milk

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

3. Creamy Coconut Nice-Cream

Summer calls for creamy coconut goodness, nice-cream can be eaten as made or poured into ice cream frozen moulds ready to enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 frozen bananas (depending on the desired serving size)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Nice-cream

Perfect for the chocolate lovers a creamy and fresh consistency through healthy and natural ingredients.

Ingredients

• 4 frozen bananas
• 3 tbsp natural peanut butter • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1/4 cup almond milk

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

5. Very Berry Nice-Cream

An easy and fresh berry combination perfect for a summer afternoon by the pool.

Ingredients

• 2 Frozen bananas
• 1 cup frozen berries
• 2 tbsp almond milk
• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

6. Chia Pudding

If you’ve been searching for an overnight snack option for those who love to healthy meal prep a chia pudding is a simple recipe that you can change up toppings daily.

Ingredients

• 1/4 cup chia seeds
• 1/2 cup of almond or coconut milk

Toppings of choice eg. Banana, Honey, Greek yoghurt

Method

Combine and refrigerate overnight. In the morning the chia seeds will have expanded and softened, ready to top with topping of choice!


7. Overnight Chocolate Oats

A solution for all of the chocolate lovers big and small, chocolate oats are a satisfying overnight breakfast or a ready-to-eat chocolate snack conquering cravings.

Ingredients

• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 50-100 grams oats
• 150 ml almond milk
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Toppings of choice eg. Banana, berries, yoghurt or peanut butter.

Method

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Top with toppings of choice and enjoy!

8. Baked Snickers Oats

Offering warm baked goodness of oats, with a melt-in-your mouth sensation the kids (and parents) will love as an after school treat or dessert.

Ingredients

• 1 cup of oats
• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond milk
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
• Dark chocolate chips (optional)

Method

Combine ingredients and blend together.
Transfer the blended mixture to a small baking dish.
Top with dark chocolate chips (optional) and a small
tsp of natural peanut butter in the middle before baking for 15 mins. The peanut butter will melt into the chocolate oats and be ready to enjoy!

9.Banana and Egg Pancake

Sunday morning breakfast just got a whole lot healthier, nutritious and delicious these pancakes are a simple revision to your classic repertoire.

Ingredients

• 1-2 mashed banana
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp Chia seeds / LSA Mix (Optional)

Toppings of choice eg. Mixed Berries, Greek Yoghurt, Honey, Peanut Butter.

Method

Mash the banana and combine in a bowl with eggs. Optional to add chia seeds or LSA mix-ins. Whisk until fully combined. Cook in a saucepan for roughly 5 minutes each side [lipping like a regular pancake until cooked on both sides!

Top with toppings of choice. Enjoy!

10. Cookie Dough

For all those cookie loving kids (big kids included) this recipe is a simple way to satisfy your cravings.

Ingredients

• 1 cup oat [lour
• 1/3 cup coconut milk
• 1 cup dates
• 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips • 1 tsp vanilla

Method

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate!

11. Peanut Butter and Date Cookies

The cookies that will transform your baking, a gluten and guilt free alternative, these can also be a great Christmas cookie.

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter • 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups almond meal

• 1/2 cup chopped dates • 1 tsp baking soda

Method

Mix wet ingredients; peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla in one bowl. Mix dry ingredients; almond meal and baking soda in a seperate bowl. Combine both mixes and fold in the dates to mixture.
Seperate and roll mixture into bowls, [latten and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

12. Vegan Museli Bars

The perfect lunchbox or after school snack, prepare and store for throughout the week!

Ingredients

• 1 mashed ripe banana
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
• 1/4 cup loosely chopped almonds • 1/4 cup loosely chopped walnuts • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
• 1/4 cup gogi berries

Method

Roast the nuts and oats in the oven for 15 minutes.
In a saucepan combine peanut butter, mashed banana and maple syrup and stir until a melted consistency.
When the oats and nuts are lightly toasted combine them to the saucepan mixture add gogi berries and mix together in a bowl.
Pour the mixture and press down with a spatula into a baking dish lined with paper. Put some more baking paper onto of mix and use the spatula to press down tightly.

Place in fridge for about 1 hour to set.
Take the paper off mixture and cut into bars and Enjoy!

Take a trip to your local market to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables to improve your mental health and happiness. Fresh fruit and veggies contain important carbohydrates, B Vitamins and antioxidants and we can’t expect tablets to provide us with the same results.

Recent research from Australia and England measured 12,000 people’s happiness and wellbeing. The research focused on whether there were improvements in people’s wellbeing after eating more fruit and vegetables. People were asked a few questions about how often they ate fruit and vegetables and how much they ate. Two years later they were asked the same questions. The outcome was positive for those who had increased the amount of fruit and vegetables, resulting in increased happiness and wellbeing.

Why am I writing about food and happiness? We know mental illness is common. Around 20 per cent of Australians experience a mental illness in any year. Teenagers and young adults (18 to 24 year olds) are most likely to show signs of mental illness of any age group. If we can set up good eating habits now for our children, then this could help reduce and improve their happiness, and maybe improve their mental health.

Of course food is just one part of improving our mental health and happiness. There are many, many factors including genetics and where we live, for example, that also impact on our happiness. Exercise, getting out in the sunshine, fresh air and being with supportive friends, are all healthy strategies that we can encourage our children to do.

In Australia we have the ‘Go for 2 fruit and 5 veg’ campaign which aims to increase awareness of the need to eat more fruit and vegetables. The campaign also offers useful tips and strategies to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables we eat.

The research suggests that fruits and vegetables might impact on our mental health and happiness based on the following components that are in fruits and vegetables:

 

Fruits and vegetables with a low glycemic index release glucose in a slow and steady fashion which may help to regulate our moods and our happiness.

Carbohydrate type

We know that when we eat fruits and vegetables, our body releases insulin and causes the carbohydrate to be broken down into glucose. Our brain is then triggered to make important neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which can affect our mood. Fruits and vegetables with a low glycemic index release glucose in a slow and steady fashion which may help to regulate our moods and our happiness. Unlike highly processed food (think: lollies, cake, biscuits) which give that sugar hit that we can all relate to (think: kids just came home from a birthday party) usually results in a pretty big crash in mood. So, slow and steady wins the race.

B vitamins

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of B vitamins, including folate and vitamin B6. These two vitamins are again important in our brains making serotonin and other chemicals that affect mood.  Low levels of B vitamins may be linked to depression. As an aside, Vitamin B12 is also an important B group vitamin in helping making serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 is not usually found in fruits and vegetables, but instead in fish, lean meat, eggs and dairy – so all food groups are important.

 

Take a trip to your fruit and vegetable market and stock up. Even better take your children with you and let them choose some of the fruits and vegetables.

Antioxidants

Research looking at antioxidant content in fruits and vegetables has increased over the last few decades. Vitamins C and E and other components such as phytochemicals, are all found in fruits and vegetables. It is thought that these types of antioxidants protect our body cells against damage and they may also reduce body inflammation, which has been linked to poor mental health.

I would like to emphasise the importance of eating fresh (or frozen, tinned) fruit and vegetables and not just taking a few multivitamins and antioxidant tablets. Not only are fruits and vegetables cheaper, but more and more the research is showing the importance of eating the whole food and we can’t just isolate certain components of food into a tablet and expect the same results. So, take a trip to your fruit and vegetable market and stock up. Even better take your children with you and let them choose some of the fruits and vegetables.

Low glycemic fruits and vegetables

Fruits: Apples, bananas, strawberries, kiwi fruit, oranges, berries (fresh or frozen, mango, pear

Vegetables: Sweetcorn, carrots, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, snow peas, green beans, eggplant, mushrooms, avocadoes

Make a toastie with these delicious fruit and vegetable fillings:

  • Banana, ricotta cheese, sultanas and pinch cinnamon
  • Grated cheese, tomato, avocado
  • Baby spinach, avocado, cheese
  • Ham, cheese, pineapple
  • Baked beans, mushroom, cheese
  • Tinned tuna/salmon, cheese, sweetcorn
  • Chicken, coleslaw, cheese

Recipe – Chicken & vegetable kebabs

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

500g chicken breast fillets, sliced

1 cup of chopped vegetables per person (eg: mushroom, capsicum, cherry tomatoes, zucchini)

½ tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp curry powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Steamed rice to serve

Method:

1. Alternate vegetables and chicken onto skewers, place in shallow dish.

2. Combine coriander, cumin, curry powder, olive oil, brown sugar and fish sauce in bowl. Pour over skewers. Cover, refrigerate skewers for at least one hour.

3. Grill skewers until cooked. Serve with steamed rice.