How to sustainably snack your way through Winter: Our Top 5.
We’re over halfway through Winter. It’s cold, rainy and the zoom meetings never-ending. We’re betting the New Year’s Resolutions for healthy eating have long been forgotten? Don’t give up hope just yet! The Good Life Refill is always here to help.
Our guest writer Katie Whitley has put together a list of her favourite snacks that not only taste good, but also make you feel good. Plus, for the sustainably savvy, she’s got tips on how to snack for a healthier planet too.
Katie’s Top Five Sustainable Snacks for Winter
Snacking is a term often associated with heavily processed foods. I love a snack, but sometimes you can find yourself opening the fridge door and, before you know it, you’re half a pack of biscuits, two bags of crisps and a giant bar of Cadbury’s down. So I like to plan ahead and have some delicious, healthy foods prepared for when those cravings hit.Here’s my list of some of my favourite, sustainable go-to snacks to get you through the winter months.
1. Fresh fruit.
This is an obvious one, but fresh fruit is a great snack even in the winter months. Fruit is high in essential vitamins and minerals, and packed full of fibre to keep you full.
Choose: Try to choose fruits that are in season, like apples and pears in the winter months. Bananas, pineapples, mangoes, melons and any other fruits with hard skins or a long shelf life are also good too - they are generally shipped to the UK which keeps their food mile carbon footprint to a minimum!
Avoid: At this time of year, I try to avoid soft fruits such as berries and grapes, as they are generally either grown in hothouses or flown half-way across the world meaning they come with a much higher carbon footprint. If you find you’re really craving berries during the winter months, opt for frozen as these will have been seasonally grown.
2. Nuts & seeds.
Nuts and seeds are packed with protein and healthy fats. They are anti-inflammatory, good for heart health and promote hormonal balance, just to name a few benefits.
Choose: I personally love walnuts as they are a great plant-based source of omega-3 which is good for cholesterol. Walnuts also contain serotonin, which is a mood-boosting brain chemical and vital during gloomy winter months.
If you’re trying to keep costs down, choose sunflower seeds. They’re an excellent source of vitamin E which is important for healthy hair and skin.
Avoid: Almonds from California. The amount of water required to grow almonds is huge and a large contributing factor to the state’s drought problems, consequently exacerbating the wildfires and causing havoc on the ecosystem.
Hummus is one of my favourite snacks and I always make sure I have some in the fridge. It’s something that everyone should make themselves: it saves you money, you get more of it and it tastes SO much better. To top it off, it’s packaging free!
There are lots of recipes online to try out, so it’s worth testing a few to find the flavour that works best for you.
I choose carrot sticks to go with my hummus at this time of year to keep it seasonal. You could also use purple sprouting broccoli, bread, crackers or even just a spoon. I like to make a double batch of hummus and freeze half for the following week to save time and money.
4. Wholewheat bread
Bread is often seen as being a ‘bad’ food. The truth is bread can be extremely healthy, particularly if its homemade (without all the additives and preservatives from processed bread) and wholewheat. Gluten is only the enemy if you are a coeliac or genuinely gluten intolerant. If you are not one of the aforementioned, then there is absolutely no reason to avoid it.
Yeasted bread is good; sourdough is better.
Sourdough is not as daunting as it looks, however it does need tending to relatively frequently, which makes it perfect for Winter lockdown days! I use the Bake With Jack: Sourdough For Beginners method. Except, I have a white starter and use wholewheat flour if I’m keeping it healthy. Also, if I’m only making one loaf, I will miss the pre shape stage (which cuts an hour of the process). For healthy-ish weekend treats I also love making sourdough using the 8 Grain Cotswold Flour from TGLR. Try it, you won’t look back!
5. Olive oil & Za’atar.
I’ve swapped butter/margarine on my bread for dipping it in olive oil and za’atar. Olive oil is a great heart healthy alternative to butter. Za’atar is a middle eastern spice mix that can be used on anything! I use the za’atar recipe from Feasting at Home and then mix it with some kalamata olive oil. This combination is also a new favourite of mine drizzled on soups.
So those are my favourite healthy snacks to get me through the winter months. I hope you find this useful and try making your own. Everything I have mentioned on this list can easily fit into a zero-waste lifestyle, and once you make your own, I promise you will not look back.
By Katie Whitley [Instagram: @kitchengardenbykatie
Katie is a qualified level 4 PT with an interest in nutrition, gardening and sustainable living. You can usually find her at her allotment growing veggies or cooking up tasty foods. Her ambition is to become a fully self-sufficient homesteader. You can follow her gardening journey on Instagram!