If you’re anything like me, you’re most probably always on the lookout for healthy and inexpensive snacks to pack in your lunchbox for work. No one really wants to nibble on the same foods day in, day out so I’m always exploring new options. I’m sure you are as well!
While I like chips and chocolate bars (who doesn’t?) I don’t really want to be snacking on that kind of a snack every day. If you’re not prepared when that mid-afternoon craving sets in though, you’re more than likely going to be popping in at your nearest convenience shop, and walking out the door with just such snacks! Not only is that an unhealthy alternative, as we all know, but it’s also the most expensive option which could easily set you back at least R300.00 to R350.00 each month, and who wants that? It’s an absolute waste of your hard-earned money.
There are so many other tastier options, and today I’m going to be sharing with you my top 6 favourite, healthy and inexpensive lunchbox snacks.
I often find carrots in bulk at the Apple Tree Food Market. Sometimes you can get a whole 5kg bag of carrots for as little as R10.00 and who can resist that price? The good thing about buying carrots in bulk is that they will last for quite some time in the fridge if they are peeled, washed, allowed to thoroughly dry and then kept dry in the fridge so don’t tie those packets but allow the carrots to ‘breathe’, so to speak. And instead of crunching on whole, or half carrots, you might want to use your julienne slicer. Fresh carrots are deliciously satisfying when that craving for something sweet does its rounds in the afternoons!
Who would have thought you could eat turnips raw? We always used to have them steamed or oven baked but, once we discovered that, preferably young, turnips can be eaten raw, there’s no going back for us! Nowadays I simply scrub the turnips, dry them thoroughly then slice them very thinly and store them in a container in the fridge for an easy, healthy snack on the go. Raw turnips are very similar to radishes, and they have a bit of a snap to them too but they mostly taste fresh, sweet and juicy though. And while you would probably end up paying up to R15.00 for only a few turnips, once sliced they will yield a rather large amount which should last you a while. Raw turnips are rich in iron, calcium and vitamin C and contain very few calories, but individuals with a thyroid condition should limit their intake of this vegetable.
You can buy a packet of 500 gr. of dates for R29.00 at Westpack Lifestyle, and that’s cheaper than what our supermarkets have to offer these days. For that price, dates have to be my top choice of packaged fruit for snacks. Not only that, dates are a good source of various minerals and vitamins and boast quite a few health benefits for the human body. Sure, dates do contain sugar, but they are on the low glycaemic list and therefore, will not cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Apple slices & Peanut butter
In season, apples are some of the cheapest fruit you can buy. Peanut butter is probably one of the cheapest spreads too. Put the two together and voila, you have a delicious, late afternoon snack! Simply slice an apple or two, and spread the peanut butter on your apple slices. If you’ve never tried this combination before, give it a try and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This must be one of my all-time favourite snacks because it’s so filling and easy to grab as you rush out the door in the mornings. Having peanut butter with apples is also a nice change from just munching on an apple.
I recently came across this lovely recipe for crispy roasted chickpeas! I usually keep a few tins of chickpeas in our pantry and I’ve also cooked them from scratch although the tinned variety is definitely a time-saver. Chickpeas are a good source of protein and fibre, they are very filling and they add a bit of variety to the legumes in your diet so you don’t always end up reaching for that tin of beans! Chickpeas are also a healthy, protein alternative if you are planning on a meatless meal. As a snack though, roasted chickpeas taste great!
A delicious snack for your sweet tooth, and quite affordable. There is very little difference in price between a Moir’s jelly packet and the no name, or store, brands. The good thing about Moir’s jelly is that it sets fairly quickly i.e. in a couple of hours, whereas if you are using a no name brand, or a store brand, they tend to take a bit longer to set fully, usually about 24 hours. Nonetheless, you have a whole lot of flavours to choose from. Jelly, surprisingly, has very few calories although it does contain some carbohydrates. The gelatine, the main ingredient in Jelly, is a good boost to your immune system, among other things, and this, for me, is a good enough reason to indulge in this childhood favourite!
What are some of your favourite, healthy yet inexpensive lunchbox snacks?
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