Shining a Spotlight on Savoury Snacks

As with all the recipes I have shared with you these require minimum effort for maximum reward in both taste and nourishment. Due to the relatively self explanatory differences between the following and whatever you could purchase from the shelves of a corner shop I will just do a quick round up of a couple of the huge positive leaps you would be making if you added these to your recipe repertoire.

First up an across the board statement; by making your own snacks you control exactly what goes into them.

Think about how long crisps, biscuits and crackers sit on those shelves just waiting for you to wander along and snap them up. In order to stay fresh things must be added to preserve them. Now this can range from more natural preserving agents such as salt, vinegar or sugar all the way through to that horrendously long chemical name they wouldn't dream of making you try to pronounce, instead they replace it with a nice simple code such as E222 (Sodium hydrogen sulphite) or E239 (Hexamethylene tetramine) mmmm yummy....! Just by avoiding those we're winning in my estimations. Plus we're also starring clear of extra salt, sugar and fats that may be added to stabilise a product or give flavour because the ingredients aren't that great tasting without them.

Next is eliminating the presence of trans fats. (These are the ones we are trying to avoid when we think of ditching the fried food too).

Every fat can be present in two forms which we refer to as 'cis' and 'trans'. This refers to the organisation of the component elements within a molecule. Our body loves a good bit of fat but it is only friends with the cis guys; they've known each other since school, like to do the same things at the weekend and send each other's parents Christmas cards. Trans fats on the other hand are the scary dudes who like to hang around under dark railway bridges and pick fights with people trying to walk home from the tube at night, our bodies aren't particularly big fans.

So when these trans guys arrive at your birthday party (or we eat them) our body gets nervous and doesn't know what to do with them. They don't want to join in with the activities you've got planned so instead go running around chucking carrot sticks at everyone else having a nice time (or rampage around your blood stream causing oxidative stress and generally not doing nice things to us like causing cancer or atherosclerosis by damaging our blood vessels). Trans fats are produced by overheating fats so they oxidise and are present in all processed or packaged food products. Chuck 'em out the window I say! (maybe not literally, I wouldn't want to be responsible for the creation of a new weather phenomenon due to cascading chips and custard creams!)

Then comes the super obvious, by using fresh ingredients you're getting a gazillion times more nutrients because they haven't been sat for ages decreasing in potency. Plus by swapping in different, colourful root vegetables for the standard white potato when making our own crisps we've skyrocketed our antioxidant status.

And then by choosing to use almonds and amaranth (if you haven't come across amaranth before it's similar to quinoa, a protein rich ancient grain) for our crackers we've replaced those horrid, dastardly trans fats with their protein packed, anti inflammatory mirror image, couldn't really ask for more could we? Well we could because by being full of those wonderful friendly fats plus a good punch of protein they will keep us feeling full and satisfied for longer. Ideal!

Before I head off to dive head first into a large bowl of crispy crunchy veggies I just want to say this was absolutely not intended to make you feel guilty about indulging in the odd packet treat. I simply wanted to highlight a couple of things that you could be inadvertently ingesting and provide a couple of ideas to fill that gap if you did decide you wanted to leave those things in the past tense of your diet diary.

Happy crunching!

Dilly Carrot & Parsnip Shards