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Give a Healthy Snack for Christmas

If you want to give something different something special for this Christmas, try these.

These two lovely trail mix recipes help you to prepare a delicious healthy snack just in minutes. 

Christmas trail mix - a healthy snack

 

Make, wrap and give a healthy snack

Only minutes to prepare these trail mixes – but they can give a special highlight to the Christmas. This kind of present is especially dear to me as they help us to stay on the healthy side without an effort even in the indulgent Christmas period.

Let’s be honest we love nibbling on something in front of the telly or when we are having guests. Healthy or not healthy we snack on something. The key is – as the main rule in every weight loss or healthy diet, – that we have to be prepared for our own weakness and keep all the attractive but unhealthy stuff out of reach – and stock on snacks with high nutritional value. Oranges, Satsumas, dried dates, figs warm spices and nuts spread as much Christmas spirit – or even more than crisps and sweets wrapped in festive packaging.

The other huge benefit of these trail mixes is that they may contribute to the advent period: they can be made together with the children. To be honest, I re-invented the advent in the last couple of years. Instead on concentrating on the two days of Christmas we distribute the magic throughout the entire month. Every day brings a little joy of Christmas: we prepare presents one day, make a little bit of decoration next day, then sit down and just enjoy a mug of mulled wine (or mulled apple juice) on the following day. This elevates the stress about Christmas, there is no pressure that we have to have two perfect days in a perfectly decorated house with perfectly prepared meals. However, we gain a whole month of joy this way – and we love it. Probably this may not work for everyone, but I can recommend it for families with small children.

Roasted walnuts - healthy snack

Coming back to the trail mixes, these fit perfectly in the line of our festive activities. Children can help mixing the spices, measuring (and tasting) the ingredients and layering them into the jar. They also can decorate the jars and lids with labels, ribbons or stickers.

And the best part that the lovely smell of cinnamon fulfil the whole house bringing warmth and Christmas into the house.

You will need one 500ml jar with a tightly fitted lid – or two smaller jars,  sterilised. Just wash the jar(s) in hot soapy water, rinse them and drain. You can submerge them into boiling water for a few minutes or place them in an oven preheated to 140C / fan 120C / 250F / Gas Mark 1/2 until they completely dry.

You will also need a pretty ribbon or/and labels for wrapping. It is completely on you, but I would not wrap them into wrapping paper as the filled jars are so pretty – it would be a shame to hide them into a paper. The nuts and especially the cranberries are like little gems inside, just a ribbon or a piece of some lovely fabric on the lid can highlight the content.

Are you a constantly tired Mum?

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The Best 7 Nutritional Swaps To Be an Energetic Mum

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Goodness in a jar

Just briefly about the ingredients, because it’s good to know how much goodness is in these simple ingredients.

Cranberry

You can swap the mango to dried figs (or other dried fruit), but please keep the cranberries. We really need this superfood in our diet, and its consumption should not be limited to the festive period. Although they are in season from mid-September until around mid-November, they are available all year around in the form of dried or frozen products. They have so much and important health benefits (see the infographic below), that it worth to make a little effort to fit them into our diet. I am sure it is not a big effort as they taste great and so easy to add them to our everyday meals:

  • Use them as a filling in mince pies adding cinnamon and few tablespoon of ground almond or some grated marzipan
  • Make a cranberry sauce adding red wine, some sugar and rosemary
  • Add dried cranberries to muffins
  • Make a cranberry jelly using fresh cranberries: cook the cranberries with a few strips of orange zest, 1 cooking apple and 1 cup brown sugar. Cook them until they are break up and look like a jam. Push the puree through a sieve and pour into a mould. It firms up in the fridge within an hour.
  • Add cranberries to stews
  • Use them in bread and butter pudding instead of raisins – or in any recipe calling for raisins

The main healthy benefits of (1)

Apple crisp

Try to find apple crisp with no additives. It shouldn’t contain palm oil or preservatives. If you cannot find you can use simple dried apple – it doesn’t matter it is sliced or diced. You can even make your own, just thinly slice the apples (1-2mm thick), place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for 1 hour on 160C/ 140C fan/ gas mark 3 turning halfway through and removing any crisps that have turned brown.

Honey

Adding honey is optional, as the fruits are sweet enough you can omit it completely reducing the calories a bit.

Almonds

Almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, copper, calcium, magnesium and high-quality protein. They help you fill up, slow down the symptoms of ageing, lower the bad cholesterol and lose weight. They protect artery walls from damage and reduce the risk of heart attack.

Walnut

Walnuts also a good source of manganese, B Vitamins, high in protein and dietary fibre. Walnuts help weight control and contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. Just like almonds – walnuts too, support brain health, reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

The recommended serving size for the trail mixes a small handful at a time. See recipes below.

Christmas trail mix

Total time: 15 min

Christmas trail mix - healthy snack

Ingredients:

150g whole almonds

1 tsp sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp honey (optional)

100g dried cranberries

100g dried mango

50g unsweetened desiccated coconut

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan / 325 F / Gas Mark 3.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Step 2

In a small bowl mix the sunflower oil, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and honey (if using). Add the whole almonds and stir gently until they all covered with the spice mix. Spread out the almonds on the lined baking tray. Then place them into the hot oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool completely before assembling the trail mix.

Step 3

In the meantime, wash and sterilise a pretty 500ml jar with lid (or two smaller ones). Prepare the cranberry, coconut and mango. Once the almonds have cooled down place them into the jar, top with the cranberries, then the desiccated coconut and finally the dried mango pieces. Screw on the lid tightly and decorate the jar with a ribbon or label. See an example label below.

Healthy snack

Spiced Walnut and Apple Mix

Total time: 13 min

Spiced walnut and apple mix - healthy snack

Ingredients:

150g walnut halves

1 tsp sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp honey (optional)

50g apple crisps or dried apple slices

80g dried cranberries

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan / 325 F / Gas Mark 3.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Step 2

In a small bowl mix the sunflower oil, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and honey (if using). Add the walnut halves and stir gently until they all covered with the spice mix. Spread out the walnuts on the lined baking tray. Then place them into the hot oven and bake for 5-8 minutes. Be careful, do not extend the baking time as they burn quickly. Let them cool completely before assembling the trail mix.

Step 3

In the meantime, wash and sterilise a pretty 500ml jar with lid (or two smaller ones). Prepare the cranberry and apple crisp. Once the walnuts have cooled down place them into the jar, top with the cranberries, then the apple pieces. Screw on the lid tightly and decorate the jar with a ribbon or label.

Are you a constantly tired Mum?

Follow this free action plan

to get your energy back!

The Best 7 Nutritional Swaps To Be an Energetic Mum

With a printable reference.​

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