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15 Nutrient-Dense Single-Ingredient Snacks

15 Nutrient-Dense Single-Ingredient Snacks

Alexx Stuart | May 12, 2020

15 Single Ingredient Nutrient Dense Snacks 

Here’s a crazy fact to ponder… did you know that the revenue in the ‘Snack Food’ industry in Australia alone amounted to over 2 billion in 2019? That’s over half of the fruit and veg industry combined, just on snacks (which fruit and veg are NOT categorised as, by the way. Fancy that!). Wowsas! Just take a minute to think about the sheer volume of soft plastics and non-recyclable packaging that is produced from this new way of consuming an often individually portioned snack, let alone the quality of the farming of the raw materials and the added lab-made ingredients.

It got me thinking – when did all this packaged guff start to become the norm and what happened to just munching on a carrot when you’re a little peckish, or getting your protein at main meals instead of in powdered form and processed bars? With less than 10% of Aussies getting in their recommended fruit and veg intake each day, is there perhaps not an opportunity to redefine the snack? I remember taking my little guy out and sitting on a park bench with him and eating a carrot and a few salted, cooked chick peas for a snack when he was hungry and people being shocked and calling him a ‘good boy’. He’s a hungry boy and it’s food. It’s not some sort of special achievement to eat a carrot but I guess we’ve come to a place culturally where it is, and that’s something we have to face if we’re ever going to fix it. 

As Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food argues, ‘dining has been stripped of its ceremony and has been replaced by a lot of snacking and thoughtless noshing.’ He laments that the multi-billion-dollar food industry has engineered foods in a lab so that we can continue to eat insane amounts of them, rather than just cutting back a little and concentrating on whole foods that don’t have to be tweaked by science. Sadly, we’ve turned away from our roots through some very clever advertising by Big Food, and it’s up to us to remind each other that simple is always best. Three documentaries you might like to watch if you’re keen to get educated or simply feel excited about what real food’s gifts are again, a personal favourite Sustainable and Food MattersIngredients Inc and Fed Up are good too.

So, in the spirit of bringing things back to simplicity and ease with a side effect of deep nourishment, I’ve pulled together a list of 15 single ingredients package-free snacks that you can turn to when you’re hunting around the pantry. If you’re currently 100% in packaged food land for snacks, don’t panic. Go slow, do a mix of packet and wholefood ‘plates’ to start with so it’s my old winning formula of ‘something familiar, something new’ and over time you can reduce the packets more and more.

A little caveat before we dive in – yes these are solo ingredient recipes ‘ish’ – we’re not counting a dash of oil or a sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt because really…those staples in your pantry can elevate any ingredient and it’d be a shame to leave them out!

#1 Carrot Sticks 

Simply wash the skin and eat as is if organic or peel if conventional is what you have access to, or for little kiddies, you can pre-chop and store in the fridge in a half-filled jar of water for freshness. Put them at the front of the shelf for an easy-grab option. Carrots make for a good snack when you’re craving the crunch factor, and they’re rich in betacarotene, potassium, vitamin K and antioxidants. 

baby carrots

#2 Roasted Chickpeas 

Pop a drained and rinsed BPA-free tin of chickpeas onto a tray (or soak for 24 hours in water with a squeeze of lemon juice and cook well and drain to then roast). Drizzle with some olive oil and sea salt (add a cheeky spice in there if you fancy), and roast at 200 degrees for 15-25 minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Store in a jar, and you’ve got the perfect salty protein-rich snack to keep you away from the chips packet. These are dirt cheap too especially if you buy dried chickpeas from the bulk foods store. 

yellow corn on glass bowl

#3 Half an avocado 

Such a simple and delightful snack. All you need is half a fresh, ripe avocado and a spoon. Add a sprinkle of salt if you like. This is the easiest way to get satiated quickly. I challenge you to eat this when you have cravings, and see if you still feel the chocolate niggle afterwards. Avocados have a rich source of vitamins, fibre, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, which makes for a nourishing snack. Studies also show they demonstrate positive heart healthy effects on blood lipids profile so an ideal snack for big a little people. 

sliced avocado

#4 A banana 

Fruit has had a bad rap over the last few years, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a beautiful fresh banana. Give me one of these over a sugary packaged snack anyday. Bananas are super rich in potassium, a great source of energy and balanced with plenty of fibre to support digestion. Hot tip if you are sensitive to fructose, slice up the banana, and add a spoonful of nut butter to mediate any blood sugar spikes. 

yellow banana fruits

#5 Cucumber sticks

You don’t even need to slice your cucumber! Simply, give it a wash and munch away. But of course, if you’re in a work environment or on the go, it might be more socially acceptable to do so hehe. They’re 96% water, making them filling and hydrating to the body. 

cucumber lot

#6 Blueberries 

These little gems are loaded with antioxidants, which are great for supporting healthy immune function and reducing oxidative damage. They’re also the ultimate low-fructose snack, meaning you won’t have an energy crash post snack.

blueberries on white ceramic container

#7 A few strips of beef jerky

Best to source this from a good quality grass-fed beef supplier. If you’re Sydney based, The Ethical Farmer’s have the most delicious jerky! Beef jerky is packed with protein, making it an ideal mid-afternoon snack. A few strips will leave you satiated and curve any salty cravings you might be having. The trick is not to go overboard (easy to do) because jerky is dehydrated. Too much in one sitting will be tough on your digestive tract. 

HOT & SPICY HOME MADE BEEF JERKY Yield: Yields about 650g of finished jerky INGREDIENTS 2kg (5lb) grass-fed beef brisket (or other lean ...

Image via Pinterest

#8 Baked kale chips

A perfect way to get your dark leafy greens in is through baking up some kale chips in the oven. Here’s my simple recipe for Easy Peasy Kale Chips. Given the store bought variety cost about $6 a bag – these are definitely are more cost and yield effective option! Kale is also a great source of vitamin C, iron and antioxidants. No wonder they call it a superfood. 

#9 Mixed (or single) Berry Sorbet

If you’ve got a bag of frozen berries and you’re craving a sweet treat on a summer afternoon, you can throw two cups into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. I add a couple of tablespoons of coconut cream to make it nice and creamy, but you can leave out. You might also want, for the 100% berry version, to add a tablespoon of honey so it’s not too tart for the wholefood-uninitiated. Baby steps, right? It is SO delicious and complete satisfies that sorbet craving. This works with any frozen foods like mango, banana, strawberries. 

Image result for berry sorbet"

(Image via Pinterest)

#10 Homemade Popped Popcorn

If you or the little ones are wanting something fun to snack on, pop some popcorn in a pan and season with some Himalayan salt and organic butter. You can add a fancy twist with my turmeric popcorn, too. It goes down a treat. Try to always use organic, GMO-free kernels and keep it to a small bowl so you don’t overload your digestive system.

photo of popcorn kernels

#11 Tinned Wild-Caught Sardines 

These are such a lovely snack (if you’re that way inclined. I get that these aren’t for everyone, but I include them because my son will literally open a tin and down the lot and my theory is, is that he’s in touch with an omega 3 need.). Sardines are one of the most nutritious sources of food going. One tin contains nearly 5 times the recommended daily intake for omega 3s, they are packed with protein and calcium, and they’re eaten by many centurians who live in blue zones around the world. 

sardines on can

#12 Boiled egg

The humble egg is a complete high protein snack all packaged for you. You can simply boil a batch of these at the beginning of the week and peel as needed, or fry up a 1-minute, 2-egg omelette on the spot. If you’re iffy about the health claims that eggs are no good, the BBC has written a great article summarising all their benefits with links to research. In summary – studies have found that those who ate eggs every day had an 18% lower risk of death from heart disease and 28% lower risk of stroke death compared to those who didn’t eat eggs. How eggcellent hehe! Read the full review here. 

white ceramic egg holding near spoon

#13 Full-fat Greek Yoghurt OR Coconut Yoghurt

Yoghurt is once again one of those great satiating snacks (much like avocado, sardines, or eggs), that will fill a hole in the tummy quick smart, as long as you’re opting for full-fat, unsweetened variety (ideally organic). Dairy yoghurt is rich in protein and live cultures – so a good option for the gut (if tolerated). If not, coconut yoghurt is a satiating snack, too. 

Image result for yoghurt"

#14 A heaped teaspoon of nut butter 

If you’re hankering for something that tastes a little indulgent but isn’t, have a tablespoon of nut butter – you could also have it on some slices of banana or apple. The healthy dose of fats and protein will keep you satiated until your next meal. Always ensure you’re having nut butter that is 100% ground nuts and go for almonds, macadamia or brazil nut spread for the best dose of nutrients.  If you’re sensitive to molds, steer clear of peanut butter as it can sometimes be high in ochratoxin A. 

peanut butter with black spoon

# 15 Root Veggie Chips 

You may have seen these cropping up in health food stores or even in the “healthy” aisle of the supermarkets. Sadly many of these seemingly healthy chips are actually cooked in cheap inflammatory omega6-rich vegetable oils like canola, vegetable, soybean or rapeseed oils. The good news, they’re so easy to make at home and far cheaper! All you need to do is mandolin or thinly slice some sweet potato and beet (washed with skin on), coat in coconut or olive oil, and season with salt. Bake for 20-35 minutes in a hot oven at around 200C or 180C/350F fanforced until crispy and you’re good to go! 

Image result for root veggie chips"

(Image credit: Trader Jo’s)

So there we go – 15 delicious, waste-free, nutrient-dense, easy peasy one ingredient snack for you to enjoy. Have I missed any? Share some ideas below! Sometimes on the holidays it can be all too tempting to load up on packed and, while I do have a few packaged items in the mix from time to time, I wanted to create a list for us that got us focused on the possibilities from simple, quick whole foods too!

Low Tox. Healthy People. Happy Planet

Alexx x

Simple & Hearty Autumnal Vegetarian Stew

Simple & Hearty Autumnal Vegetarian Stew

Alexx Stuart | May 2, 2020

I took a trip down memory lane today, to my little flat in Bondi where I lived for a bit when I was a bartender. I loved that little place. As I was a bartender working crazy hours, having evenings to prepare dinner wasn’t really a ‘thing’. So I would batch cook a few basics that I made up – I was never good at following recipes – and would freeze little plastic container portions and defrost them straight into a non stick saucepan at lunch time before heading in to work.
Cheap. Hearty. Yummy. Ridiculously simple. Done organically it’s a $15 meal for 4 with accompaniments. I hope you enjoy it as my little family sure did tonight. All gobbled up.

Cook Time: 31 mins
Serves 4: 2 adults, 2 kids.

Ingredients

1 large purple onion, rough chopped
¼ cup olive oil
500 ml stock veggie if you’re keeping the whole thing vegetarian / vegan otherwise I use chicken or beef broth
1 tin BPA free chopped tomatoes or 1/5 cups tomato passata
1 tin organic pinto or kidney beans, drained
1 tin organic lentils, drained
3 cups baby spinach or kale
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
1-2 cups fresh herbs to garnish (parsley for keeping it Euro or coriander if you want to take it into Mex territory with avocado, cheese and corn chips)

Method

1. Fry the chopped onion in the olive oil. 

2. Once just getting browned, add the garlic salt, rosemary, thyme and fry for 1-2 minutes. 

3. Add everything else. 

4. Simmer for 30 mins on low until thick and rich. Add salt and pepper to taste.

DONE. Too easy, right? 

Serve with sautéed spinach and quinoa or rice.

Spiced Whole Food Carrot Cake

Spiced Whole Food Carrot Cake

Alexx Stuart | March 24, 2020

I have been asked 5 times this month already (it’s the 6th!) whether I have a carrot cake recipe – I took that as a sign and here she is – the Low Tox Life’s very own gluten and dairy-free carrot cake. AND it’s delicious.

Bake it up as a two-level cake or a huge single or as muffins with or without icing, or ice with a coconut cream cheese icing or a traditional cream cheese icing. Either way, it’s a delicious, lightly spiced, moist (gosh I hate that word but it is!!!) cake that just melts in the mouth with those delicious chunks of walnut through there. I hope you like as much as the little taste testers here just did this afternoon.

I didn’t ice it – didn’t have time and no coconut cream at the ready in the fridge! You can do the coconut cream “icing” like the one I do for my key lime pie, which is delicious – scroll down to ‘cream top’ in the link.

You could ice with a traditional cream cheese icing or my whipped caramel icing.
Or, like me you could use as a tea cake, simple and un-iced – no one seemed to have an issue with it not being iced. It’s practically all gone already. One went to a play date and the other got “started” at dessert tonight. I’ve got a full day tomorrow, so with a bit of luck Friday I’ll get to ice a slice for a picture!

However you tuck in, enjoy this soft and tasty cake and pop the way you ended up serving it on Instagram if you’re there #lowtoxlife @lowtoxlife

Equipment needed

2 spring form cake pans 20-22cm. It’s big batch and makes two cakes to layer on top of each other with icing if you fancy.

Ingredients

100 g arrowroot/tapioca flour
260 g rice flour
1 cup or 250g rapadura sugar
3 flat tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon*
½ tsp nutmeg grated or ground
¼ tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground vanilla
½ tsp salt
200 g (1.5 cups) walnuts, rough chopped in half
200 g softened apple chunks (softened with a 1/4 cup of water in a pan for 10 minutes on high on the stove) OR 200g tinned pineapple if you wanted to go old school / 1 cup
4 pieces of small carrots grated finely OR 2.5 cups loose packed OR 270g
250 ml Macadamia oil / 220g
110 ml olive oil / 100g (you can just do more macadamia oil to do one type, but more olive oil and it will taste of olive oil which, if you’re fine with, be my guest)
4-5 large eggs

Method

Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan-forced) 350F

Thermomix Method

1. Finely chop your carrots at speed 6 for 5 seconds.

2. Remove and pop in a jug or bowl.

3. Whip the sugar, oil and eggs together on Speed 7 for 30 seconds.

4. Add everything else except the carrot and walnuts.

5. Run at speed 6 for 10 seconds, then reverse speed 6, 5 seconds.

6. Next, manually stir in your carrot and walnuts, and voila: You’re ready to pop in a tin.

Regular Method

1. Cream the eggs, oils and sugar together in a free standing mixer, with hand held beaters, blender or food processor

2. Add in the flours, spices, baking powder and salt and mix on high until JUST combined. No need to over mix it.

3. Stir through by hand, the soft apple/pineapple, chopped walnut and grated carrot until just combined.

4. Grease the tins or grease the parchment paper and line the tins with it.

5. Pop both tins side by side in the oven and bake for 30 mins or check with a skewer that they come out clean. If they’re still showing a little ‘mix’ on them, bake for another 4-5 minutes and skewer test again.

6. Pull out of the oven once done, and cool on a rack. It will look golden and delicious like in the image.

Find more fantastic low-tox recipes and advice on Alexx’s website, Low Tox Life.

Smokey Brain Boosting Mayo

Smokey Brain Boosting Mayo

Alexx Stuart | February 22, 2020

Our brains are made of fat and need a great variety of healthy fats to thrive. Most commercial mayo is terrible, packed full of highly processed vegetable oils, additives, overly sweet and often also containing flavours and even colours – hardly the brain booster we’re after!

So… we need to make our own mayo and it couldn’t be easier, despite what you may think. I used to find it this elusive thing that I’d never be clever enough to make and my grandmère made the best one that, in Mauritius, we’d often eat with cooled, steamed squash at dinner.

Make this with or without the hot sauce component – both ways are delicious. And, you’ll see down the bottom, I’ve added the option of thinning it to make it into a creamy dressing. We absolutely love this variation with shredded purple cabbage and Ocean trout as a delicious summer dinner.

Prep Time: 10 mins

Ingredients

2 egg yolks Keep your whites for making macaroons, why not!?
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 pinches salt
30 mL (1oz) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
30 mL (1oz) Avocado Oil
30 mL (1oz) Brain Octane or MCT oil If you can’t get this just do 45ml each of the other 2, no drama!
2 tsp maple syrup, rice malt syrup or honey
2 tsp smoked chipotle hot sauce I use the Tabasco brand. You could also substitute with ½ tsp smoked chipotle powder instead

Instructions

1. Get your stick blender assembled.

2. Crack and separate out your two egg yolks and place into a narrow jug.

3. Crack and separate out your two egg yolks and place into a narrow jug with the fresh lime juice and salt.

4. Stick blend these for 30 seconds.

5. Then add each of the fats in two stages – ie, 15mL / ½ oz at a time, stick blending on high for 20 seconds at a time before adding your next little drizzle.

6. Then pop in your smoked chipotle and sweetener of choice and do a final blend for 5 seconds. You’re done.

7. A delicious thick mayonnaise for spreading onto bread, serving with mets or falafels or dipping crudité into.

Enjoy!

Option for a creamy dressing variation:
Add 15mL / ½ oz more of each of the oils, 2 more pinches of salt and the juice of a whole lime to the above for a further blend of 20 seconds, if you want a longer, thinner mayo-style salad dressing.

Chocolate Macadamia Fudge Cake

Chocolate Macadamia Fudge Cake

Alexx Stuart | January 10, 2020

We stay with great friends for a few days in early January each year, who live up in the Byron Hinterland in the town of Rosebank. It is just beautiful up there, with rolling green hills, tree-lined roads and friendly people. I always cook a couple of treats while we’re there for everyone, and one I did was a bit of an invention and similar to my gooey chocolate pudding, but more of a cake that you can serve as a decadent morning tea or dessert with custard. We opted for the latter for the final night’s dessert and Griffin, their eldest, declared it “the best gluten-free dessert ever”.

So there you have it, the first positive testimonial that hopefully makes it worth having a go!
This cake is dense and fudgey so you can easily have this serve 10-11 people but if you’re cooking for many, double it and bake in a large baking tray for half the time, and cut 25 squares instead.

Enjoy! And, if you make it, do tag me on Instagram @lowtoxlife so that I can see your creations!
Here’s to real treats and less fake weirdness for 2020!
Real Treats. Happy Bodies. Connected Souls.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 10 generous slices

Ingredients

130g salted butter, melted (use coconut oil or olive oil if wanting it to be dairy free)
100g tapioca or arrowroot starch or 1 cup (watch out for sneaky 220 preservative in supermarket arrowroot!)
50 g coconut flour or ⅓ cup + 1 heaped tbsp
1 heaped tsp aluminium free baking powder
30g desiccated coconut or ⅓ cup
30g cocoa powder or ⅓ cup (I use dutch processed cocoa for baking)
100g rapadura / panela sugar or ½ cup
50-100 ml maple syrup depends on sweetness level you want
3 whole eggs
100g chopped 70% dark chocolate or dark choc chips
100g rough chopped macadamias, I like to keep in big chunks!

Instructions

1. Pre-heat your oven to 170C, fan forced or 180C/350F if not fan forced.

2. Line a tart tin or round cake pan of around 20cm diameter with baking paper or rub melted butter all over it and then dust that buttered tin with flour for a natural non stick technique.

3. Melt butter, either in saucepan on low for a few minutes, or in your thermo-cooker for 2 mins, high temp, speed 1.

4. If using a thermo-cooker, add all ingredients leaving eggs to last and except choc chips and macadamias, and blend on speed 5, 5 seconds, then reverse speed 5 another 5 seconds. Then pour choc chips and macadamia nuts in and stir by hand to combine at the end. You can also follow this method if using a food processor or blender, by adding melted butter first, then following the rest and simply blending on high, scraping down after five seconds, then blending again for another five seconds, mixing the choc chips and macadamia chunks in at the end by hand.

5. If mixing by hand, leave melted butter to the side in the pan for a minute.

6. Whisk eggs and syrup / sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

7. Add flours (sifted if they’re lumpy!), baking powder, desiccated coconut, cocoa powder and, finally, the melted butter, and mix by hand until lumps removed and a lovely, thick consistency.

8. Once your batter is ready, how ever you got to this point, pour and scrap into the baking tin, and pop in the oven.

9. Check the cake at 25mins. If it’s still a very wet skewer after 25 mins, bake another few minutes, otherwise pull it out – You want the edges a little bit bouncy to the touch but the middle a bit softer for your fudgy vibes.

10. You’re done. All that’s left now is to gather your favourite people around a table with a cup of tea, to share it together.

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