Healthy Snacks for Stressful Times

Soulful Recipes to Nourish your Body and Mind

“Your Body Is Your Temple.

Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in”. 

– B. K. S. Iyengar

 

 

Hi! I’m Liz.  In this Guest Post I take a deeper look at how high sugar snacks impact the brain and show you some easy, healthy homemade snacks

 

More than ever our body and mind asks us for a little extra care. It’s not only how and what we eat, it is also about our mindset and mental health.

 

Why do I Comfort-Eat?

Have you ever found yourself starring inside the fridge, looking for food, eating any convenient snack you can find?  I for myself can assure you that it happened to me many times before.

 

But what is it that leads us to “comfort-feeling-eating”?

 

Deep within we’re longing for something that fills us, that soothes the pain or calms the mind.

 

Especially in times when we find ourselves home alone, without social contacts, some of us lost their jobs … our longing for something that replaces the missing pieces is stronger than ever

 

The sweetness of being all by myself I feel empty – I fill it up with food 

 

I think we all know the scene from “Bridged Jones’ Diary”; Shattered and emotionally overwhelmed on the sofa, crying, hugging a jar of ice cream, singing the pain out loud to the most emotional songs. I guess that’s how most of us feel at some point these days or some may already have repeated this scene in perfection. And I totally feel you as some days I don’t feel different at all. 

 

But why not replace the sugar bomb with a healthy energy boost?

 

Our brain cries for a reward and the biggest reward for our brain is: Sugar. 

 

Instead of nurturing the body with nutritious food, we prefer comfort-food that is convenient, ready to eat and that makes us feel better for a little while. 

 

Unfortunately the most convenient comfort-foods are often those with the highest amount of sugar and not nutritious at all. It is also proven that sugar has high impacts on inflammatory reactions in the body; and this is what we don’t need at all. 

 

Dopamine  – Messenger of your nervous system 

There are days when we feel low and the routine of staying home challenges us. We need an extra boost of Dopamine and some creativity to keep the body and mind healthy and attuned.

 

Sugar has a high impact on the brain and leads to Dopamine production in the body. Dopamine functions as a hormone and neurotransmitter at the same time. As a neurotransmitter the nervous system uses it to communicate between the nerve cells.

 

It affects the brain at the reward system which is responsible for feelings, emotions and our behaviour towards pleasurable stimuli such as shopping, food, sex, alcohol, drugs, etc. 

 

When we activate the reward system it leads to distraction from unpleasant feelings and painful emotions.

 

Do you remember the last time you fell in love: you feel excited, more than alive and over enthusiastic. Your brain is in constant reward mode and this hormone cocktail prevents you from negative emotions, conflicts, etc.

 

Once its high level drops the feeling of being high above everything starts to disappear, you start to see your partner with different eyes and without the rose-colored glasses. The same happens when your child has too much sugar before bedtime. The nervous system is highly activated and ready to conquer the world.

 

 

When your Dopamine level is low you may feel:

  • Reduced ability to feel pleasure
  • Sugar and carbohydrate cravings
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Feeling bored, apathetic, depressed
  • Low drive and motivation
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Low libido

 

 

Foods naturally high in tyrosine an amino acid that is needed to produce Dopamine:

Apple Strawberries Blueberries Watermelon Raw, Dark Chocolate  Almonds Eggs  Beetroot  Chia Seeds Green vegetables  Dates  Banana Walnuts  Pineapple

Home-Made Recipes for Healthy Snacks & Treats

If you’re craving something sweet,  let’s get creative together with a whole bunch of delicious, nutritious foods!

Put on your favourite playlist, I can highly recommend Francie’s playlist or you can also tune into mine, put your hair up to a bun and let’s get ready 🙂

1. Peanut Butter Energy Balls 

 

1 cup crunchy peanut butter (unsweetened) 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats 2 tbsp shredded Coconut  1 tbsp Chia seeds 1 tbsp honey  1/4 cup dark chocolate chips  1 tsp vanilla extract 

 

  1. Mix all ingredients together. It should be a well mixed, sticky mass.
  2. Let it sit for at least 30 min in the fridge.
  3. Mix again and form little round balls. 
  4. Store them in the fridge in a closed jar or box. 

2. Chocolate Cashew Energy Balls 

 

Filling 8 pitted Medjool dates (or 16 small dates) 1 cup unsalted cashews  1/2 cup unsalted pistachios  1 tablespoon raw cacao powder or dark chocolate  1 teaspoon cinnamon 

 

Coating  1 tsp coconut oil  100g dark chocolate  1/2 cup crushed pistachios

 

  1. Mix all ingredients for the filling in a food processor. It is a very sticky mass that you might have to replace the mass from time to time in the food processor. 
  2. Mix until you have a mass with some crunchy nut pieces.
  3. Form into balls and place them at least 30 min in the fridge. (If the mass is too sticky you can place it in the fridge first and form the balls after) 

 

  1. For the filling, melt the chocolate and stir in the coconut oil.
  2. Dip the cold energy balls into the coating and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.

 

All energy balls are storable in the fridge for up to one week. 

 

3. Coconut Chia Pudding with Mango Purée 

 

2 tbsp Chia Seeds 2 tbsp Shredded Coconut  150 ml Coconut Milk  75 ml Almond Milk (you can replace it with any of your preferred type of milk)  1/2 – 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar ( or any other sweetener) 1 tsp Cinnamon  1 tsp Vanilla Extract 

 

1 ripe Mango

 

 

Chia Pudding

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Make sure the chia seeds doesn’t stick together or stick on the ground  Cover the bowl and place it for at least 2 hours in the fridge. (Best over night but not necessary)

 

For some extra sparkle you can add some matcha 😉

 

Mango Purée 

  1. Cut the Mango in half 
  2. Use the following trick to get out the flesh the easiest way 🙂 
  3. In a food processor mix the flesh until it is a smooth purée.
  4. Place the purée in the fridge 
  5. Before serving top the Chia Pudding with Mango Purée. Voila! 

 

Coconut Chia Pudding is storable in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. 

  1. Mix until you have a mass with some crunchy nut pieces.
  2. Form into balls and place them at least 30 min in the fridge. (If the mass is too sticky you can place it in the fridge first and form the balls after) 

 

  1. For the filling, melt the chocolate and stir in the coconut oil.
  2. Dip the cold energy balls into the coating and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.

 

All energy balls are storable in the fridge for up to one week. 

 

4. Sweet & Salty Quinoa

1 cup white Quinoa  1/2 cup Coconut Milk  1 1/2 cups Almond Milk (or any other)  1/2 – 1 Banana  4 chopped Dates  1 tsp Cinnamon  1/2 tsp Nutmeg  1 pinch of Salt 

 

  1. Rinse Quinoa with cold water. 
  2. In a pot mix all the ingredients and stir until simmer. Cut Banana in slices and add to the Quinoa/Milk mix.
  3. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir from time to time.
  4. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a little while.
  5. Place Quinoa in a bowl. 
  6. Serve either hot or cold.

 

Add any topping you like. I love Mango-Passion Fruit Purée on top.

 

 

5. Watermelon Pineapple Salad 

Watermelon  Pineapple  Fresh Peppermint 

 

  1. Cut watermelon and Pineapple in cubes.
  2. Chop Mint leaves.
  3. Mix in a bowl and enjoy 🙂

 

6. Ginger Turmeric Immune Boost

 

1-2 Organic Ginger Root  1 tsp ground or fresh Turmeric  4 Peppercorns  1-2 tsp Honey  1/2 – 1 Lime  1,5 liter Water 

 

  1. Cut Ginger in slices and place in a pot.
  2. Add Water, Peppercorns and Turmeric and cook for at least 15 min.
  3. Take the pot from the oven and add Lime and Honey.
  4. If it’s too spicy you can add water or a little bit more honey.

 

Pepper is used to activate Curcuma in Turmeric. 🙂 It has anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects. 

7. Beetroot-Apple Smoothie

 

1/2 Beetroot 1 Apple  1 Carrot 1-2 cups Coconut water or normal water  1 tbsp Lime Juice 

  1. Mix all ingredients in a mixer. 
  2. Enjoy! 🙂 

 

If you like it spicy you can add a little piece of fresh Ginger.   

re honey.

 

Pepper is used to activate Curcuma in Turmeric. 🙂 It has anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects. 

Hope you enjoy these delightful recipes!

Sending you so much love.

XOXO

 

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***What’s your favourite healthy recipe from this post?***

We LOVE Hearing from You.Let us know!

 

Liz Topkaya

Guest Blogger, @Liztopkaya

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