Sunday, 18 August 2013

Savoury snack inspiration

With all this talk I've been doing over at The Cook's Sponge about eating less sugar, I've been thinking for a long time that we need to put together a list of savoury snack options. It's great to find some sweet alternatives to sugar, but really, it would be good if we ate a little less sweet sometimes. I've always thought that the key to eating less unhealthy food is to find some appealing healthy options.

So, with a huge amount of help from Hannah and Ngaire, and a nod to Lara, Raewyn, Amanda, Rochelle and Nick, I have compiled a list. Most of these contributors are mothers, and I suspect their expertise comes from feeding their young children, but this list is intended to inspire healthy grown up eating as well (even if it doesn't all appeal). If you have any further ideas, mention them in the comments and I will incorporate them in to the list.

A few further points:
- Obviously fruit is a great option, as long as you're not eating bucketloads of it every day, it's just that we're looking for savoury snacks here. Though a few useful fruit ideas do sneak in at the end of the list.
- If you are looking here for snacks to give other people's children, remember to check for allergies first.
- Grown ups partial to a late night snack, remember crackers/cheese/chutney/pate can be very grown up, and the options are endless, so treat yourself to your favourites. If you're in NZ, I can't recommend more highly 180 Degree crackers as a starting point, they are fantastic.
- The sole aim here has been to find fructose-free snacks. You may feel some items are less healthy than others, but getting less fructose in your diet is a great start when it comes to your health.
- Making things look a little different can really help small children to eat. Baby carrots may be a nice change from ordinary carrot sticks, and I find cutting cheese in to sticks or grating it can be more successful than a normal slice.
- It's a long list. I think I'll look at it each week before I go to the supermarket and decide to try a couple of different things each week as a good place to start.

rice crackers
corn crackers
soda crackers
bagel chips
lavosh crackers
little sammies
pita bread
tortilla bread
cheese toast sticks with marmite (or tomato sauce) baked in the oven
herbed labna* (yoghurt cheese) on crackers
vege sticks
meat sticks
puffed pastry pinwheels
mini quiches
mini pizzas
cheese muffins
cheese scones
tortillas cut in to circles and done in a muffin pan
hard boiled eggs
baked beans
pasta pieces for little ones to nibble on
anything chopped and put on a toothpick for little ones!
use cucumber instead of a cracker and add toppings
seeds and nuts toasted with balsamic vinegar
chickpeas roasted with herbs
celeriac or kale or kumara chips*
frozen mint peas
frozen berries
fruit smoothies using coconut cream
frozen berries thinned with coconut milk (or without, for a sorbet)
smoothies using bananas, frozen berries and milk
natural yoghurt with frozen berries

Dips and spreads for crackers and vege sticks and sandwiches (as appropriate):
cream cheese
cheese sauce
nut spreads
pureed peas

*Kumara chips - use a mandolin for slicing kumara thinly, soak for 10 minutes in cold water and pat dry, bake on baking paper and add sea salt.
Thanks Ngaire

*Annabel Langbein's Labna - 2 cups thick unsweetened yoghurt, 1/4 cup chopped herbs, 1 spring onion (optional), finely grated rind 1/2 lemon,  salt and pepper. Line sieve with clean muslin or a new dishcloth and place over a bowl. Mix all ingredients and season. Pour into sieve and chill for 24 hours. Discard liquid collected in the bowl. Store in fridge.
Thanks Hannah

So. What have we missed?!

Post Script: Ideas in the comments below have been incorporated in to the list above. 
See comments from 'not a wild hera' and Nadine for further hummus ideas and links to breakfast cookies and salmon cakes.


  1. Great list! What about rice paper rolls or sushi (with or without rice) filled with avocado, omelette, carrot and cucumber sticks, herbs, sprouts etc. Bread pinwheels can also be made using these fillings.

    Just a note on the labna recipe - the liquid by-product from straining yoghurt is whey, which contains many important minerals and is high in protein. It is great in pancakes, adding to smoothies etc.

  2. Excellent - glad you've compiled this after a few different threads in different places :)

    A note on hummus: we (tend to, when we have a house to live in!) make our own and you can chuck all sorts of stuff in. Great to make it using different canned or soaked beans: chickpeas, butterbeans, cannellini beans etc, and with cooked veges too - kumara, pumpkin, potato, beetroot.

    A can of beetroot and a can of butterbeans (both drained!) plus tahini, cumin, lemon juice and garlic: what a winner!

    Corn crackers are our go-to, particularly for chucking in a box and keeping in the baby bag or car. Popular with all kids we visit, too.

  3. I'm also experimenting with versions of these breakfast cookies for a portable, healthy, substantial snack. Great for middle of the night breastfeeding cravings, good for carting around in the bag all day, great for actual breakfast if the usual options aren't going down well.

    Best version so far was blueberry and oat based

  4. And just to add to your spreads/dips list:

    Don't forget the humble vegemite/marmite, which is eternally popular in our house, on all sorts of odd things.

    Also avocado (great with chutney - but popular with vegemite with the younger set)

    Also baked beans. I often have a small pottle in the fridge for quick snacks.

  5. ha! just been reading the thread on your facebook and got lots of ideas. this is even better :)

  6. I had another idea - if you felt like it you could arrange these snack ideas by allergen/dietary restriction. It would be a great resource for when different people visit etc, just look up gluten-free or dairy-free snacks and see a bunch of ideas...

  7. Wonderful. Also, anything on a stick. Food on a stick takes on a whole new life of its own.
    I just found this neat site too. These look yum. Can probably freeze and whip out a few for afternoon tea.
    Use cucumber instead of a cracker and put salami or tomato or anything on top.