Read the full video transcript below
Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I’m in the kitchen.
For those of you that have been watching for quite a while, you’ll know how much importance I put on having a really healthy diet. It is known that what you eat can affect the way you go through the menopause, the way you feel, and also the types of symptoms that you’re going to get. You’ll also know that I do focus quite a lot on snacks. A few weeks ago, I actually did a video blog on fat around the middle. For those of you who watched, you will have seen just how important those mid-meal snacks are. We’re really busy people and we don’t always have time to make really fancy things.
What I thought I’d do today is look at healthy snacks, ones that you can prepare yourself and take practically no time at all. But, I also want to tell you the benefits of these snacks as well so that you know what you’re actually eating.
What's the best snack you can get?
Let’s get started. One of the best snacks that you can get is a combination of nuts and seeds and dried fruits.
These are absolutely great. They’re little powerhouses of energy and nutrition. Just for instance, walnuts, they look like little brains. These are great for brain function. They contain omega-3. Walnuts are great for your hair and your skin. We’ve got Brazil nuts. These are great for general repair, they are really good for your hormones, and they’re great for your skin. These are your anti-aging nuts, if you like. We’ve got almonds. These are great. They’ve got loads of protein. They’ve got vitamin E which is great for your skin. And, they’re high in calcium and magnesium, so they’re going to be really good for your bones and your nails and your hair as well. We’ve got hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are full of fiber. These are really good for you if your bowels are a little bit sluggish. They’re also really good for your hair and your skin as well.
We’ve got pumpkin seeds. These are full of good oils that are going to help your joints, going to help brain function, and they’re also full of magnesium, calcium and zinc as well. Zinc is great for your nails and for your skin, too.
We’ve got dried fruit, just a little bit of dried fruit. Don’t have too much, because these are full of sugar. This is a great little handful. What you can do is you can put it in a tub. You can take it with you to work. You can carry it around in your handbag as well.
This, if you actually think about the calorie content, and I know a lot of you will be thinking 'oh nuts and seeds they’re really high in calories', there’ll be less calories in this little handful than there will in a jam doughnut or a couple of chocolate biscuits. You’re not actually getting good nutrition from those things, but these, they’re going to be full of just about everything you need to keep you going until your next meal.
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A savoury choice
If you fancy something a little bit more savoury, what I do sometimes is I will roast them. You just get a little baking tray. Have your oven reasonably hot. Sprinkle the nuts and the seeds on the tray. Put a little bit of coconut oil down to stop them sticking. What you can do is you can actually sprinkle some of the Kelpamare on top. This is like a soy sauce. It will actually give you a nice savoury taste. Roast them in the oven maybe for about 15 to 20 minutes until they’re dry and crispy. You can then cool them. These will keep in the fridge for a good number of days. Again, this is something if you fancy more of a savoury snack rather than something sweet.
What about vegetables?
We’ve got raw vegetables. We call them crudités. A nice little tub that, again, you can take to work or take out on the road with you. Chop things like your carrots. You can use cucumber. You can use celery. You can just use the little bit of hummus. It’s absolutely great, a fabulous snack, and the hummus has lovely oils and fats in the hummus that will keep your blood sugars really nice and level.
We’ve got nut butters. One of my favorites for a quick afternoon or morning snack is a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter. You can also use other nut butters such as almond butter or cashew nut butter as well. Again, you can just take them off the spoon. Don’t have too many. You can actually go a little bit overboard. Try and keep to a couple of teaspoons full.
If you’re going for things like peanut butter, make sure there’s no sugar in it. Go for an organic one, no sugar and low salt as well. You can also use these on oat cakes. These are great. Just spread a little bit. Put them together. Have a little bit of a peanut butter sandwich, if you like.
At this particular point, I wouldn’t recommend rice cakes purely because they are very high carbohydrate. They will break down very quickly, and they’ll give you a bit of a sugar hit, which is not what you want. Oat cakes are great because they release energy really, really slowly.
We’ve got eggs. This is a fabulous snack to take with you. It’s full of protein, will help to keep you going. I usually hard boil mine. You can either slice it up and put it in a little tub with some sliced tomato and a little bit of salt and pepper, or you can mash it up with a little bit of organic mayonnaise and just eat it off the spoon. That’s a great filler, especially if you’ve got a long time to wait before your next meal.
Having snacks at night before you go to bed, maybe an hour before you go to bed, is really important, especially if you’re not sleeping well and if you’re waking up in the middle of the night maybe with a little bit of palpitations. This is very often due to the fact that your blood sugar levels are so low that your body is waking up in a panic.
My most favorite indulgent snack is some full fat Greek yoghurt and some cocoa powder. I know some of you will go ‘oh full fat we don’t want full fat‘. You need the full fat to help keep your blood sugars level for as long as possible. Cocoa powder, now this is not drinking chocolate. There’s no sugar in the cocoa powder. You can use this, or you can actually use pure cacao powder. There’s only about 25 calories in a teaspoon, so this is a great indulgent snack.
All you need for this, I will show you, I’ll be really tempted to eat this afterwards as well, is maybe just…that’s all you need, just a couple of spoons of the yoghurt and a heaped teaspoon of the cocoa powder. Stir it really slowly, purely because if you do it quickly the cocoa powder will go all over the place. You just stir it really slowly. This is making me hungry already. This will taste like super duper chocolate mousse. It’s great, too, if you’re getting the sweet munchies at night, maybe if you’re watching the TV or reading and you just feel like a little bit of chocolaty something. The great thing, too, about cocoa powder, it’s full of magnesium. That will actually help you to sleep, too.
2 dessert spoons full fat Greek yoghurt
1 heaped teaspoon cocoa or cacao powder
How to make:
1. Add Greek yoghurt and cocoa/cacao to bowl.
2. Stir slowly.
3. Ready to serve.
Little energy balls
What I thought I would do as well is show you one of the little recipes that I follow. I make these quite often. They’re great to carry with you. They’re great for that mid-afternoon slump. These are little energy balls. I love taking them with me. I like to do hiking up in the Scottish Highlands. Sometimes, we have to wait quite a while before we can find somewhere for a nice picnic. These are great just for snacking on until we actually get something to eat.
Here’s the recipe for these. You want 250 grams of dates in just a tiny little bit of water. Heat them through until they’re nice and soft and then drain them, which I have already done. We’ve also got 90 grams of your pecan nuts. We have got 100 grams of almonds. Remember, all that calcium and magnesium. We’ve got two handfuls of sunflower seeds. This is all the lovely oils. We’ve got chia seeds, two tablespoons of chia seeds, which are a super food. They’ve got so many good things in them. And, a little bit, a teaspoon of cinnamon. You can use any spice. You can use mixed spice. I sometimes make them with ginger. I love ginger. I would tend to use them with ginger. We’ve got a little bit, a teaspoon, of vanilla essence.
What you’re actually wanting to do with these is to grind them into a sort of flour consistency, something like that. You can have them a little bit crunchier if you would like. Then, what we do is just add the dates in. You’re aiming to get this to a paste, an ordinary paste. Nearly there. What to do, just switch the machine off, and then all you need to do is just take a teaspoon, a big tablespoon, and just make them into little balls, like maybe just a little bit more. What you can do if you want to make them extra special, you can roll them in dessicated coconut. You could roll them in extra spice. Or, you could roll them in cocoa powder as well. We’re aiming to get little balls about this size, maybe slightly smaller. It just depends on how hungry you are and how much you like them. There we go. Once you’ve got them ready, all you need to do is pop them in an airtight container and chill them in the fridge, and then they will be ready for you for a number of days.
Cinnamon and Chia Seed Energy Balls
250g pitted Medjool dates
4 – 6 tblsp of water
2 handfuls of sunflower seeds
2 tblsp of chia seeds
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla extract
How to make:
1. Simmer dates in a saucepan with water on a low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Whizz all other ingredients, in a food processor for a couple of seconds, until they’ve almost formed a flour-like consistency.
3. Drain and add dates to the food processor – making sure no water from the saucepan goes in.
4. Blend until a sticky paste is formed.
5. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the mixture, and roll into balls with your hands.
6. Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.
Don’t go overboard with these. They are, as I say, little energy balls. They’re powerhouses of nutrition. One or two would be more than enough to actually see you through the break until your next meal.
Do you have any fabulous, easy recipes?
I hope this has given you a little bit of an idea of the easy-peasy way that you can actually use snacks during the menopause, how you can add them to your diet without really too much fuss at all. Now, if any of you out there have got your own fabulous easy recipes, we would love to hear them. Until then, I will look forward to seeing you next week for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.