It’s a warm, sunny day. You’re relaxing in the garden, or having fun at the beach. All of a sudden you hear that, all too familiar sound – the tune of the ice-cream van! For many of us, there’s nothing more tempting on a warm, sunny day than a helping of our favourite frozen treat. As BBQ’s and picnics become the centre of social gatherings, it’s difficult to stay away from the sweet treats and barbecued food. Of course, it’s fine to indulge in these once every now and again. However, when there’s a continuous spell of warm weather, and everyone’s having parties, BBQs and picnics, it’s good to have some healthy options to take along.
Many people say that food should never be the main focus of any gathering, and that we should just focus on enjoying everyone’s company, rather than what we’re eating. I don’t believe that this needs to be the case though. Food IS a social thing, and we’re supposed to enjoy it! There’s no point chomping on an apple that you have carried around all day in your bag, waiting for that dreaded moment when everyone else is buying an ice-cream, unless an apple is genuinely what you feel like ENJOYING! Feeling deprived isn’t fun, and sometimes you SHOULD just have that ice-cream. However, healthy doesn’t have to be bland, boring or anti-social, and thank goodness that message is starting to be spread a lot more! So, with the aim of ENJOYING the great outdoor activities that lie ahead this summer, here are a few ideas for healthier treats, which are perfect for all your parties and outdoor gatherings.
‘Raw Carrot, Apple & Cinnamon Muesli‘, by Primrose’s Kitchen. –
Muesli and granola type cereals have long been known for masquerading as the ‘healthy’ choice. However, there are ACTUAL healthy versions of these cereals available. I mentioned the granola from ‘The Paleo Foods Co.‘ in a previous blog post, and now I’ve discovered this great raw muesli from ‘Primrose’s Kitchen’. Don’t worry, you don’t see or taste any carrot, it just tastes like apple and cinnamon! However, there’s also a ‘Raw Beetroot & Ginger Muesli’ if apple and cinnamon just isn’t your cup of tea.
What you can do with it!
- You can use this to make some healthy snack bars, which are so easy to transport, making them ideal for picnics, or for snacking on long journeys. This muesli is already full of seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and linseeds, but you can also add in some dried fruits and nuts (there are already almonds in there). Also, be sure to use a pure maple syrup, such as ‘Buckwud‘, when creating your bars, as its natural sweetness is much healthier than the refined sugars in imitation syrups.
- The delicious, natural sweetness of this muesli, and its wonderfully nutritious ingredients, make it a great topping for yoghurt, fruit salad or even ice-cream! Try making up some layered yoghurt, fruit and muesli pots for picnics, or as a dessert for a BBQ.
- Another great addition that you can make to this muesli, are cocoa nibs!
‘Organic Cocoa Nibs‘ – By Naturya
Cocoa nibs are simply raw cocoa beans that have been roasted. That’s it! Nothing else is added, so they have a very intense, dark cocoa flavour, which is great for satisfying those chocolate cravings! They are full of Iron, Potassium, Magnesium and are extremely low in natural sugar – 1.0g per 100g (see details on Holland and Barrett website).
What you can do with it!
- Pop some in a small sandwich bag, and take them on a picnic for a sweet, chocolatey treat.
- Again, they are a fantastic topping for yoghurts, fruit and ice-creams. Put them out on the table as a topping choice for dessert at a BBQ. That way, you can still be social around the table.
- For those long Summer evenings, relaxing around the fire pit, try melting some cocoa nibs down with a little maple syrup (or other sweetener) and mixing it into hot milk for a great hot chocolate alternative…..allowing you to enjoy some toasted marshmallows, without over doing it on the sugar!
- These are also delicious if mixed into the ‘Primrose’s Kitchen’ muesli, when making snack bars.
Other great snacks to try!
These are already packaged, making them perfect for travelling, picnics or days out! Plus, not only are they super healthy, but they’re also delicious, so you WON’T feel like you’re missing out on any of the fun!
- The Protein Ball Co. – There are three different varieties of these available, each with a different type of protein; ‘vegan – Goji + coconut’, ‘whey – sweet and salty’ and ‘Paleo – coconut and macadamia’, these little snack packs are a nutritious and satisfying alternative to sweets.
- The Primal Pantry – ‘The Primal Bars’ from ‘The Primal Pantry’ are another great option for when you are out and about. There are a number of different delicious flavours, and they are all raw, vegan and cold-pressed. They’re packed full of fruit and nuts, with no added sugar or nasty preservatives.
- Bounce Energy Balls – There are 9 flavours available, in this range, at the minute. The newest addition, and my personal favourite, being ‘Lemon and Coconut’. They’re high in antioxidants and vitamin E, and are perfectly packaged for slipping into a handbag or picnic hamper. They do use Whey protein though, so aren’t suitable for vegans.
If you have been feeling a little apprehensive about the social events that this Summer will bring, then I hope that you have found this post helpful. There’s no need for you to miss out on these great occasions, and no need for you to put off hosting one yourself! With so many healthy options out there, it’s easier than ever to have a good mix of treats AND healthier alternatives on offer. It’s all about balance! So go ahead and enjoy an ice-cream or indulgent dessert, just make sure that the rest of your meal is healthy.
Let me know, in the comments, if you have any healthy favourites which you like to serve at Summer parties and picnics. Do you have any favourite recipes that you would like to share? Or a favourite Summer treat that you always leave room for? I’d love to know!
Until next time guys!