Gingergirl: Healthy snacks for active teens

Hello and welcome to all about food. This week is all about making the right choices…

Hello and welcome to all about food. This week is all about making the right choices…

Ask gingergirl

Hi Gingergirl,

I’ve tried lots of your recipes with great success so thank you! I have three young teenagers with very active sporting lives that take up much of their free time. They need snacks but don’t want to be munching on chocolate bars or sports powders. Could you please give me some guidelines for high calorie, nutritious snacks that are not laden with sugar.


Patricia, Murroe

Hello Patricia,

Firstly I must stress that I am not a dietician and that it is always best to consult with a professional on such matters. I do however have an interest in nutrition/exercise having read extensively about this topic prior to taking up running (on a much lesser level to your sons I might add!).

While we all need nutritious food every day to fuel our busy lives and to keep us healthy, it is even more important to make sure your food choices count nutritionally when in training for a race or event

One of the most common mistakes athletes make is to believe that they can eat anything they want. Nothing could be further from the truth. Active people can eat more calories than those who are more sedentary but that doesn’t mean they can eat and drink foods and beverages with little to no nutritional value without paying the price. In fact, many professionals say that their major breakthroughs happened when they started paying close attention to what (and when) they ate and drank.

High-carbohydrate and protein meals provide a balance of nutrients than improves energy levels and stamina throughout the day. A high-carbohydrate and protein meal is appropriate for helping the body recover after an exercise session.

Fruits are an excellent source of carbohydrates for a snack. Protein containing snacks include cheese, yogurt, nuts and seeds. High carbohydrate and protein snack examples include: trail mix made with dried fruits and nuts; whole grain crackers and low fat cheese; fruit and yogurt. The recipe below provides a good balance of nutrition and taste.

Energy bites

100g of pecans

75g of raisins

1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of agave syrup

50g of desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

Put the pecans in a food processor and blitz to crumbs. Add the raisins, peanut butter, flaxseeds, cocoa powder and agave syrup and pulse to combine.

Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized balls and roll in desiccated coconut to coat. Put the bites into the fridge to firm for twenty minutes. Enjoy whenever you need a quick energy boost.

Pre-exercise shake

Put 150ml of pomegranate juice and 125 ml of soya milk in a blender with two ice cubes. Blend until the ice has broken down. Add one banana, 30g of tofu and one teaspoon of honey. Blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with flaked almonds.

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Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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