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Baby in one hand, healthy snack in the other, by nutritionist Laura Uglow...

Food you can eat with one hand - very helpful for new parents!

It’s no surprise why new parents find themselves reaching for cakes and biscuits so much in the first few months: with the baby taking up permanent residence in one arm, that leaves only the other to make and reach for food. Combined with sleep deprivation and general shell-shock, it can be hard to get out of that cake-and-coffee slump.

But healthy, one-handed snacks can really save the day, especially if you are breastfeeding and need the extra calories. If you’re expecting a baby, my number one top tip is to make some of these before the baby arrives and store them away for when needed or, if baby’s already here, for partners to prepare them every couple of evenings so they’re in the fridge or cupboard ready to go, whatever the time.

All these post-natal snacks have the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats to give you the extra nutrients and energy throughout the day. They will also keep your blood sugar levels stable in between meals, and will also prevent you reaching for quick and easy sugary snacks.

1) Peanut butter protein balls

Ingredients: 1 cup sugar-free peanut (or almond) butter, 1 cup honey, 1 cup oats, 1 cup chopped, dried apricot, 1 cup sliced almonds, 1/8 tsp cinnamon.
Directions: Prep these in advance! In a medium-sized pot, on the lowest heat, warm up the honey and peanut butter until the texture is runny (you are not cooking it, just mixing until smooth). Mix in the apricots, nuts and oats and stir in well. For an extra protein hit add 1 large scoop (2 tbsp) of your favourite protein powder, and for a chocolate hit add 1 tbsp of 70% cocoa powder. Cool in the fridge for at least 45 mins and then roll into small bite-size balls (about 1 tbsp of mixture). These store well in the freezer.

2) Paprika almonds

Buy a bulk pack of almonds, cover in paprika and no-sugar soy sauce, and roast in the oven on a medium heat for 15-20 mins. Keep checking as they can burn very easily! If you prefer your almonds plain, simply spray with olive oil and add a sprinkle of sea salt.

3) Trail Mix

Mix together seeds, unsalted nuts, coconut flakes and dried fruit/berries (make sure there is no sugar added) in a jar, then eat a handful when you need a quick boost. 

4) Crudites with nut butter/hummous

Dip a cup of pre-chopped crudites (celery, cucumber, peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower or carrots) in ½ tbsp of sugar-free peanut butter or almond butter or 2 tablespoons of hummous or cottage cheese.

5) Fruit with nuts

Ingredients: Try pairing fruit such as an apple, a pear or watermelon with a small handful of Brazil nuts or almonds/cashews. It helps to chop up the fruit when you have two hands and store it in the fridge ready to go, and is much cheaper than buying pre-chopped fruit while out.

6) Dark chocolate nuts

If you need chocolate, try 70% cocoa dark chocolate, which gives you a boost without too much added sugar and other rubbish. I recommend to mothers doing my Mums Vitality transformation programme to have a couple of dark chocolate-covered Brazil nuts, or 5 chocolate almonds. If you have time, you can make your own, adding some orange zest and cinnamon for extra spice. 

7) Crackers with nut butter

1 rice cake or oatcake with 1 teaspoon of almond or peanut butter will keep you going till the next meal.

8) Banana oatmeal cookie

Ingredients: 2 medium ripe bananas, 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 scoop of rice or whey protein.
Directions: These are so easy to make and if you cook a batch in advance you can keep them in the freezer for when you need them. Mash your peeled bananas in a bowl with a fork. Add in the scoop of protein and keep mixing. If you find the mixture too thick, add a few drops of almond milk or water to make your dough the right consistency. Lastly, mix in the oats. Coat your cookie sheet with olive oil spray, and use a spoon to drop on your mixture. Press down to flatten and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

9) Protein hit

Protein fills you up and keeps your sugar levels. Try having chicken or turkey slices, a boiled egg (you can boil a few in advance for an easy one-handed snack), or – if you’re out and about -  a Bounce protein ball. I love the almond and peanut Bounce protein balls but they all taste pretty good – limit these to about four per week, though, as it is tempting to over-indulge.

10) Healthy granola bars

Ingredients: 1 cup oatmeal, 1 scoop of whey or rice protein, ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, ½ cup diced walnuts, ½ cup sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp coconut oil, 3 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp ground flax seeds, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, ¾ tsp ground cloves, ¾ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp sea salt, 1/3 cup raisins, 1/3 cup chopped dates, 2 tbsp honey (optional).
Directions: Preheat the oven to 150 C. Combine all ingredients together, mix well and place in a lightly greased 9×9 inch baking pan. Press down firmly and evenly to help them stick together. Bake for 20 minutes, or until firm and golden brown. Let cool for 2-3 hours or pop them in the fridge if you are keen to try one. Cut them into 2-inch square pieces for the perfect size snack.

:: Click here for more information about Laura Uglow’s Healthy Happy Mums 12-Week Transformation 


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