Buttered Bandits is a series of guest potsts by Klara Mudge of Both Sides Buttered for Breakfast Criminals.
Klara is an NYC-based, London-educated functional medicine nutritionist and yoga instructor from Namibia who I met at a Strala Yoga teacher training. She knows about the science of nutrition and health more than 99% of the population, yet her message is fun (can you believe it?!), actionable, and digestible (in every way possible).
We’ve already looked at the 3 Reasons Why Breakfast Makes You A Better Person, now let’s move on to the next controversial topic: snacking. [Passing on the mic to miss Klara!]
*(Spoiler alert: this post will not tell you what to eat or how to live.)
Klara of Both Sides Buttered and Ksenia of Breakfast Criminals, wearing Lulitonix T-Shirts
People regularly ask me about snacking. We have open and courteous conversations about The Snack, like it’s some sensitive political dispute or a trending sex thing.
“Are you a snacker?” I get asked in earnest. “What time of day? Alone or with others? How much and what?”
Thus, allow me to use Breakfast Criminals and our Buttered Bandits series as a platform to officially come out about my Snack Status, my nibble preference, my personal tuck of choice. And to professionally (ish) advise you about your options.
If you know me for longer than a minute you’re aware that I don’t count calories. I’d rather count the individual hairs of my unkempt brow. Or a colony of ants in a sugar bowl…twice.
Not all calories are created equal anymore, and some naturally high-calorie foods are super healthful and helpful at burning fat (I’m looking at you, Almond).
So these days all I have for a low calorie diet bar is the finger between my index and ring. “Not today, faux food. Special K my special A.”
I’ve spoken about the benefits of the right snack. I preach about blood-sugar-balance like there’s no manaña. Hangry is real. So is adult-onset diabetes and the colourful array of less-than preferable conditions along the way.
I judge snacks first by their proportion of protein, fat, and micro-nutrients, and second by the proximity of that snack to its original source. So the flesh and juice of a coconut that falls at your sand-kissed tootsies on a tropical beach is an example of THE holy grail–good fats, protein, alkalising elements and glorious minerals.
At the other end of the spectrum is the aluminium-wrapped 10-ingredient, factory made, truck-transported ‘health’ bar from your local “convenience” store.
You get the vibe. We’re not stupid all the way, us consumers. We’re getting smarter.
The ‘health goodies’ game is thriving and on-point in this modern day. I’m chewing on Cumin & Chard crisps from L.A’s Moon Juice as I type. But as with every ‘rule’ in life, where there is a green light, there are the poor sods that will push the limits of their self-imposed restrictions beyond breaking point.
Like that time I became a vegetarian and ate ‘wholegrain’ pasta with puttanesca sauce every night for two months until my reflection in the window of London’s M&S represented that of a ball-faced snowman in a Vans Beanie.
Sometimes we’re just not ready to be real with ourselves.
Living without rules takes practice and flexibility (hence all the yoga).
Now we eat mostly real food–edibles that once not too long ago, grew in the earth.
We eat for elated pleasure and sustained health.
And equally important, we find fulfillment in a bunch of stuff beyond what’s for dinner (e.g. regular enjoyable movement, meditation, meaningful service to our community and BS-free connections with the people around us).
Nothing is a big deal and snacking is no exception.
A mid-morning snack event occurs if breakfast was too early or too low in protein, and The Afternoon Snack takes place if we’re doing a yoga class at 7pm and won’t eat again until way late. Logic FTW.
Here are the 3 main tried and tested and tried again tips for smart snacking, from one loop-hole A-hole to another:
A. Don’t be lazy
If you oversleep, skip breakfast, chug a litre of coffee or matcha to wake your brain up and then grab the jam sandwich to-go at 2pm because “it’s all there was and I was STARVING!” then, I have a total of ZERO sympathies for you.
Chop two minutes off your pre-sleep cuddles with Instagram and pack your washed grapes and nut mix in a jar ready to take to work tomorrow.
Also soak your overnight oats or chia pudding.That simple.
B. Make your meals matter
Here’s a candid fact: If you have a hearty breakfast full of good proteins, fats and antioxidants you will not want to eat any crap at all until at least lunch time. Same goes for lunch- if you get a massive green leafy salad piled high with unrefined carbs (sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, farro), good proteins (chickpeas, fish, steak, lentils, goat’s cheese, nuts) and healthy fats (avocado, olives, flaxseed oil, toasted coconut), then you’re setting yourself up for a productive afternoon filled with all the concentration and none of the munchies.
C. Fruit is not your get out of jail free card
Well done you bought a banana instead of a chocolate bar, here’s a medal. Now give it back because you’re still spiking your blood sugar if you don’t combine that baby with some legit protein. Have your monkey fruit with a spoon side of straight-out- the-jar nut butter. Or blend it in a smoothie with almond butter, ice and fibrous fresh berries. Medal be yours!
And because we love you like guacamole, here are 7 tongue-and-tush loving snacks we’re deep into these daaaayz:
1. Chia seed pudding
Mix a ¼ cup of these power seeds with ½ a cup of your liquid of choice – we recommend almond or coconut milk. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and vanilla, stir and let it sit for a few hours until desired pudding consistency is reached.
Then crunch away knowing that you are feeding your heart & brain & skin their favorite nutrient: omega-3s. Be smug. Be very very smug.
Forget NOT the afternoon smoothie! Grown-ups can have milkshakes whenever they want. In fact they should. As long as they put protein (almond butter, nut milk, clean protein powder) and antioxidant-plants (berries, greens) in it.
3. Fresh berries and a few activated almonds.
If you want the most beautiful skin in all of the land as well as a strong heart with an extended expiration date, this snack was made for you.
4. Homemade health bars
Keep your knickers untied, this is dead easy or it wouldn’t have made the cut. Mix the following in a big bowl:
- 2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free)
- 2 cups mashed ripe banana,
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- sprinkle of sea salt
- teaspoon of cinnamon
- palm full of dried cherries
- splatter of chopped walnuts and some of your favorite seeds (shelled pumpkim seeds, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, hemp seeds).
Add a tiny splash of water or more banana if you must. Then squash it all into a baking tray to refrigerate for a few hours before you serve.
5. Hard boiled eggs with hot sauce!
6. Chili spiced popcorn (home popped, and not microwaved) with a glass of homemade nut milk.
7. Protein cacao truffles
And then last but so far from least: Breakfast Criminals’ very own raw cacao protein truffles.
Ingredients (mix and match – you can try different nuts and nut/seed butters):
- 20 pitted dates
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
- 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 2 scoops plant-based protein powder
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- Optional: 2 tsp of each: mesquite, lucuma, maca, baobab
- Dipping – pick and choose! Try 2 tablespoons of one of all: , coconut shreds, toasted buckwheat, goji berries, raw cacao nibs.
- Soak dates, hazelnuts, and macadamias in water for at least 30 minutes to soften. Remove all ingredients from water and add to your blender.
- Add a few tablespoons of water to make the blending process easier.
- Once the mixture turns into a paste, shape it into small balls and dip them in coconut, raw cacao nibs, and goji berries.
- Set on a plate, and leave in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
- Your raw cacao truffles are ready! Store in a tight lid container in the freezer (a few weeks) or fridge (up to a week).