The smartest way to snack: Turn that naughty nibble into a healthy treat with these recipes
Snacking, as innocuous as it may seem, can be the downfall of the best-laid weight-loss plans. A biscuit here, a packet of crisps there, and soon the empty calories can add up. The problem is we all need a little something every now and again to keep us going between meals.
Or what about when you’re entertaining friends with drinks in the garden – should you really deny yourself those special nibbles that are so tempting?
The answer is no. With Weight Watchers Flex, no food is banned.
Here you’ll find a raft of recipes for deliciously tempting, even indulgent snacks and canapes, that are also healthy and nutritious. And thanks to the ultra-simple SmartPoints system, it’s easy to keep track of what you’re eating without blowing your daily ‘budget’.
Remember, if you stick to 23 daily SmartPoints, you will lose weight.
And, if you go over, don’t panic: you can dip into your weekly 28 SmartPoints allowance. All SmartPoints values listed here are per serving…
Pea & mint dip with melba toasts
- 2 brown sandwich thins, split in half
- Calorie-controlled cooking spray
- Handful fresh mint leaves
- 30g 0% fat natural Greek yoghurt
Should you really deny yourself those special nibbles that are so tempting? The answer is no. With Weight Watchers Flex, no food is banned
Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas mark 6. Use a rolling pin to flatten the sandwich thin halves. Cut into equal triangles, put on a large baking tray and mist all over with the cooking spray. Sprinkle over the za’atar and bake for 6-8 minutes until crisp. Meanwhile, blitz the peas, mint, quark and yoghurt in a processor or using a stick blender until you have a chunky dip. Serve with toast triangles.
Courgette & harissa mini muffins
- 75g 0% fat natural Greek yoghurt
- Handful of fresh dill, chopped
- Calorie-controlled cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas mark 6. Mix the flour, baking powder and parmesan together in a large bowl.
Melt the spread in a pan over a gentle heat, then leave to cool slightly.
Whisk together the yoghurt and egg in a jug, then add the melted spread.
Even naughty treats can be transformed into healthy snacks if you follow our recipe plans
Add the courgette, harissa and dill; season and mix well to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Mist a 12-hole mini muffin tin with cooking spray and divide the mixture between the holes. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Serve warm or cold.
Creamy prawn dip
In a bowl, whisk together 80g reduced-fat soured cream, 100g reduced-fat mayonnaise, 2 tbsp tomato ketchup, 1½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce to taste, and 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice. Stir in 100g cooked and peeled, chopped prawns and 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives. Season, then chill for 1 hour. Serve topped with 1 tbsp chopped gherkins and some extra chives.
Drain and rinse 400g tin kidney beans. Put in a large bowl and mash with a fork. Finely chop 200g avocado, 1 small red onion, 1 tbsp sliced jalapenos, and a handful of fresh coriander; add to the bowl and stir to combine. Deseed and chop 2 tomatoes and stir into the bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp each of ground cumin and coriander. Stir into the salsa, season and serve.
Broad bean & mint dip
Cook 300g frozen broad beans to pack instructions. Drain, pod, and refresh under cold water. Put 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 thinly sliced spring onions, 60g goats’ cheese, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1½ tbsp fresh mint leaves in a food processor and blitz to a coarse paste. Transfer to a serving bowl, season then chill for 1 hour. Serve topped with extra mint.
Spanish tapas platter
Tapas is a crowd-pleaser, but can be high in SmartPoints. We’ve kept the SmartPoints down in this healthier version, though – and your guests will never notice. Save time by making the tortilla, meatballs, carrots and aioli the day before and store in the fridge. Take the tortilla and carrots out 1 hour before serving. Reheat the meatballs gently in a pan with a splash of water. Serves 6.
Tapas is a crowd-pleaser, but can be high in SmartPoints. We’ve kept the SmartPoints down in this healthier version, though
For the tortilla
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
- 220g salad potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
For the pork meatballs
- ½ red onion, coarsely grated
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
For the marinated carrots
- 2 carrots, halved lengthways and thickly sliced
- ½ small garlic clove, crushed
For the aioli
- 60g 0% fat natural Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
- ½ small garlic clove, crushed
For the spinach and chickpeas
- ½ garlic clove, crushed
- 150g young leaf spinach
- 160g tinned chickpeas (drained and rinsed weight)
For chorizo and prawn sauté
- 100g chorizo, thin sliced
- 12 raw king prawns, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
And to serve…
- 120g roasted red peppers from jar (not in oil), cut into thick strips
- 6 x 40g slices crusty white bread
To make the tortilla, heat the oil in a 20cm nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and potatoes and toss to coat in the oil. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until tender.
Pour the eggs into the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until the edges are set. Put the pan under a preheated grill and cook for 3 minutes, so the tortilla is set and golden. Hold a plate over the pan and carefully invert the tortilla. Cover with foil and set aside. Wipe the pan clean.
For meatballs, put mince, onion and garlic in a bowl and season. Using wet hands, roll ½ tbsp of the mixture into a ball and repeat until all the mixture is used up. Heat half the oil (in the same pan used for the tortilla) over a medium-high heat. Cook half the meatballs for 2 minutes on each side, until just browned.
Repeat with remaining oil and meatballs. Put all the meatballs into the pan with the passata and chilli flakes, then bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, adding a splash of water if the sauce becomes too thick. Stir in the vinegar and season. Put into a serving bowl, cover with foil and set aside.
Save time by making the tortilla, meatballs, carrots and aioli the day before your guests arrive and store it in the fridge before presenting it with your fresh ingredients
Meanwhile, steam the carrots over a pan of simmering water for 5 minutes or until just tender. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic and spices in a small bowl. Add the carrots and stir to combine. Season and set aside to marinate.
To make the aioli, mix together the yoghurt, mayonnaise and garlic in a small serving bowl and season to taste.
For the spinach and chickpeas, put the olive oil and garlic in a large nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook, stirring, for a few seconds or until fragrant. Add the spinach and chickpeas, then cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season. Put the spinach and chickpeas in a serving bowl, wipe the pan clean.
In the same pan, heat the oil for the chorizo and prawn sauté over a medium-high heat. Cook the chorizo and prawns for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden and the prawns are cooked through.
Arrange all the dishes with the roasted red peppers, olives and crusty bread on a large platter, and serve.