I can pinpoint the exact moment when my well-being took a nosedive. I was sitting at the laptop four years ago, placing an online Tesco order. The World Cup was imminent and I was picturing my family sitting on the couch, watching football. So, I ordered a tube of Pringles in each flavour available, lots of soft drinks, lots of beer for my husband and ice-cream. There was so much ice-cream it’s unreal. Now, it’s four years later and I didn’t really get out of the habit of eating those snacks. There was always something else to celebrate, some other occasion where unhealthy snacks were required. It became normal. That’s why the start of the 2018 World Cup is a great time for me to break that habit. Here are some of the ways I’ll be incorporating healthy foods into my football binge.
Pizza – Pile Up The Veggies
So, you want a pizza when you’re watching football? No problem. This can be an excellent way to pile on the veggies to a plain cheese pizza and have a guilt-free snack. Personally, I’ll be adding chopped and sliced peppers (capsicums) to mine, lots of olives and cherry tomatoes. You could add red onion, basil leaves, mushrooms (which count as one of your 5-a-day, believe it or not) or if you’re feeling really virtuous, add some spinach but I’m not going to take it that far.
Roasted Spiced Chickpeas
This is apparently very popular in Asia and the Arab world. They roast chickpeas with carefully selected spices and serve them as an alternative to nuts. As someone who avoids nuts due to allergies, this is a great alternative. My own attempts to make them fell flat at first. I think I have now perfected the spice blend and the first time I attempted to make them I put them in the oven straight from the can, not realising you need to boil them up first. You can have them from a bowl, like nuts or you can serve them on toast with tomatoes. My own spice blend is 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. I mix this up with some olive oil and coat the chickpeas in this mix.
Muffin Tin Snacks
I’ll be honest. The thing I like best about “muffin tin snacks” is the fact that they are cutely presented in, believe it or not, muffin tins. So, each tin has six spaces. I usually make two tins of snacks and dips – one sweet and one savoury. The savoury one is a bit too healthy for so I’m not sure if I can categorise this as a lazy girl snack. In the sweet one, I’ll put a strawberry yogurt dip and a low-fat chocolate custard. In the remaining four spaces I’ll put halved strawberries, mandarin segments from a can, marshmallows (low in fat, but high in sugar), dates, biscuit sticks or broken biscuits. In the savoury one I’ll have a salsa dip (if you buy the Doritos one it counts as one of your 5-a-day) and some hummus which I don’t really like so my husband gets the lion’s share of that. In the remaining four spaces you can have carrot sticks, bread sticks, cucumber, sliced peppers, etc. I like to have some olives in there but beware, the brine can sometimes take the coating off the muffin tin. You can buy ready chopped vegetables for additional laziness.
I make my own strawberry ice-cream, packed full of fresh berries. All you do is buy a box of strawberries which is around 200g. Cut off the tops, wash them and then blend them to a puree. You can sieve out the seeds if you like. I do. Add a tablespoon of sugar or sweetener, a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, 200g of low fat creme fraiche, and 200g of fat free Greek yogurt. Chill it for half an hour, then stick it in the ice-cream maker for the next half hour. It’s ready. You get around 8 scoops from these quantities, which is apparently 4 servings, although not in my house.
But What About The Drinks?
I’m a non-drinker these days but back in the days when I used to drink, I made my own sangria, which was cheap, easy and delicious. Basically, it’s just a bottle of cheap red wine – any one will do – and a bottle of fizzy orange such as Fanta or Tango. Put them in a big punch bowl, then add some roughly sliced oranges, lemons and peaches. I used to make this for our family barbecues many moons ago and my wine-snob mother thought it was awesome. She had no idea it was so cheap and cheerful.
Who’s Going To Win The World Cup then?
I was kind of hoping that Spain would win. I’ll be in Spain when the final is played and what a party that would be if they won! Not sure it will happen, but I can live in hope. Other than then, I have Saudi Arabia and Tunisia in my family’s World Cup sweep, so I guess I won’t be winning the pot this year.
Will you be having healthy snacks while watching the football or will you just go for a sugar-fest?
Disclaimer: The ice-cream, chickpeas and muffin tins pics are my own creations and pictures were taken by me. All other pics are stock images.