POPCORN

A great weight-loss cheat.  Simple, home-popped popcorn is low in calories (as snacks go) and it counts as a Sirtfood too.  It's also a good source of fibre.  So bonus points there.  There are about 150 calories in a litre of home-made stuff, so it's not insignificant, but it sure as hell beats a big bag of crisps.  So if you're anything like me and would have had the crisps anyway then this is a great swap.  I can't resist opening a bag of crisps or two with my gin on a Friday night.  Plus it's so easy to make - especially if you make sure to give it the 30 second pause.  I'll explain.

  • Handful of popping corn kernels (3 - 4 tbls) - enough to cover the bottom of your pan in one layer.
  • 1 tbls coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a good sized sauce pan that has a lid.  Make sure it melts.  

Throw in a couple of kernels and put on the lid.

When those two pop, throw in the rest to cover the bottom of the pan.  Then take the pan off the heat for 30 seconds.  This is the important bit.  It gives the kernels the time to get evenly heated so they all pop at the same time.

After 30 seconds, put the pan back on the heat - and make sure the lid's on.  Wait for it...  wait for it.  Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop...  Give the pan a shake and release the lid a bit to let the steam out and keep the popcorn dry.  It should all pop nearly at once.  Once the popping slows down you are done.  Don't bother with the stragglers.

Pour out the fluffy corn into a bowl and sprinkle with sale, and pepper if you fancy that.

KALE CHIPS

These don't pretend to be a proper snack so they're never going to stand in for a bag of crisps.  But as a way of getting some Sirtfood inside you on a daily basis they're great.  I tend to roast a tray of this stuff most nights now and Caron and I pick at it while one of us prepares supper.  Here goes:

  • Kale
  • Olive oil – extra virgin, if you’re eating Sirtfoods
  • Soy sauce

This couldn’t be simpler.  Heat your oven to about 150/160 C, 

Wash and dry your Kale – if it’s not organic - and tear it into mouth sized pieces.  Not to small, because it does shrink a bit.  Tear the big chunks of the stem away from the leafy bits too, these are too heafty to go crispy in the same time as the leaves, but you can munch them all the same.  They’re just like a cooked veg.  You might want to leave them to roast for a bit longer than the leaves: keep them together at one end of a roasting tray  (If you are using a bag of Kale from one of the posh supermarkets you won’t have any stems to worry about so just get on with the next bit).

Fill your roasting tray with kale leaves.  Just one layer deep.  No need to be too strict, just don’t pack it in; it needs some air to help it crisp up.  Pour over a drizzle of olive oil, and then - here’s the important bit  - rub the oil into the leaves with your fingers.  Get it good and coated so it all fries a little.  Finally drizzle over some drops of soy sauce and put it in the oven.

It’ll take about 15 minutes to go crispy, but don’t let it burn.  Pour it into a bowl and eat it with your fingers.

And there you go: the most good-for you way you can pretend you’re eating crisps but without actually eating crisps there is.  And as an alternative 'salt and vinegar' flavour, try using sea salt and balsamic instead of the soy sauce.

COCOA (OR CACAO) NIBS

Odd idea here to have a high calorie food, stuffed full of saturated fat, as a suggestion for a diet snack, but here it is.  There are two points to note, though. First off, cocoa nibs are a fantastic health-boosting Sirtfood, and if the Sirtfood story is to be believed then that counts for a lot.  Read about my experience on it here.  Second, you don’t eat very much.

  • a pinch or two of raw cocoa nibs

100g of raw nibs contain a ton of calories - around 600 or so.  But that's irrelevant.  Buy yourself a bag of raw cocoa nibs from a health food shop.  I store mine in an old jam jar.  Then just take a pinch or two with your square of chocolate to give it extra texture, or just enjoy them on their own.  They are bitter and crunchy, but taste of intensely dark chocolate with a bit of a nutty note.  I really like them.