For some time now, we have been following Beatriz Moliz. Her instagram account is all about healthy plant-based eating and it makes our mouths water. Her website is constantly inspiring us to create delicious healthy dishes that are also kind to the planet and all its inhabitants.

But that’s not all she does, Beatriz is also the co-founder of  The Green Fuel Academy, where she gives online workshops on healthy plant-based food.

Therefore, it is not surprising that we have been wanting to introduce her to you, for her to tell you about stuff we are sure you are going to love: like how to prepare healthy zero waste snacks that are easy to make and simply delicious.

We are sure that this interview will give you thousands of ideas about how to improve your diet, and that of your family, in a way that is simple and good value for money.

Here, we leave you with Beatriz.

Hi Beatriz, thank you for giving up your time to do this interview. From our blog, and also from raising awareness about plastic we too talk to people about health because we feel that both topics are related: What key features would you say a healthy snack needs to have?

I believe that healthy snacks need the same essential components of any healthy food. I have some healthy eating tips that I usually give in my workshops for people to keep in mind when making food choices.

The first one is, and it even applies to snacks, that the foundation of any good dish should be fruit and vegetables. Or for example, if you don’t feel like having vegetables, it could be dried fruit and nuts.

It should also be made up of real food, not the packaged stuff. The other day I was chatting about the subject of Nutriscore (a type of nutritional traffic light labelling system that is going to be introduced for ultra-processed foods), and there were people saying: “well, but it’s a little confusing”. Do you know what is not confusing? The food that doesn’t come in any packaging at all. Those foods don’t need to be labelled with nutritional information. So, even if you are going to make up a recipe, make sure the ingredients you use are real.

Then, make sure that it contains the proportion of fat that any meal would have, even for snacks, but that the fat comes from a quality source: such as olive oil, nuts, avocado and/or first cold pressed oils. I say olive oil as it’s local and it’s healthy, however sometimes I use coconut oil, because it is more sustainable.

Try to get it out of your head that snacks have to contain trans refined fats to hit the spot…. But anyway, if we remove packaged options, that will do the trick. Also avoid processed and sweetened foods.

If we apply these recommendations to our snacks, meaning you choose dried fruit and nuts, fresh fruit, you drink water and on a special ocassion you may combine all of these options.

You grab some rolled oats, a banana and some nuts or dried fruit and you make biscuits. You don’t need to mix in any sugar because the ripe banana has natural sugars and is a good sweetener. You also have carbohydrates, fats and protein, it is delicious, satisfying and that’s it, there is no need to complicate your life. Then you just buy yourself a few wax food wraps and you can take your biscuits with you wherever you go.

OAT AND BANANA BISCUITS

 2 ripe bananas
1 cup of rolled oats
Your choice of nuts and dried fruit

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. In a large bowl, first mash the bananas and then add the other ingredients. Mix to combine.
2. Use a spoon to scoop up biscuit sized balls of the mixture. Dampen you hands and roll the ball in your hands, then press it down slightly to make it a biscuit shape.
3. Arrange the biscuits on a lined oven tray and bake for 15 minutes until they are golden.
4. Leave to cool on a rack before eating.

The most common solution we see for snacking, especially when it comes to the kids, is the option of a bread roll: Could you share with us a recipe for a plant-based bread roll that is simple but also foolproof and will appeal to the littlest people as well as grown-ups?

If you feel motivated to get cooking, I have a recipe for gluten-free bread rolls that use up the leftover nut pulp from making plant-based drinks with your nut milk bag. They only take 20 minutes.

You simply slice them open, add a little oil, avocado and tomato. You already have the protein left behind in the almonds, the are really yummy and they last all day. You can also have them for breakfast.

If you don’t have time to make bread, because life gets in the way, there is also some great bread out there. The old traditional bakery is still on nearly every corner or the new ones that have popped up also has good bread. Head over with your bread bag, buy some good bread, freeze it and avoid having to buy sliced loaves of processed bread from the supermarket. How is it that after 2 months it is still the same colour? It sure has got me wondering about what might be in it

Another trick is to sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top. Nutritional yeast is made from beetroot and tastes somewhat like cheese. It comes in flakes and is often used as a vegan alternative in recipes that call for cheese. However you can also chuck it in a salad or into soups… So you can also put it in your bread roll or on top of your avocado toast.

BREAD ROLLS MADE FROM LEFTOVER ALMOND PULP

1 1/4 cups of almond pulp
1/4 cup of rice or coconut flour
1/4 cup of psyllium husks
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of rosemary
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of apple vinegar
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 cup of warm plant-based soy milk
2 teaspoons of sesame seeds (optional)

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, apart from the psyllium husks. Heat up the plant-based milk and add the psyllium husks, vinegar and the EVOO and mix together with a spoon until it forms a jelly like mixture.
2. Now add the jelly mixture to the rest of the ingredients, mix well and leave to rest for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180ºC.
3. After 10 minutes have past roll, the mixture into similar sized balls and put them on an oven tray. Wash the top of each bread roll with a mix of EVOO and the plant-based milk alternative. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
TIP: leave space between each bread roll to ensure they don’t stick together.
4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, if you notice they are starting to brown too much, reduce the heat of the oven a little. When they are baked, leave them to cool before eating.

What if we feel like something sweet? Or something a little special for our kids?

If you want something sweeter you can always make “nutella” from chickpeas (it looks like a mess but it comes together in the end). Cooked chickpeas with pure cocoa, you can add a couple of dates, you blend it all together and you have a protein rich healthier “nutella” with less fat content than the regular kind.

Another easy to make snack is banana bread. Although don’t forget that no matter how healthy it is, it is still sweet. However, if it is enjoyed just every now and then, it is not going to kill anyone. It’s a good idea to cook it for special occasions rather than on a regular basis. We try to make our banana bread, both gluten-free and with gluten, using wholemeal flours whilst also making the most of ripe bananas to sweeten it. We try to avoid refined sugars, using banana or dates instead, and also don’t want to go overboard with syrups or sugar free plant-based milks.

Banana bread is also easy to wrap up and take with you and this way we can keep everyone happy, both children and adults.

CHICKPEA "NUTELLA"

1 cup of cooked chickpeas
4 tablespoonfuls of pure cocoa
1 teaspoon of EVOO
2-3 dates for sweetness
2-3 tablespoons of plant-based milk
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)

1. Put all the ingredients into a food processor. Mix until it forms a creamy paste. If it is too thick add a little more plant-based milk to thin it out.

One of the most common temptations people who are trying to avoid using plastic come across is buying savoury snacks, such as a bag of potato crisps or chips (depending on where you are from) : Is there a plastic-free snack that will satisfy the desire for something salty and crunchy, that we can make ourselves and take with us easily?

I truly believe that everything can be made at home, including potato crisps.

You can make potato crisps from beetroot, sweet potato, courgette, even kale….all you need is an oven, a mandolin to finely slice, turn the oven on hot (200ºC) and add oil and salt until they turn into veggie crisps. When it comes to kale (curly cabbage) you wash it well and be sure to dry it so it doesn’t go all chewy. The advanced option is to use a dehydrator, if you have one at home you can make all type of chips: apple, banana, ,mango, pear, even melon… It couldn’t be easier.

POTATO CRISPS

7 potatoes
1 tablespoon of EVOO
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of spices to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200-220ºC.
2. Peel the potatoes and slice them finely with the help of a mandolin. Put them in a bowl and add the EVOO, salt and your spice mix. Combine.
3. Place them on a tray with space between them and bake for 10-15 minutes, until they are golden and crunchy.
4. Leave them to cool before eating.

Still only a few people know that plastic contains toxic chemicals that are transferred onto the food they come in contact with, and that the plastic environmental pollution means that microplastics are already present in our pantries: in honey, salt, beer… In this blog post we spoke about the theory, we reviewed the research and interviews with experts but now is the moment of truth, the decisions are made in each individual’s kitchen: How can we cook and store our food effectively whilst avoiding exposure to plastic contamination?

To start with, by using glass containers that don’t release toxic chemicals.

I had plastic tupperware and food containers, but now I only have a few left because as they have slowly worn out and broken I have made the switch to glass. So, I mean that all food that has to be stored (prepared meals and/or batch cooking) I put in Weck glass containers, that work brilliantly for me.

I also try to keep the fridge free of plastic. If I buy something in a glass jar and then later I grind up some seeds, I reuse the glass jar to store them. I use Weck jars for airtight storage and reuse regular jars when I don’t need the seal to be airtight.

Everything that comes fresh (cauliflower, leafy greens…) I wrap in a damp cloth and pop in the fridge.

Nowadays, I also use plastic-free kitchen utensils (piping bags, stirring spoons…). There are many alternatives, you just has to shift your mindset a little, start the process and the moment will arrive when you notice the plastic has disappeared from your kitchen.

But don’t get obsessed over it, I see some people running down the street to throw aware their trusty plastic tupperware set immediately.

On your blog and on instagram you have heaps of recipes. If you had to choose the one that makes you think: “If only everyone knew they could cook this at home”. The recipe that is easy, offers good value for money and is delicious: Which one would you recommend people try?

I don’t know why more people don’t cook lentils at home. 60% of my office have made my mother’s lentils and have learned to make lentils at home. There is nothing cheaper or easier. Absolutely nothing. And lentils is a local dish, that is perfect for surviving a winter’s day.

I would also recommend trying to make plant-based milks. I did the calculation and one litre of oat milk costs me less than 20 cents. If you buy it, not only does it come in a tetrapack, it costs more than 20 cents. I have a free ebook available on my website about plant-based milks, in which I have the soaking times of each nut, seed or plant and instructions… it is super easy. So, I will go with the plant-based milks: they are easy, cheap and sustainable and they don’t have no additives.

Thank you very much Beatriz. We had a great time learning lots of new skills with you.

P:S. And you, did you like the interview? Did it give you some new ideas to incorporate into your afternoon teas? Tell us all about it in the comments below.