The FIFA World Cup in Russia is getting ever close and as the anticipation for the tournament reaches fever pitch, here at Champneys we take a look at some of healthy snacks from around the world that you can enjoy whilst watching all the games.
We’ve asked the experts who compile the nutrition element of our fitness boot camps at Champneys to gather together the best healthy snacks inspired by each nation playing at the World Cup.
Taameyya is an Egyptian falafel and is known as the original falafel due to many people’s beliefs that it originated in Egypt, dating back as far as the pharaohs some 1,000 years ago.
As you’ll be aware this snack has become hugely popular and the main difference between Taameyya and the rest of the world’s falafel is the legume that is used. Most recipes of the world call for dried chickpeas to be used, but in Egypt they favour the humble fava bean.
Noha, a foodie who blogs shares her views on cuisine through her Matters of the Belly blog, says, “I might be biased (hell, I most definitely AM), but I personally believe that dried split fava beans result in MUCH fluffier, crispier, moister and generally BETTER falafel.”
The Russian Beet Salad is a dish recommended by Food Perestroika as it is easy to make, healthy and very tasty. Beetroot has a long association with Eastern European cuisine and is a great meal to try during the World Cup.
Food Network host, James Briscione revealed his favourite pairings for this particular salad in a recent interview.
“While there are some traditional parings like tomato, cucumber and basil, the connection between beets, prunes and pickles was particularly unexpected. Together the balance of sweet, tart and earthy makes each bite more interesting than the last.”
Saudi Arabia is known for offering some great street food and if you’d like to try a delicious dish to try you should eat the mouth-watering Mutabaq.
It is now one of the most popular appetisers in the Kingdom and the stuffed pancake can be found throughout the country.
The snack is made from thin pastry layers that are wrapped and folded around a mixture of mincemeat, eggs, parsley, tomatoes, onions and jalapeno pepper.
In Uruguay, Torta Frita, which is a puffy fried bread, is what many Uruguayans traditionally make when it’s raining, but if you’ve ever been to the country you will know that this snack is a popular street food amongst locals.
Torta Frita is generally served alongside yerba mate, the earthy tea drunk everywhere in the country, and it is generally considered that the snack is even more delicious when served with dulce de leche spread or mermelada (a strawberry preserve) or traditional English orange marmalade.
The snack is easy to make and if you make a number of Torta Frita’s you can invite your friends around to watch the game and enjoy the food.
Iran’s cuisine has been influenced by a number of different cultures over the years and this is reflected in its food, making it a great destination for foodies.
A healthy snack you should try is the aubergine and tomato stew Bademjan. The stew is a Persian classic and is always served with rice and Persian bread called Lavash, but it can be served with pitta bread or crackers.
There are actually two different versions of this stew that you could try and these include Ghoore Bademjan, a sour grape aubergine stew, and Gheymeh Bademjan, split peas and aubergine stew. Ghoore Bademjan is made with fresh sour grapes or verjuice and has a thinner and aromatic broth, while the Gheymeh Bademjan is the other variation made by the addition of fried aubergine to khoresh Gheimeh.
Nargisse Benkkabou shares her passion about food from her native country via her My Moroccan Food blog and she recommends football fans try Amlou during Morocco’s matches.
The popular blogger, who has written the book Casablanca: My Moroccan Food published by Mitchell Beazley, adds, “Amlou is a brown paste obtained by grinding roasted almonds mixed with honey and argan oil. This delicious paste is a specialty from the Souss region in the South of Morocco and is usually used as a healthy dip or spread since its key ingredient is argan oil. In my debut cookbook - Casablanca published by Mitchell Beazley - there’s a very easy guide to make your own amlou at home.
“Amlou is incredibly healthy because its three key ingredients - honey, almonds and argan oil - have wonderful and impressive health benefits. It is no secret that honey and almonds are wonderful superfoods but the health benefits of including culinary argan oil in our routines are relatively new. In fact, numerous statements have been made regarding the positive impact on health generated by the consumption of argan oil. Researchers have established that a daily consumption of argan oil is "highly likely" to be one factor that helps prevent various diseases.”
Whilst marveling over the skills of Cristiano Ronaldo during Portugal’s games, Anita Breland, who runs the travel, food and culture blog Anita’s Feast says you should eat Tremoços (also known as pickled lupine beans).
“Pickled lupini beans - called tremoços in Portugal are tasty favorites in bars all over Portugal. The legume seeds are both nutritious and low in calories and are immunity boosters, as well. They have more protein and phosphorus than cow’s milk, as well as generous doses of calcium, vitamins E and B, phosphorus, potassium, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, iron and fiber.
“The emollient, diuretic and healing properties of the little yellow beauties also contribute to cell renewal. So, in the excitement of watching sport, cheer your team on with a dish of tremoços at hand. To go full-on Portugal, enjoy along with creamy Azeitão sheep cheese, spiced olives, and cured ham…and if you are in Porto, a Super Bock mini.”
One of the most popular dishes in Portugal is Salt Cod and Chick Pea Salad because it is healthy, is simple to make and can be a lunch, snack, side dish or main dish.
Tia Maria helps people learn how to cook traditional Portuguese dishes through her Portuguese Diner blog and here she explains why you should try Salt Cod and Chick Pea Salad during the tournament.
“Portugal is known as top 3 for or having the most fish and seafood consumption in the world and has a healthy Mediterranean style diet. The most consumed fish is salt cod which is high in vitamin B6, B12 and has a lot of protein. Chick peas are also full of protein, fibre, and high complex carbohydrates and often used in many dishes and soups.
“The combination of these ingredients makes the dish not only a perfect snack, but also a healthy lunch, appetizer or dinner for those that chose a meatless diet.”
The little olive is at the centre of the Spanish culinary world and it’s the perfect snack for eating during a match. You can eat raw olives or add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some bread with vegetables if you’re feeling extra hungry.
Olives are super healthy with the monounsaturated fats decreasing the risk of heart disease and boosting HDL cholesterol. Olives also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which means they can prevent some diseases.
Australians were the first to start the trend of avocado on toast and coined the delicious snack “smashed avo”. If you’ve been on holiday down under you will almost certainly seen this on menus at food kiosks, cafes and restaurants.
It’s so simple to make and is perfect if you need a quick and nutritious breakfast or snack. Medical New Today reveals that avocados have lots of health benefits, making the smashed avocado a perfect snack.
In an article on their website, they say, “Numerous studies have found that a predominantly plant-based diet that includes foods such as avocados can help to decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.”
In Denmark rye bread is basically a national dish due to its huge popularity in the county, but the Nordic Stone Age Bread is one that is increasing in popularity.
Kim Nielsen runs the specialist food blog Nordic Food & Living, which focuses on Danish food, and he recommends the Nordic Stone Age Bread as a snack to try during the World Cup.
“One of my most popular recipes is my Nordic Stone age bread. It is packed with six different nuts and seeds and is very easy to make. Because of the high content of dietary fibres and healthy oil, it's a perfect alternative to regular white toast bread. It can be cut into small bite-sized snacks and topped with slices of cheese, ham or maybe some homemade pesto.”
That’s right, the dish that is made in that animated movie with the little mouse is undoubtedly a bonafide staple of French cuisine.
It’s one of the most satisfying ways to get you’re the daily vegetables you need in one meal as Ratatouille includes aubergine, onion, garlic, peppers, courgette, squash, tomatoes and a number of herbs.
Unsurprisingly with all these healthy ingredients the dish has been known to help lower blood pressure and even reduce cholesterol.
Peruvian cuisine is now very popular around the world and it is generally considered to be very healthy as well. Keith from Eat Peru recommends Quinoa, which is pronounced Keen-wah, as it is a Peruvian superfood that has been eaten for thousands of years by the ancient Incas.
“With Quinoa (a high-protein superfood) you can make snacks that are healthy but have a little bit of a kick. Dark chocolate Quinoa balls are perfect for snacking on during games.
“The ingredients are; Quinoa, raw cacao, honey, dark chocolate, dates, and walnuts. The ingredients (without the chocolate) are blended together in a food processor and formed into balls. Then melting chocolate is poured over and the balls are left to set in the fridge.”
Another great snack you can try from Peru is Sacha inchi, a nut that is similar to a peanut, and with it being full of omega 3, proteins and healthy fats it is considered to be one of the world’s most powerful superfoods.
Found in the Amazon jungle the nut is believed to lower blood pressure andcan strengthen the immune system with its large amounts of vitamins A and E.
Peru Delights recommend adding it to salads or shakes, “Adding it to salads or shakes is a great idea, just be careful because it has a very strong peanut flavour that sometimes is overpowering, and some even describe as fish-like. Try it in small amounts in cakes, brownies and cookies, to give a nice and healthy touch, or eat them covered in chocolate as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.”
It is almost a crime to leave the country without having Asado, which is also known as parrillada.
The meat-based barbecue, which includes steak, sausages, burgers and ribs, is perfect to cook during the World Cup as before the game you can head outside and grill meats on an open fire or BBQ before huddling around the TV.
Asado is the national dish and generally you’ll be able to enjoy beef, pork ribs, sausages or sweet breads. After spending some time cooking the meats you can watch the magical Messi in action.
If you’re a vegetarian you might want to try Soy Meatballs, which are popular in Argentina. These healthy snacks are made from leeks, onions, cucumbers, carrots, celery, textured soy and nutmeg.
Dried Figs or 'suhe smokve' in Croatian is one healthy snack you can munch on during Croatia’s games, according to Sarah-Jane Begonja from the Croatian travel blog Chasing the Donkey.
“It's a fruit! All natural, and only having the healthy kind of sugar! Dried figs are super tasty alone, but they pair so well with cheese - and who does not love a cheese platter when you're watching the game?
“Figs can be eaten all year round in Croatia - thanks to them being dried when they are plentiful in the summer months. Fresh from the trees in summer, they are delicious, but with a little planning - well, actually drying, we eat figs in autumn, winter and in spring.”
This delicious dairy treat is unique to Iceland and as well as being delicious it is virtually fat-free and is full of protein.
The snack looks similar to Greek yoghurt, but is in fact closer related to cheese in the way it is processed, which makes it slightly thicker than your standard yoghurt.
Skyr doesn’t just have to be plain and is available in a number of flavours; from coconut to lemon cake. However, in Iceland the unsweetened version is massively popular and is usually accompanied with berries and strawberries.
This snack is extremely popular in northern Nigeria and is made from roasted peanuts that are ground into a paste and mixed with salt and spices before being fried in peanut oil.
This creates a crunchy, nutritious and protein packed snack that is very popular in this part of the country. The snack is also popular in parts of Ghana and Cameroon and is often eaten alone.
Brazil has it all with its unique culture, miles of coastline and large cities and its food is not bad either.
Professional chef and Brazilian recipe expert Denise Browning, who runs the Easy and Delish blog, says a great snack to enjoy from Brazil is Acai bowl.
“It is a healthy snack because acai itself is known for its antioxidant, immune-stimulating, and energy-boosting properties. Bananas and granola are also added as toppings to acai bowl and are very nutritious ingredients.
“Acai bowl is versatile (can be served as a snack or breakfast, or even for lunch/dinner) and is quite quick and easy to prepare.”
Cacao pods are ripe when they look like little yellow footballs and you should be able to just crack them open and eat the tender white flesh encasing the cacao beans.
Costa Rica has several cacao farms and if you’ve visited the tropical island before you’ll have been made aware the cultural importance of Cacao to indigenous people.
This raw chocolate is really tasty and is a traditional dessert from Costa Rica and once you’ve tried this there is no going back to the unhealthier versions of chocolate.
Switzerland is renowned for being a great skiing holiday destination, but it is home to some hearty traditional cuisine.
Fran, who lives in Zurich and runs the Little Zurich Kitchen site, says quark makes a great addition to any snack, sweet or savoury.
“A healthy Swiss snack is quark, a yoghurt-like dairy product that's classified as cheese. Like plain yoghurt, it's neither sweet nor salty and therefore it can be used for both. For a healthy, sweet dessert, quark is mixed with a sweetener like honey or sugar and either fresh or stewed, pureed fruit.
“A savoury snack would be an assortment of vegetable sticks like cucumber, carrots, kohlrabi, peppers, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes and radishes with a dipping sauce made of quark, salt, pepper, parsley, chives, paprika powder and a little Worcester sauce.
“Quark is a great snack option as it's low in fat and high in protein, which, if eaten with fruit or vegetables makes a balanced, healthy and filling snack.
“If you can't find quark in your supermarket you can make your own, there are various different recipes available online.”
A favourite Serbian dish is Prebranac, similar to the UK’s version of baked beans. Like baked beans the dish is popular all-year round, but during the winter season Prebranac takes the place of bean soups.
The dish is a classic comfort food in Serbia and other countries in the Balkans.
Known as salzstangen in Germany, Pretzels are a traditional snack in the country and are a great on-the-go snack or for nibbles during the games.
You can make healthy pretzels without salt at home or alternatively you can buy pre-packaged options from your local supermarket.
There are lots of things that can accompany pretzels and A Sausage Has Two recommends having cream cheese as a dip.
There are lots of healthy Korean snacks that pack a nutritional and flavourful punch and a tasty treat you can enjoy is roasted seaweed.
Seaweed snacks are organic, iodine rich and are abundant in minerals and vitamins and don’t be surprised to find yourself eating these chunks of roasted seaweed by the boatload come the end of the World Cup.
Elotes are a true staple of Mexican street food and the popular snack is often grilled with lime juice that adds to the smoky flavour. This street treat will often have good salsa and powdered chilli sprinkled on top.
Depending on how many of your friends are coming over to yours you can either make a few or dozens so that everyone can tuck in to this popular Mexican food. What’s more Elotes are quite healthy and if you are having a meal they can be paired with tacos.
Made with peeled prawns, mixed with mayonnaise, dill and lemon topped with fish roe and served on some bread, toast Skagen is a healthy snack you need to experience.
The snack was invented by the chef, Tore Wretman, and he ran some of the top restaurants in Stockholm and this starter has now become hugely popular in Sweden.
Sirop de Liège or Luikse Siroop as it is also known is a sweet, sticky brown jelly made from evaporated fruit juices like dates, apples and pears.
The popular Belgian spread has been known to trump the likes of Nutella and is usually used on crackers or baguettes. It can pair with a variety of cheeses as well.
This classic, good for your soul snack is simple to make and very tasty. Flapjacks are made from rolled oats, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup are widely available.
Although traditional recipes can be high in fat and calories there are diet versions available that mean you can enjoy a healthier version of the tasty treat. Nakd Bars are a healthier version and include raw fruit and nuts and these bars can be found in supermarkets and other grocery stores across England.
The bars are healthy as they are made with 100% natural ingredients and contain mainly fruits and nuts. Despite the bars only being small they do fill a hunger gap and are a great source of protein. Most importantly they are really tasty!
Anne de graaf from Anne Travel Foodie has travelled all over the world and one of the countries that she really likes is Panama. Part of this love is down to its great food and here she explains why Coffee Date Bread is a great snack to try during the world cup.
“For this world cup you can make a recipe with coffee for when Panama is playing. I suggest you go for a coffee date bread, as it's both healthy and delicious.”
The travel and food expert adds, “It’s a delicious, healthy snack with less than 100 calories per slice! It’s high in carbs, so it’s a perfect snack for before or during a work-out!”
Tunisia has lots of tasty dishes it is renowned for with many of the plates based on seafood and lamb.
Veronika, the blogger behind travel site Veronika’s Adventure, has previously visited Tunisia and she recommends trying the hot chilli paste Harissa.
“Believe or not, one of the tastiest Tunisian snacks is delivered to your table without ordering. Really! Once you enter a restaurant in Tunisia, this reddish sauce decorated with green olives comes as a starter. Harissa: hot, aromatic paste made from chilli and further mixture of spices and herbs. The sauce is spicy and fragrant.
“Thanks to the mixture of spices, harissa can boost the metabolism. You can find there peppers, garlic, salt, olive oil, coriander and caraway seeds, and sometimes also cumin and dried mint. Therefore, it is an ideal snack to boost your energy without eating something heavy!”
This universally popular snack is sold on the streets or at markets all over Colombia and it is healthy and very tasty.
It’s basically a giant fruit salad served in a glass of fruit juice and is generally a dessert that is eaten/drank on a warm summer’s day.
The snack uses fruit such as pineapple, papaya, watermelon, mango, apple, banana and grapes as well.
This nutritional snack is made with whole soybean flour, fruits and nuts and contain no wheat. They offer a delicious way to enjoy the nutritional goodness of soy.
Soy Joy bars are hugely popular and the gluten-free snack is a great source of fibre and you can buy these bars in a variety of flavours: almond, chocolate, peanuts, blueberry, strawberry, apple, raisin and almond, banana with extra calcium and prune to name just a few.
Each bar is around 125 and 145 calories and are a popular treat across Japan.
This delicious salad has ingredients like cucumbers, onion and herb and if you’re wanting to put on a spread for a game you will need to chop these ingredients up and mix them all together and add some sour cream.
This healthy salad can be made healthier as you can just use plain yoghurt instead of using sour cream.
Accara is a popular snack throughout Senegal and the rest of West Africa and the light-as-air black-eyed pea fritters are healthy.
The snack is usually accompanied by chile-hot, tomato-based Kaani sauce, but any tomato-based sauce will go nicely with these tasty snacks.