New Delhi: Snacks play a vital role in our diet and well-being. They make us feel satiated in between meals, provide that extra burst of energy on long days, and help us cope effectively with changing seasons or routines.
Unfortunately, the habit of snacking has gotten a bad reputation in the last few years owing to its association with junk and processed food. However, that needn’t be the case. There are a host of ready-to-eat and homemade snacking options that offer comfort, and yet are high on health benefits.
Here are five such yummy, healthy snacking options by Uma Prasad, GM at Sowparnika Retail Private Limited:
1. Popped potato chips
Potato chips have been a traditional favourite when it comes to anytime snacking. However, ingredients such as palm oil, and excess amount of salt, apart from artificial flavours, have been linked to chronic health issues when consumed consistently on a long-term basis.
It’s advisable to switch to healthier alternatives such as popped potato chips, which are made using modern technologies that replace deep-frying. Moreover, brands producing such healthier snacks tend to use nutritious ingredients, ranging from oils to natural salts, and no artificial additives or stabilizers. Given that marketing gimmicks often make it difficult to identify such products with misleading labels, you can consider organic-first or organic-only grocers for better choices.
2. Bowl of fruit and nuts
Fruits are some of the healthiest snacks you can ever have, especially if you are craving sweet foods, or feeling low on energy. An effective way to up the satiety value of such fruit bowls is to add a handful of nuts. Adding a few roasted walnuts to an apple salad, or chia seeds to a bowl of orange slices can make you feel fuller, while providing your body with a whole lot of micro-nutrients.
However, it’s important to be mindful of the quality of fruits, nuts, or dry fruits that you choose. Most seasonal fruits in India tend to have been grown using pesticides, which pose several health risks in the long run. On the other hand, organic fruits and nuts tend to retain maximum natural goodness, and hence, offer optimum health benefits.
3. Sugar-free laddoos
Laddoos are one of the best snacks we can bite into. Ghee, dry fruits, and slow-roasting make for traditional recipes that offer infinite amounts of health, comfort, and strength. But for them to remain a healthy snack, it is important that the ghee used is hand-churned, the dry fruits are high on their innate goodness, and the sweeteners used are dates, jaggery, and the likes.
Depending on your preferences, you can make such laddoos at home using ingredients available at your neighbourhood organic store, or buy from brands that make it to the shelves of such ingredient-conscious grocers.
4. Handy-ingredient smoothies
A glass of smoothie is an easy-to-fix snack that makes for great comfort food, especially when the seasons are changing, or when your body and mind demand more endurance. Simply toss in a few handy ingredients into your blender – dates, fruits such as apple or banana, oats, and a dash of milk – to whip up a refreshing comfort snack.
To get the most out of your snack, ensure that all the ingredients, especially packaged and processed items such as oats and milk, are sourced from organic-certified brands. This ensures that the items have been sourced, and processed in a healthy manner, without using chemicals, steroids, or additives that alter the nutritional value of the oats and milk.
5. Roasted makhanas
Makhanas, or lotus seeds, make for a delicious anytime snack. Since they are armed with high levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals, they are healthy to consume without worrying about calories.
Depending on your preferences, you can buy unprocessed makhanas at your grocer, and roast them in ghee and traditional spices at home, or buy roasted makhanas from brands you trust. Either way, look out for organically-grown makhanas for optimum fibre, and in the case of flavoured varieties, seasoning that is free of artificial preservatives and additives.
To sum it up, there are many proven benefits to choosing healthy snacking over unhealthy options. However, it’s recommended that you monitor the portion size to ensure that you don’t overindulge, even if they are healthy snacks.