Here are some healthy snack options, and tips to make our favourite snacks less harmful.
What parent or child doesn't enjoy munching on snacks when watching the television, studying or even working? However, since not all of us can jump up and cook something every time we feel hungry, we tend to simply open up our goodies shelf, remove a packet of wafers or tortilla chips, and start munching. This is not the best idea - especially considering the long-term good health of your family.
Although snacking on the occasional packet of wafers is fine, this should not be done too often. Not only do such snacks have no food value, they actually cause harm. So, save these for once-in-a-while indulgences, and consider other, healthier snack options. Here are some ideas.
Bananas may not seem like the ideal snack food, but they are rich in food value. You can make the taste more interesting by slicing a banana, adding a little lemon juice and sugar or salt, depending on whether you feel like eating something sweet or salty. This makes a delicious, healthy, anytime snack. If you like chaat masala, keep it handy and sprinkle it over your banana snack for extra flavour.
Chop up an apple, add 3-4 tablespoons water, one teaspoon sugar, one clove, and heat it over a very low flame. Keep it covered with a lid. Once the apple becomes completely soggy, your stew is ready. Mash it up and serve it plain, or topped with a little 'malai' or cream. This is again very simple to make and is a healthy snack. Although there's nothing as healthy as uncooked fruit, an apple stew does retain some nutrients, in any case it is not harming you in any way - which is also a plus point in a snack.
Pani puri or gol gappas
Who doesn't love pani puri? You may not know this, but pani puri can be a fairly healthy snack option. Stuff each puri with boiled chickpeas, mashed potatoes and steamed sprouts, and you've got yourself a delicious, healthy snack. The only problem with eating pani puri from the streets is that the hygiene aspect is a little unsure. Since so much water is used in pani puri, and it is not a cooked food, one doesn't want to take chances. It is best if you prepare this snack at home, or eat it from a place that you have faith in. It is not advisable to eat this from random stalls you have never tried before, unless perhaps they are attached to a restaurant and serve pani puri made with mineral water. Similarly, not just pani puri but other chaats too can be healthy, especially curd based chaats. You need to remember that the puris and many other ingredients in chaats are fried. So if you eat chaat today, try and reduce your oil intake in other foods.
Pakoras and samosas
These may not seem like the healthiest snack option - and they aren't. But remember that samosas are often stuffed with vegetables and dried fruits. The only problem is that they are deep fried. However, if you make samosas and pakoras at home, using good oil or olive oil, you've already won half the battle. Make more palak pakoras and less potato pakoras to maximize health benefits. If you don't know how to make samosas at home, stick with pakoras. Opting for readymade samosas is not the best option.
Broccoli and mushroom
Steamed broccoli and mushroom sautèed with garlic and lemon tastes divine. Steaming broccoli and mushroom takes under ten minutes, after which your dish is almost ready. All you need to do now is to heat a little butter in a pan, add the garlic and sautè for a minute. Add broccoli, mushroom, the juice of one lemon, salt and pepper, and continue cooking for another minute. Serve!