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Updated: April 21, 2012 18:17 IST

It's snack time

DR. RITIKA SAMMADAR
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Make smart choices. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam
The Hindu Make smart choices. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Snacking is not a bad thing, provided you choose the right stuff.

What's the first thing you do when you're hungry? Reach for a packet of chips or run out for a samosa/kachori/vada pav/bajji. But are these good for you?

Snacking means different things to different people. For some it means satisfying hunger pangs, for others it is a way of socialising. In some cases it can be even emotional compulsion.

Often a necessity

Whatever the reason, snacking is something that cannot be avoided. The urge for snacking is especially pronounced when one works long hours at a stretch; in such situations, it is more of a necessity than an indulgence.

The moment one takes a breather, the urge to munch, which one has been resisting for hours, becomes overwhelming. One may try to hold back from grabbing a packet but ultimately succumb to indulgence. And then of course comes the guilt of unhealthy snacking.

The handiest snacking options often happen to be the most unhealthy. Filled with calories, transfats, sugar and salts, these may tantalise your taste buds for a few minutes but leave one grappling with rising cholesterol levels and related health issues.

But this does not mean missing out on snacks. All one needs to do is to make some smart choices. Look for snacks that are made of wholegrain or multigrains. Low-fat cheese or yoghurt are also great add-ons.

Ingredients like flaxseeds in snacks increases their nutritional benefits. Flax seeds are a well known source of omega 3 fatty acids that keep skin and heart healthy. Being high in fibre and low in sugar, flax seeds are also ideal for those who want to lose weight.

Make your healthy snacks in advance and carry some with you so that you're never going to reach for stuff you shouldn't be eating. Fruit, crunchy veggies like baby carrots or celery, whole-grain or multigrain biscuits are good options.

In case you have to buy stuff, read the labels carefully and study the nutritional information before you open your wallet.

Shami kabab multigrain recipe

Ingredients

Whole Chickpea 1 cup

Chickpea dal 1 tbsp

Any multigrain thins 2 packets

Black pepper 2-3

Cloves 2-3

Red chilly1

Salt to taste

For filling

Onion 1 (finely chopped)

Poppy seeds 1 tsp

Garlic 4-5 flakes

Salt to taste

Oil 1 tsp

Method: Soak the whole chickpea overnight. Cook it along with chickpea dal, black pepper, red chilly and cloves. Remove extra water and grind coarsely. Add salt. In a non stick pan, heat oil. Add onion, crushed garlic, poppy seeds and salt and cook. Add to chickpea mixture.

Grind the multigrain thins and add them to the mixture.

Mix well and roll small flat balls from the dough. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C for 10 minutes. Bake the balls in the oven until they are crisp in texture.

Your multigrain snack is ready: high in fibre and protein, low in sugar, fat, transfat-free.

Quick options

Whole wheat crackers

A handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts

Vegetable sticks (carrots, broccoli florets, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers) with a yoghurt dip

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