Healthy High Dos ‘n’ don’ts of snack­ing!

Luke Coutinho drags snack­ing un­der the nu­tri­tion lens and de­codes its dos ‘n’ don’ts.

Savvy - - Contents - Luke Coutinho, Adviser, In­te­gra­tive Life­style and Nu­tri­tion at Purenu­tri­tion.me

IS SNACK­ING GOOD OR BAD?

Not all snack­ing is un­healthy and it is im­por­tant to get the right bal­ance – which is to choose the right snacks, keep the por­tions small and snack at ap­pro­pri­ate times. Eat­ing healthy snacks like nuts and gra­nola bars can be good for you, but most peo­ple choose the un­healthy op­tions like chips, bis­cuits and oily food.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SNACKS

— When you’re out in the mar­ket buy­ing ready­made snacks (gra­nola bars, trail mixes, nut but­ters etc), watch the amount of fat, sat­u­rated fat, salt and sugar in your snacks, as well as calo­rie con­tent – look at the la­bels very care­fully be­fore pop­ping that snack into your shop­ping bas­ket. A lot of times, in­no­cent look­ing ‘healthy snacks’ are loaded with some re­ally nasty in­gre­di­ents.

— Opt for sim­ple vari­ants in snacks. For ex­am­ple, trade your mi­crowave pop­corn (which is loaded with salt and but­ter) with the un­salted vari­ant. Trade salted trail mixes with their un­salted vari­ants. Sim­ple swaps like these go a long way in manag­ing weight and other life­style dis­eases.

— We make some re­ally poor de­ci­sions (and food choices) when we’re hun­gry, so plan ahead – if you tend to need a mid-morn­ing or 4 p.m snack to sat­isfy your hunger un­til the next big meal, then plan­ning ahead may help you make wiser choices.

SNACKS YOU CAN EAT GUILT-FREE

Poha is eas­ily di­gestible and a highly en­er­giz­ing break­fast op­tion. This snack is rich in iron and car­bo­hy­drates, is packed with var­i­ous vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, and has low gluten lev­els. To pack in more nu­tri­tion, you can also throw in some chopped veg­eta­bles. Ad­di­tion of green peas, soya nuggets and peanuts would make it a well­bal­anced and a high-pro­tein meal.

Dhokla, be­ing a fer­mented food, is very nu­tri­tious and easy to digest due to the di­ges­tive en­zymes present. In­cor­po­rat­ing fer­mented food in your diet in­creases the bio-avail­abil­ity of min­er­als present in food, helping the body as­sim­i­late more nu­tri­tion. Apart from helping di­ges­tion, the lac­tic acid bac­te­ria present in fer­mented food also re­stores the PH bal­ance.

Moong Dal Chilla is of­ten re­ferred to as a veg­e­tar­ian omelet. Moong dal is ex­tremely light

“Poha is rich in iron and car­bo­hy­drates, is packed with var­i­ous vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, and has low gluten lev­els.”

and easy to digest – it is also an ex­cel­lent source of pro­tein. A 100 gm serv­ing of moong dal can pro­vide you with 24 gm pro­tein. This dish is also ex­tremely ver­sa­tile, so de­pend­ing on your pref­er­ences, you can spruce it up with to­ma­toes, chopped onion, some grated paneer/ cheese etc.

Mini Car­rot Co­rian­der Idlis are an­other fer­mented fa­vorite. I pre­fer my idlis as bite-sized snack op­tions with the good­ness of car­rots and co­rian­der along with some co­conut chut­ney.

Ap­ple Slices With Peanut But­ter... well, peo­ple tell me that eat­ing a fruit does not sa­ti­ate their hunger. That’s when scoop­ing a slice of fruit with some home­made nut but­ter can be great. Ap­ples are high in fiber and polyphe­nol an­tiox­i­dants that im­prove gut health and re­duce heart dis­ease risk, while peanut but­ter has been shown to in­crease HDL choles­terol and re­duce LDL choles­terol and triglyc­erides. That be­ing said, re­mem­ber por­tion con­trol is key here, as peanut but­ter has a fairly high calo­rie con­tent.

HOW TO PICK HEALTHY OVER UN­HEALTHY?

— Choose your snacks wisely.

— Avoid eat­ing fried snacks at any cost.

— Keep a bowl of un­salted nuts next to you, this will make it easy to switch over to healthy eat­ing.

— Have baked food rather than fried snacks.

— Eat 4 meals a day, 2 small meals be­tween your lunch and din­ner.

— Keep a strong will and learn to say no to temp­ta­tion. Eas­ier said than done, but this will im­mensely ben­e­fit you in the long run.

“Peo­ple tell me that eat­ing a fruit does not sa­ti­ate their hunger. That’s when scoop­ing a slice of fruit with some home­made nut but­ter can be great.”

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