Do you feel guilty when you reach out for that packet of chips your colleague offers you to quell your mid afternoon hunger pangs? Then, these nutritious snack ideas are just for you...
By Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy
You have another hour to go before the end of your workday. And, you have a rumbling tummy. Aren’t you tempted to pick up the phone and order a chaat or a burger? Pack some not-so-unhealthy snacks to work so you don’t give in to these temptations.
Here are some healthy snack ideas you could put together in a jiffy to carry to work. These snacks will pump up your energy, lift your mood and, most importantly, stop you from reaching out for that high-calorie packet of chips:
Small portions of good fats are healthy for you. Balance them with a larger portion of a low-calorie food and you’ve got the best snack option ever. Chop 1 carrot or 1 cucumber into 2-inch long sticks and pack them in an airtight container. Scoop a tablespoonful of peanut butter into another small container. You can snack on these at your desk mid-morning or just before your noon tea. Just dip the vegetable stick into the peanut butter to make the veggie sticks creamy and tasty. Alternatively, carry slices of apple or pear to go with the butter.
Health benefits: Peanut butter is full of vitamins and minerals. It’s a balanced food that gives you a little carb for energy, protein to perk up those tired muscles and fats in the form of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Moreover, it qualifies as a relatively unprocessed food so you can go for it without worry.
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Packing a whole apple, guava, orange or pear to work is an easy option. By not cutting the fruit, you do not let it get discoloured from oxidation. Also, you prevent loss of important vitamins through exposure to air.
Health benefits: Eating a fruit whole gives you the required dose of dietary fibre. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and can prevent you from catching frequent colds. Apples are very low in calories and full of fibre. They keep you feeling full longer and make an ideal snack for the weight-conscious. Pears are rich in flavonoids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory property. And, do we need to mention the health benefits of the humble guava? It’s locally grown so it is relatively fresh. Guavas are high in vitamin C, which will boost your immunity and chase your colds and flu away. All fruits are good for digestive health.
Soak lentils like channa and cow peas overnight and pressure cook. Roast them in a drop of oil with as much chilli powder as you like to wake you up when you find yourself nodding before the noon tea break.
Health benefits: Boiled chickpeas or channa (good old sundal) is rich in protein and is sure to keep you going till dinner. Cow peas are high in iron and prevent anaemia. They also contain potassium and copper which are good for metabolism. Another important ingredient found in cow peas is tryptophan, which reduces stress and anxiety. All lentils are good cholesterol-lowering foods,
Roast 100 g of pumpkin seeds and cucumber seeds over the weekend. Sprinkle a dash of chilli powder and salt and your healthy, 2-minute snack is ready. Pack 1-2 teaspoons of any of these seeds to work in an airtight container. You can munch on this crunchy snack at your desk or even while travelling back from work to quell those hunger pangs.
Health benefits: The sulphur in cucumber seeds stimulates hair growth. It prevents wrinkles and gives your skin a wonderful glow. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of vitamin B that is good for your nerves. They also prevent kidney stone formation.
Buy a month’s supply of unsalted nuts and dried fruits such as raisins and dates, so you can throw in a handful into a container the days you run out of snack ideas. When eaten together with the dried fruit, even a small quantity of nuts gives you a feeling of fullness that few other snacks can.
Health benefits: Nuts contain mainly fats and can give you instant energy to fight the post-lunch slump. Walnuts improve your memory while almonds are known to lower blood pressure. The good old peanut is great for your nerves. Dates are rich in iron so they are an ideal choice for anaemic women. They are also good for your bones and skin. Raisins are high in fibre. So, if you feel a little constipated, chew on a few raisins.
The article below will give you more details on the nutritional benefits of dried fruits and nuts.
These snacks are easy to put together during the rush hours of the morning and contain several beneficial nutrients. So, go for them but always remember that mindful snacking is the key to a healthy life.
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