Snack it up!

Check out these 10 no-preparation snacks that will serve as a healthy option to munch on

In our day-to-day busy schedules at work or home, we either starve ourselves, or are too busy to prepare a healthy snack. Take a look at these top 10 healthy snacks that require no preparation.

Boiled corn

Boiled cornCorn is high in starch and protein, and when consumed with beans and other legumes provide a complete protein intake. One medium ear of corn contains about 83 calories and one cup of kernels provide 13 per cent of the RDA [Recommended Daily Allowance] for folate. It is a source of potassium, thiamine and fibre. It is also a good source of lutein, a powerful antioxidant that may help lower the risk of age-related mascular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in older adults. Most of the niacin in corn is in the form of niacytin, which is not broken down in the human digestive tract. Early nutrition researchers were puzzled by the fact that Mexicans and South Americans did not develop pellagra [a disease caused by deficiency of niacin and proteins], even though their diets were mostly made up of corn. It was discovered that combining corn with an alkaline substance releases the niacin in niacytin; thus mixing cornmeal with lime water to make tortillas prevents pellagra. Similarly, natives in South America grind corn with alkaline potash to loosen the bran; another practice that released niacin and prevented pellagra.

Being low in calories it is an ideal food for people who want to lose, and maintain their weight.

Popcorn

A popular snack food, popcorn is a special variety that grows on a cob smaller than those of sweet corn. As the kernels are heated rapidly, the moisture inside them is converted to steam. When the steam pressure builds to a certain point, it bursts the outer shell and the interior turns into a fluffy mass of fibre and starch, many times larger than the original kernel. A cup of air popped plain popcorn has only about 30 calories making it an ideal high fibre snack. Popping the corn in oil and adding a table spoon of butter increases the calorie content more than five-fold to about 155 calories per cup. They are a good source of complex carbohydrate.

Sprouts

SproutsRejuvenate yourself with living foods, and this is what nature does. The sprouting of seeds for foods has been going on for over 5000 years. Soaking and sprouting increases the enzyme content of the food many times. Sprouting changes protein into amino acids which are very easily assimilated in the body. Sprouts are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and bioelectric energy. Nuts, seeds, grains, and pulses can be sprouted. Sprouts are the life source of our foods, and if it does not sprout, the life force is missing. Sprouts are also an excellent source of protein.

Nuts

Most nuts - walnuts, cashewnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, and cashewnuts - are an excellent source of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. They help lower cholesterol levels, and add fibre to the diet. They are high in protein especially when combined with legumes, and are an excellent source of good fat, vitamin E, and potassium. Most are high in minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Many are good sources of folate, niacin and other B vitamins.

Dry fruits

Prunes, figs, raisins, dates, and apricots are rich in natural sugars, contain no fats, and are a good source of antioxidants. Hence, dry fruits prevent premature aging, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. They are also rich in fibre and thus prevent constipation. Some are good sources of iron, have a low Glycemic Index and, thus leave you feeling fuller for longer.

Fruits

FruitsFruits are fat free antioxidants which stimulate memory and contain natural sugars that provide quick energy. They are anti-depressants and contain 80 per cent water. They are excellent sources of vitamin C, beta carotene, and potassium. High in fibre and low in calories, they also contain various polyphenols which may protect against cancer and other diseases.

Khakras

Khakras being whole grains they contain fibre, and vitamin B and are an excellent source of carbohydrate, and dietary fibres. They are low in fat, and when eaten in combination with beans and legumes, they are a good source of complete protein. You get a variety of khakras - bajri, jowar, and wheat.

Chana [chickpeas]

Chana/chickpeasChana are a good source of calcium and are high in proteins. They are also high in soluble fibre and are a good source of starch, B-complex vitamins, iron, potassium, zinc, and other essential minerals.

Potatoes

They are a good source of vitamin C and B6, potassium and other minerals. The skin is a good source of fibre. Potatoes are inexpensive, filling, and nutritious starchy foods. Potatoes are anti-depressants and hence most people love them.

Wholegrain bread sandwiches with vegetables

Whole grain breads are high in fibre. A good source of complex carbohydrates, they are high in niacin, riboflavin and other B-complex vitamins. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, folate, potassium, and other minerals. Their high fibre content promotes regular bowel function. Vegetables are also rich in bioflavonoids, and other compounds that help prevent disease.

So, try these healthy snacks at home or office and you need not worry about putting on weight. These will serve a good option in our sedentary routine.

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Naini Setalvad
Naini Setalvad is a renowned nutritionist and health and obesity consultant. She is a regular columnist for the leading newspapers and magazines. She has also conducted workshops to improve performances, memory, concentration, inter-personal relationships, reducing stress, aggression, mood swings for various institutions.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Preeti

    Ms Naini is not a qualified person to guide you on diet. She has got some certificates in nutrition from some unrecognised educational institute and some hospital-thats all. No one knows what she did her bachelors/degree in? I suggest you opt for someone better qualified.

    Just because she came on CNN IBN because she is some rich industrialists wife doesn’t make her an expert.

    Besides if someone loses weight successfully, they don’t become a dietician.

  2. Dear Naini,

    I have watched the programme on CNN IBN on how much of weight you have lost and would like to consult you for a diet advice. I am weighing 135kgs and I am only 32 Years .Please can you help me get appointment from you.

  3. the knowledge gained by your articles are awesome. healthy ways to stay fit by eating rite and how to do so. once again lost knowledge of centuries gone by brought back to life by great research. you guy’s really did your home work .

  4. I am really impress the way you people are guiding us for health keep it up ! i am avid reader of your mail suppliant and i am also interested in subscribing hard copy of your magazine if good offer is available.

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