Friday, January 7, 2011

Snack and Lunch Ideas - part one

A few weeks back one of my friends gave me a recipe challenge. She said that she is bored with munching carrots and would like a different option for a healthy snack. Well this post is all about exploring different options for snack some of which can be easily converted to lunch.
What is healthy snacking?
  1. Aiming for a 100-200 calorie snack in between each of your three main meals. This keeps you going till your next meal without making you super hungry, so you are not tempted to go the easy and quick route of grabbing fast food such as burgers, fries.
  2. Limiting snacks to no more than two a day.
  3. Including a combination of two or more food groups for each snack.
  4. Choosing a combination of complex carbohydrates(which means high in fiber as well) and protein. This will make you feel full for a longer time.
  5. Choosing a snack that is low in fat, sugar and salt.
  6. Understanding how much to eat at a time. So never snack out of the box, always take out a portion.
  7. Choosing fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, whole grain products and nuts and seeds more often.
  8. Avoiding snacking while watching T.V.
  9. Nutritious snacking helps keep your energy level high and mind alert without taking up a lot of your time.
Here are some ideas.

Widely considered a vegetable avocado is actually a fruit with a rich creamy texture and an excellent source of potassium and high in fiber. A medium sized avocado will be around 200 -300 calories and its almost the only fruit which is a rich source of mono saturated fat. All the above reasons make it a great snack. Remember it is calorie dense, so portion accordingly.
Peel and de-seed the avocado and cut into small chunks. Sprinkle with lime juice to prevent it from browning. You can have this as is or with celery sticks/baked crisps.
Make this into lunch by following the recipe below.

Cucumber and avocado Salad
Ingredients:(Serves 4)
3 Avocados
1 small english cucumber
juice and rind of 1 lime
salt to taste
bunch fresh mint chopped finely
1/2 cup blanched and slivered almonds
  1. Chop cucumber into bite sized pieces. If using field cucumbers then peel and chop.
  2. Cut avocados into bite sized chunks as well.
  3. Add all the ingredients together and mix well making sure avocados don't get smashed.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to let flavors blend.
  5. Serve cold. Makes an excellent snack as well

Having its origin in the middle east, hummus is a thick spread made of mashed chickpeas with tahini (sesame paste), garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. With only 45 calories in about 2 tablespoonfuls, hummus is a great source of fiber and protein, has a low glycemic index, meaning it should keep you satiated for long. Good choice for vegetarian and lactose intolerant diets. Tastes wonderful with carrots and celery sticks, baked crisps, or by itself.
Make it into lunch by spreading it inside half a pita pocket along with any of these things --cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, cooked and flaked tuna, dollop of plain yogurt, chickpea patties.

Ingredients:(makes 2 cups)
1 can chickpeas(19 oz)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
handful fresh coriander
hot pepper sauce (optional)
Reserve the liquid of the chickpeas.
Add all the ingredients in the blender and puree. You will need to add about a 1/4 cup or more of the reserved liquid in it to help puree.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Can be kept for 4-5 days.

Nuts and seeds (love your heart? go nuts)
Choose these nuts and seeds alone or in combination. These are concentrated sources of energy and high in calories, so be careful about the serving size while snacking. Add these to any salad for a more wholesome meal. Read more 
almonds (10 = 70-80 calories) rich in manganese, vit E, copper.
walnuts (1/4 cup = 163 calories) omega 3 fatty acids, manganese.
sunflower seeds roasted (1/4 cup = 67 calories) rich in selenium, magnesium, vitE.
pumpkin seeds (1 tbsp = 60 calories) has anti-inflammatory benefits in arthritis.
Make your own fruit and nut chocolates. For recipe go here.

Raw sprouted moong for snack
Sprouted Beans 
Sprouting beans increases their nutritive value by decreasing their calorific content by 15%, increasing their protein availability by 30% and increasing their vitamin A, B, C content by an astounding amount. Sprouts are rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Sprouts should preferably be eaten raw or briefly steamed lest they loose much of the vitamins.
The beans most suitable for sprouting are Kala Chana, Moong whole and Black eye beans. Soak them overnight. Drain out all the water and cover the container tight. Leave in a warm area to allow the beans to sprout. In colder climate it might take several days (2-3) for sprouting to occur.
Cooked sprouted moong salad for lunch
Eat them raw as a snack or use them in a salad. Steam in a pressure cooker with just 1/4 cup of water only till it whistles. Shut the heat and quickly remove them from the cooker, otherwise they get overcooked. 
I usually combine these with chopped red onion, cucumber, green chilies, fresh coriander, salt and lime juice. Sometimes I also add tomato, grated carrots and boiled potato. This salad makes a wholesome lunch liked by kids and adults alike. 

A rich source of vitamins and minerals and high in protein, one egg only contains 75 calories. Boiled egg is a wonderful snack at any time of day. Serve it over a salad for lunch.
Here is a great snack idea - Deviled eggs with guacamole. See recipe here . A wonderful breakfast idea, recipe here .

A cup of berries is only 65 calories, a medium banana or a pear or an apple is 100 calories. These are all snacks on the go and with great nutritional benefits. other ways to incorporate fruits in your snack:

  1. Combine these with nuts for example almond butter for enhanced taste. 
  2. Dip fruit small quantities of dark chocolate for more flavor and variety. 
  3. Add fruits to your salad.

More Snack and lunch ideas next week...........until then.

No comments:

Post a Comment