We may have scared you off the biscuits and bhujia, but healthy snacking is crucial to a wholesome diet. Shubha Sabharwal, deputy chief dietitian, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, offers five recipes for nibbles that provide nourishment at half the calorie count of store-bought goodies, with negligible triglycerides and zero cholesterol. “Although they are on similar lines (as) commercially made snacks and mixtures, because of minimal usage of fats and refined cereals, these snacks are much more nutritious," she says.

Make your mix: Muesli is better than deep-fried bhujia.

Muesli mix

Servings: 4

Calories per serving: 110

Oats and brown rice pack a lot of dietary fibre, crucial for a healthy digestive system. Peanuts and almonds are both highly nutritive, with good fats, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

Ingredients

50g muesli

50g puffed brown rice

25g peanuts or almonds

Salt and chaatmasala to taste

Method: Dry-roast muesli and puffed rice on low heat till crisp. Separately roast peanuts or almonds. Cool and mix the two with salt and chaatmasala. Store in an airtight container.

Sweets with benefits

Servings: 4

Calories per serving: 122

Chana dal (split Bengal gram) is packed with protein and dietary fibre, while sesame seeds provide calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and vitamin B1, among other benefits. While jaggery contains high iron and copper levels, it has a higher Glycemic Index (GI) than refined sugar, which makes this recipe unsuitable for diabetics.

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Ingredients

50g jaggery

25g peanuts

10g sesame seeds

25g roasted chana dal

Method: Roast peanuts and remove husk. Roast sesame seeds and chana dal separately. Mix all ingredients with jaggery and ground coarsely. Roll into laddoos. Store in an airtight container.

Healthy ‘chivda’

Servings: 4

Calories per serving: 135

Rice flakes have a higher iron content than boiled rice. Combined with cornflakes, they pack niacin (vitamin B3), thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and folic acid (vitamin B9), for a snack that works well as a filler between meals.

Ingredients

50g rice flakes

50g cornflakes

25g peanuts

25g roasted chana dal

A few curry leaves

A pinch of heeng (asafoetida)

Chaatmasala to taste (optional)

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp oil for tempering

Method: Roast rice flakes in a wok on low flame, till crisp. Cool and add cornflakes. Also roast peanuts separately. Cool and mix all the ingredients. Sprinkle salt and chaatmasala. Heat oil and add asafoetida and curry leaves. Add this to the mixture and store in an airtight container.

Spicy oat cakes

Servings: 2

Calories per serving: 80

Oats have a higher level of soluble fibre than all other grains and are amazingly high in calcium, potassium and magnesium, together with lots of vitamin B, vital for a healthy nervous system.

Ingredients

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup sooji (semolina)

1 cup curd

A pinch of turmeric (optional)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp carrots, grated

1 tbsp capsicum, finely diced

1 tbsp coriander and green chillies, chopped

1 cup of green chutney

Salt to taste

Method: Roast sooji and oats separately in a wok for 4-5 minutes. Cool and mix together. Add salt, curd, coriander and green chillies to make a thick, smooth batter. Add baking soda and mix thoroughly. Grease a thali (deep plate) with oil. Pour half the mixture in. Sprinkle carrots and capsicum over, saving a little for garnish. Add a layer of green chutney and pour the rest of the batter on top. Steam the thali in a saucepan with 2 glasses of water for 10-15 minutes. Check whether done by inserting a knife (it should come out clean). Garnish with veggies and cut into 2-inch triangles or squares. Serve with chutney.

Protein-packed kebabs

Servings: 2

Calories per serving: 85

Gorge on proteins with kala chana (Bengal gram), soya beans and soya granules, along with spinach for iron and folate.

Ingredients

1/2 cup pre-soaked kala chana

1/2 cup pre-soaked soya beans

1/4 cup pre-soaked soya granules

100g spinach

50g coriander

1-2 green chillies

1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp whole garam masala

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp oil

Method: Coarsely grind together chana, soya beans, spinach, coriander, green chilli, garam masala and salt in a blender. Add squeezed soya granules and ginger-garlic paste; blend again. Make small flat, round kebabs and cook in a non-stick grill or pan till golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with green chutney.

Compiled by Vasudha Rai.

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