We all have an inner child in us, which chooses to surface every time there are chips or other oily fried snacks in the vicinity.
Many of us indulge in these chips/crunchy cravings of ours while we are around our kids. And this is true from my own personal experience.
So why give up our crunchy snacks, and why make are kids give it up too. Kids don’t know the difference between healthy and junk, all they want is tasty snacks – and as my son adorably describes all crispy snacks – “Food that makes noise”.
All we need to do is change our perception, and put in a little effort, and I can assure you or your child would never want to pick up that packet of potato chips again.
I’ve put together a list of healthy snacks to satisfy our crispy cravings. Always remember any snack should be served in a small or medium sized bowl, as moderation is a key to good health.
I understand the time constraints that many of you face, and would want the easiest and quickest possible recipes available, so I’ve styled by list starting with the easiest and ending with recipes that require a bit more effort to make. I assure you all the recipes are extremely satisfying with the added bonus of being packed with healthy nutrients.
- Roasted Fox nuts : Popularly called Makhana in India, it’s the easiest of the lot and packed with health benefits. Why open a packet of cheese puffs, if you have Fox nuts at hand. Just heat a teaspoon of ghee or oil, add a hand full of fox nuts and roast for 2 – 3 minutes. And Enjoy.
Shelf life –Fox nuts lose their crunch if stored too long and are best eaten on the same day. But they are so easy to make, that it’s not even a bother to make daily if required.
- Popcorn – Popcorn is an all-time favourite and can go both ways on your health balance. Buy a pack of pre-seasoned, ready to pop, packet of microwave popcorn and you are loading yourself with excessive salt and preservatives and most probably even trans fats. Whereas pop a cup of natural popcorn on your stove with a teaspoon of butter or oil and you have a wonderful, light and healthy snack which you can season any way you want.
Shelf life – can be kept in an airtight container for 1 – 2 days.
- Chapati (Roasted wheat bread) crisps – An alternate to your packet of air filled, trans fats laden packet of potato chips.
Just cut up some day old chapattis (whole wheat breads) into triangles or squares or however you like. Toss it with 2 teaspoons of oil and any spice or seasoning you want – I prefer mine with garlic powder, a pinch of salt, pepper and oregano. Bake in a preheated oven at 160°C for 10 – 12 minutes, toss once check for crunchiness and bake for another 6 – 8 minutes. And Enjoy.
This recipe can also be made with whole wheat pita bread.
Shelf life – can be kept in an airtight container for up to two days – that is if they last that long.
- Baked Sweet potato or banana chips –
Yes chips, I know I initially said skip the chips, but I meant the fried kind. There is nothing wrong in baking your chips. And trust me the sweet potato ones are the best. Because of their mildly sweet flavor, they hardly require any salt.
Turn the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with foil.
Thinly slice your sweet potato and put in a bowl of chilled water. Pat the sweet potato slices dry with some kitchen paper or a clean towel and arrange on the tray.
Mix with 2 tsp of oil and lightly stir to coat all sides.
Spread them out again so they are mainly in contact with the foil.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown, turning once half way through. Keep an eye on them towards the end as they can quickly turn from done to burnt.
Shelf life – 2 – 3 days in an airtight container.
- Puffed Rice Mixture (Kurmura chivda) – This is a favorite with my son, and he actually prefers these over a packet of store bought snacks or banana chips. And I am not kidding. The best part of this recipe is you can add whatever you like.
1 – 2 cups of Mouri or Puffed Rice (As much as you want)
Hand full of Roasted Chickpea/Roasted peanuts/Roasted Foxnuts
- 2 tsp oil
- Mustard seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Curry leaves
- Flax seeds & sesame seeds
- Turmeric powder
- Chilli powder and salt
Heat oil in a pan, temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds, flax seeds and sesame seeds (you can even add chopped green chilies if you prefer it spicier). Add all the dry spices and then add the puffed rice or Kurmura and roast thoroughly till is gives of a nice aroma and is well coated with the spices. Turn of the heat and add the whole grams/peanuts/foxnuts or a bit of everything.
Shelf life – 4 -5 days in an air tight container
- Roasted chickpeas – This is a more recent addition to my list, tried it after I read a bit about it on the net, and wasn’t really convinced how chickpeas would taste in a crunchy form, or if they would even turn crunchy. But all my doubts were put to rest after I actually tried and tasted it. It’s the best protein packed snack I can recommend to anyone be it someone looking for weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain or just for plain munching. The recipe is also pretty simple to follow.
- 1 cup boiled chickpeas – not made very soft, or you could say semi – boiled.
- 2 tbsp oil
Seasonings of your choice.
Boil your chickpeas after soaking them overnight and boil either in a sauce pan with sufficient water. Or in a pressure cooker for a 1 -2 whistles. Drain and dry the boiled chick peas thoroughly, the lesser the moisture the quicker it takes to roast. Mix with oil and salt. Roast in a preheated oven at 200 °C for 15 minutes, toss and roast for another 10 minutes or until crunchy. Mix with other seasonings of spices.
After the success of the recipe I thought to myself why stick with only chickpeas and tried the same recipe with some other pulses as well. Like whole green gram (moong), White peas (Vatanas) and green peas. All of these turn crunchy and are tasty the same way.
You could also make a crunchy pulse mix to munch in the evenings.
Shelf Life – 1 – 2 days in an airtight container – though mine didn’t last that long.
- Baked crispy Okra – this one is actually more of a lunch side than a snack, but still falls in the crispy category. And again usually made to special requests from my little one.
It’s actually a traditional recipe in Gujarat in Western India. This is normally deep fried. All I’ve done is just baked it instead of frying it with the same results.
Okra (Bhindi) sliced into thin strips
- 1 tbsp Chickpea Flour
- 1 tsp oil
- Red chilli powder
- Dry Mango powder (Amchur)
- Cumin seed (Jeera) powder
Mix all the ingredient with the Okra and keep for 30 minutes, spread out on a greased oven dish and bake at 160 °c in a pre – heated oven for 10 minutes. Stir once and bake again for 10 minutes or until crispy.
Shelf life – Eat on the same day prepared as it doesn’t keep
- Multigrain / sweet potato / pumpkin crackers.
Last but not the least, homemade crackers, with the added goodness of pumkin or sweet potato. I love these, they are extremely healthy, but yes they are also a bit tedious.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup ragi/nachni flour (or any flour blend you chose to use)
- 2 tbsp toasted flaxseed (ground or whole)
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup of sweet potato puree (two small boiled sweet potatoes mashed with 1/4 cup milk)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
- 2 tsp mixed herbs (optional)
- pepper or paprika (optional)
- sesame seed to top
- kalonji (nigella) seeds to top
Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together into a large bowl. Place sifted flour mixture, butter, flax seeds and herbs and spices in the bowl of your food processor and pulse for a few times, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
Add the sweet potato puree and pulse a few more times.
The dough should blend together.If you find that it has dried a little you could add a bit of milk but, be careful not to make it too soft. Knead the dough with your hand and divide it into 4 – 5 large portions.
Roll each portion as thin as you can, an easy tip for rolling thin portions is to roll them in between wax paper or cling wrap. If you want to top them with sesame seeds, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and roll once with your rolling pin to seal the seeds. Cut into any desired shape and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
You can also store half the dough in the freezer for later use.
Shelf – life – keeps easily for a week in an airtight container.
NOTE: All recipes are a regular in my kitchen and have passed quality and taste tests by my 3 year old son.