We often make the mistake of grabbing a bag of chips or cookies in the evening before dinner time. Actually, it’s kind of universal hunger time… or a universal bad habit of picking up on junk foods.
Packet food is an easy approach, for many of us. Evening hunger, if not taken care of, can throw our whole day of conscious eating healthy efforts into the bin. Happens with me a lot. The mind and the body are tired and I kind of give in at times, to whatever food, I can approach easily. It’s all up to the willpower, and the choice that we make during those particular hours.
I have a few ideas, quick recipes for you. Which are of course healthy, consider them small snacks. These can help you stay on the wellness path. These snacking ideas are great for kids too, but before that, I have a few tricks for you.
1. Drink water first, yes this works. Many times you are actually thirsty rather than hungry. If water isn’t your favourite thing, try flavouring it with lemon or cucumber first. Add few chia seeds in the water if you like them.
2. Reach out for a vegetable or for a fruit. It will fill you up and will nor ruin the dinner.
3. I have snack ideas for you below……. And if you can prepare your snack beforehand, you will not give yourself an excuse for being so tired to prepare the snack.
4. Try controlling the portion size too. Keep it fixed like a small or a medium size bowl at home. Every time you snack on something, make sure it fits into that bowl, nothing more than that. you won’t end up mindlessly eating more than you should.
1. Baked potato wedges – Don’t deep fry potato wedges. They are an excellent substitute for french fries.
How to- Season the potato wedges with salt & pepper and sprinkle with paprika, breadcrumbs and some of the parsley; carefully toss the wedges into the hot baking tray. Bake in the preheated oven until the potato is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are crisp about 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then toss with remaining parsley. They are great with homemade salsa and homemade yoghurt dips.
2. Popcorn – Air-popped popcorn is healthy and delicious too. Low in calories (about 30 calories per cup) and high in fibre, especially when compared to snacks like crisps.
3. Hummus with pita and veggies – it’s healthy when eaten in moderation. High in fibre, antioxidants, protein, etc.
How- In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, and ¾ teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
Eat favourite veggies with 2 to 3 tablespoons hummus. When it comes to veggies, try to get a blend of colours to maximize your nutrients. Some of my favourites are red peppers, carrots, cucumbers and broccoli. Veggies are low in calories and high in fibre and nutrients including antioxidants while the hummus contains a blend of healthy fat and protein.
4. Roasted nuts and seeds – If you haven’t thought about it before, you might consider roasted your own nuts and seeds at home. They are an amazing source of healthy fats, nutrients, fibre and vitamins, such as vitamin E, and a handy snack. But still, be conscious about the quantity you are consuming, as nuts have high-fat content too.
5. Fruit sorbet – I have a recipe here for you
6. Fruit yoghurts – made at home – In bowl mash berries with a fork to release their natural juice and sweetness. Add in greek yoghurt or (hung yoghurt) and use a wire whisk to combine well. Test for sweetness and add in a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to your desired sweetness. I make mango, vanilla, mixed berries, strawberry yoghurt at home. You can also add some granola and fruit pieces on the top for texture.
7. Yoghurt dips with fresh veggies or baked crackers.
Homemade yoghurt dips
8. Grilled vegetables with toasted bread slice, you can add a dollop of your favourite yoghurt dip too on the top.
How – In a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a roasting pan. Bajaj Majesty 1603 TSS Oven Toaster Grill Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and browned.
9. Oatmeal cookies – one will be enough with a cup of tea to fill you up till dinner time.
10. Frozen banana ice cream – You can have a banana as it is. It’s a super food. But once in a while turn it into an ice cream.
How to – Add frozen bananas to the food processor and blend.
Occasionally scrape down the sides and continue to blend until smooth, approximately 3-5 minutes.
Scoop into a bowl and enjoy immediately as a soft serve!
For firmer ice cream, you can place in an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 1 hour or more.
You can add in some frozen berries to enhance flavour.
11. Steamed, sautéed broccoli– Actually this is my younger daughters favourite snack. Its simple, quick and healthy.
How to – Steam broccoli cut into small florets, until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. While broccoli is steaming, finely chop garlic. Add garlic and a tiny amount of butter to a pan. Sauté steamed broccoli in for 3-4 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy hot.
12. Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, energy, sugar, and fibre. It also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
Their large pit can be taken out and replaced with cream cheese or nuts for an interesting texture.
Honestly, sometimes with my evening tea, I prefer a date instead of a cookie.
13. Bell pepper nachos – Toss the wedges of yellow and red bell peppers with olive oil, cumin, chilli powder and garlic powder. Season generously with salt and pepper. Lay the wedges on the baking sheets in single layers, cut-side up Bake until the peppers are crisp-tender.
Top bell peppers with pizza sauce, pickled jalapeños and salsa. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and hung yoghurt with some herbs together and drizzle over bell peppers.
14. Soup – when its winter or monsoon soups makes a perfect pre-dinner snack.
15. Zucchini pizza bites – Preheat oven to 400*F. Place slices of zucchini rounders on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake until slightly tender, 5 minutes.
Spoon a thin layer of pizza sauce over each slice, then top with mozzarella and olives. Sprinkle with dried oregano and bake until cheese is melted, 5-7 minutes. Enjoy hot!
16. Buttered corn cups– Add a tiny bit of butter and a clove of garlic to a pan on medium heat. Add boiled corn kernels and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and red chilly. I personally like to add chat masala and a hint of lemon juice too. This is delicious when served hot, especially during monsoon. (adding boiled red beans to the corn makes it more yum).
17. Sprout salad – Steamed sprouts mixed with chopped tomato and onion. You can also make it into sprout bhel by adding some puffed rice and homemade chutney.
18. Grilled pineapple – Place pineapple slices in a plastic bag. Add honey, butter, hot pepper sauce, and salt. Seal bag, and shake to coat evenly. … Grill pineapple for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until heated through and grill marks Borosil Super Jumbo BGRILLSS23 2000-Watt Grill Sandwich Maker (Black) appear.
19. Stuffed figs – My favourite…
How to – Whisk goat cheese till smooth and fill it in a piping bag. Pipe the cheese in the centre of sliced figs.
Lightly brush the figs with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper
Broil the figs for about 3-4 minutes or until you can see little brown bits on the goat cheese.
Remove figs from oven and drizzle with warm honey.
20. Chocolate milk, hot or cold. I have had milk in the evening all my childhood. A biscuit or a biscotti along works so well.
21. Marinated olive toast
How to – Combine olive oilBorges Extra Virgin Olive Oil -1L-glass bottle , vinegar, thyme and garlic in a small saucepan and heat just until warm over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in olives. Keep in a wide-mouthed jar and pour in the olive oil mixture. Shake the jar to coat the olivesFragata Pitted Black Olives 440g.
Have these olives on a toasted slice of multigrain bread Fragata Olives Plain Green 450g.
22. Chickpea salad – Combine boiled chickpeas with onions, peppers, celery, garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary in a medium bowl. Dress salad with vinegar and oil, salt and pepper. Easy and yum.
23. Cucumber yoghurt cups –
Cut the cucumber crosswise into 3-4 -inch pieces and with a melon-ball cutter scoop Bagonia 2 In 1 Melon Baller, Stainless Steel Multifunctional Dig Scoop With Fruit Carving Knife out the centres, forming a thick cups. Sprinkle the cucumber cups with salt and let them drain, inverted, on paper/kitchen towels for 10 minutes. In a bowl combine thick hung yoghurt, the scallions, the minced coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Pat the cucumber cups dry gently and fill the scooped out cavities with prepared yoghurt mixture.
I do prefer our traditional options like Poha, Upma, Thalipeeth, Uttappa etc. The choices we have are endless. Make sure you control the portion size. #healthyeating