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Eat right: Healthy alternatives to processed snacks


Burger - Stu SpivackBurgers, fries and other processed foods are extremely unhealthy. Opt for whole wheat buns if you must. Source: stu_spivack/Twitter

Although easily available, processed foods really don’t do much for your health. They’re almost always packed with sugar, sodium, a whole bunch of artificial additives, colouring agents, trans fats – basically everything that your doctor urges you to stay away from. Eating healthy takes a bit of an effort but is not all that difficult. All you need to do is find a healthy replacement for your favourite snack. So the next time you’re eating out, call for a whole wheat wrap instead of a carb-loaded burger and switch to healthier choices when snacking at home or at work.

Nachni chips

Nachni chips, Delight Foods-cropNachni chips are high in iron, gluten free and full of fibre. Source: Delightfoods website

We all love chips or highly salted potato slices that promise a lot of crunch and guilt soon after. Try nachni (ragi) chips instead for a health boost. Nachni or finger millet is a rich source of calcium and iron. The grains are loaded with fibre, making it a great weight-loss snack that’s also going to fill you up. Plus, finger millets are completely gluten free, so if you’re gluten-intolerant, this is your snack to pick. Several food delivery websites now stock nachni chips, and you can keep a packet or two at your desk for break-time munchies.

Home made cereal

A bowlful of chilled milk and cereals make perfect sense when you’re hungry in the middle of the night, but they are mostly full of sugar and artificial colours. Make your own cereal mix using a handful of ingredients like quick rolled oats, dried figs, chopped almonds, raisins, a tablespoon each of sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, flavoured with nutmeg and cinnamon powder. Skip the sugar and add some honey to sweeten the milk.

pop corn - jim makosA serving of popcorn contains as many as 30 calories. Source: Jim Makos/Flickr


Contrary to popular belief, popcorn is actually a healthy snack – but only if it is made using vegetable oil and a light sprinkling of salt. With as much as 30 calories per serving, popped corn makes for a far healthier nibble than a bag of chips while you’re vegetating in front of the telly.


Replace hummus for mayonnaise the next time you’re stocking up your fridge with dips. Mayonnaise tastes great, yes, but it’s really not all that good for your heart (or your waistline) as it is high on saturated and trans-fats that can put you at risk of cardiovascular ailments in the long run. Chickpeas in hummus have high fibre content, a fair amount of protein while condiments like garlic and olive oil, only help enhance the flavour along with the overall nutritive count. Pair with carrots cut into long strips and munch on.
You can also make creamy hummus at home. Watch how to do it:


If you’re the kind who has a pack of biscuits on your desk at all times, replace that with a jar of peanuts. They’re far healthier and have sufficient amounts of mono unsaturated fatty acids that are great for the heart, apart from antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help with overall wellness.


Your sweet tooth need not suffer, even when you’re cutting down on store-bought desserts. For the customary post-dinner dessert, switch to a bowl of seasonal fresh fruits along with some raisins, walnuts, dates and sliced banana or a piece of dark chocolate (only if you can resist the urge to reach out for another piece).