Those 4 pm cravings are real! But instead of reaching out for a bag of potato chips or a pack of Oreos, what if we made things a bit healthier? There’s no reason we can’t enjoy ourselves and be good to our bodies at the same time.
With that in mind, here are some savoury and sweet snack ideas to beat those late-afternoon hunger pangs. Enjoy them with a cup of your steaming, hot vegan chai in the early evenings.
Some recipes take prep work and can be labour-intensive so save those for the weekends when you have more time on your hands. These recipes are marked with two ** below.
BENEFITS OF AIR FRYER:
You’d observe that I have used the air fryer in quite a few recipes. That’s because it’s one of the best ways to reduce intake of deep-fried foods, especially in snack items. Truth be told, my journey to healthy eating began with my air fyer during the Lockdown period of 2020. It’s a boon in so many ways and continues to occupy pride of place on my kitchen counter.
The other significant advantage of an air fryer is that you can’t make very large batches of any item. So it’s automatic portion control, just enough to satisfy that craving and keep those hunger pangs at bay.
NO AIR FRYER?
You can use an OTG oven or the convection mode of the Microwave for the recipes that call for baking, but you may want to tweak the times/temperature accordingly.
For other items, you can shallow fry them in a saucepan with minimal oil. Again, I prefer to use a cast-iron tava/skillet instead of non-stick cookware.
- Sliced raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers and beetroots served with a vegan mayo dip.
- Roasted nuts – Peanuts/ Cashews/ Almonds – Roast the nuts at 170 degrees for 8 minutes in the air fryer. – Have about ⅓ cup of nuts per day or one handful.
- Roasted Makhana seasoned with salt/chilli powder/ chaat masala – You can either air fry them or roast them on a low flame with less than 1 teaspoon of oil
- Microwave Popcorn. Place ¼ cup corn in a wide-mouthed glass bowl. Add ½ tsp oil and mix well. Place it in the microwave and cover with a loose, microwave-safe ceramic plate. Microwave for 7 minutes until you hear the popping sounds stop.
- Air-Fried Jacket Potato wedges – Air -fried wedges are the best way to have potatoes. Keeping the potato skin on is healthy since it contains more antioxidants, potassium and magnesium. Make them with just a spoon of oil in the air fryer. https://youtu.be/JpoE-1eF8ZA?si=MU3aSPJmM0woeahf
- Peanut Masala Chaat: Air fry the peanuts for 8 minutes on 170 degrees. While they are roasting, chop tomatoes, onions, green chillies and coriander leaves finely. Add the air fried peanuts to the bowl and toss with salt and chaat masala. Squeeze half a lemon before serving.
- Steamed Veggies: Steam sliced carrots, beans, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and green peas. Place them in a colander on top of a vessel with water and cover them. Steam for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and toss them with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds/watermelon seeds/ sunflower seeds for a bit of crunch.
- Air-fried Idli: Make a few extra idlis when you prepare breakfast. In the evening, take the idlis and dice them into quarters. Add them to a bowl. Toss them in a spoon of oil, a pinch of turmeric powder, salt and chilli powder. Air fry them at 160 degrees for 10 minutes. A crunchy, tasty snack!
- Sundal: The healthiest way to have your pulses and possibly the tastiest. This does take some prep work the day before but it’s as easy as just soaking the pulses. There are many varieties you can try – Green moong sundal/ Chickpeas Sundal / Black channa Sundal/ Peanut sundal. With Navarathri around the corner, this is also a good way to brush up on your sundal skills 🙂 https://www.subbuskitchen.com/category/sundal-salad/
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries: https://youtu.be/hv9mPoNeJxA?si=UA_MlTRdecaX4BNK
- Air Fryer Masala Vada/ Channa Dal Vada: https://youtu.be/0XYYjmxhoI0?si=z3973yCtSTZZ1cCn
- Air Fryer/Oven Roasted Green Peas: https://www.cookitrealgood.com/roasted-peas/
- Khaman Dhokla: https://www.mercuryimp.com/2015/08/dhokla-without-curd.html
- **Air Fried Roasted Chickpeas: This one takes a bit more prep work, so save it for the weekends when you have more time. Make a large batch so it can last you for a few days. https://youtu.be/ko1OGIvoZbs?si=fXMohDHE9-crTUYm
- **Hara Bhara Kebab in the air fryer: Another tasty but time-intensive recipe, best suited for the weekends. https://youtu.be/ko1OGIvoZbs?si=fXMohDHE9-crTUYm
- **Onion Pakoda in the air fryer: https://youtu.be/dT2_8zvyJmY?si=alFd5lQCrXK285nO
- **Sabudana Vada in the air fryer: https://masalachilli.com/wprm_print/10856
This list of sweet snacks uses ingredients that are as healthy as possible. For instance, I don’t use any maida/ refined flour/ all purpose flour in them. Nor do I use white sugar. Where possible, I use brown sugar or jaggery. However, for absolute health benefits, it is advisable to avoid any form of sugar – white/brown/jaggery/ honey – and use natural sweeteners such as dates/figs/raisins instead.
The benefit of making these at home is that you can control the amount of sugar that goes into the recipe. Still, keep a check on portion sizes and number of helpings, if health is on your agenda 🙂
1. Air-Fried Granola Recipe: https://shailajav.com/nut-pulp-granola-vegan/
2. Chopped fruits: Make a bowl of sliced banana/apple/ papaya/ raisins/ dried cranberries. Sprinkle some seeds or nuts for that crunch factor and extra protein. If you’re particularly hungry, add a glass of plant milk to the bowl and a bit of rolled oats.
3. Peanut Laddoo (with jaggery) https://youtu.be/0tj2z1ckej8?si=WdQoG5ev_Cao8ACe&t=14
4. Whole Wheat Cookies
Whole wheat flour 1 cup
Baking powder 1/8 tsp
Elaichi powder 1/8 tsp OR Vanilla essence 1 tsp
Coconut oil or groundnut oil 1/3 cup
Jaggery 1/2 cup
Add jaggery and oil. Mix well.
Add baking powder to atta. Sieve them and keep aside.
Add wheat flour to jaggery mix and form a dough. Make cookies from the dough.
Keep the cookies on a greased plate in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven at 180 degrees for 5 minutes.
Bake at 180 for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove cookies and place them on wire rack. Allow to cool for 30 minutes
5. Ragi Wheat Cookies: https://youtu.be/KL_-rC1aT-w?si=_hbkvjqL1PoGb7j1
(Replace butter with vegan butter in this recipe)
6. Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pulp Cookies: https://cleananddelicious.com/wprm_print/36450
7. Vegan Banana Muffins:
4 Bananas (big sized ripe to overripe – 410 gram after peeling)
1.5 cup whole wheat flour (214 gram)
1/2 cup brown sugar of your choice
2/3 cup oil (150 ml + little more for greasing muffin moulds)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1. Take a big bowl and add bananas in it. Mash them using a fork or masher.
2. Add sugar and oil. Whisk them well so that everything incorporates.
3. Put a sieve over the bowl. Add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Sift them into the bowl.
4. Add Vanilla essence. Mix everything well but do not over mix.
Grease muffin moulds with oil.
Pour the batter in each mould till 3/4th.
Preheat air fryer @180°C/356°F for 5 minutes.
Arrange the moulds in air fryer basket.
Air fry @180°C/356°F for 10 minutes.
Bring the moulds out and let them cool completely.
Air Fried banana muffins are ready.
Demould and enjoy.
8. Vegan Apple Muffins: https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/wprm_print/136196/
9. Whole Wheat Toast with peanut butter, Banana slices and cinnamon powder
EXTRA RECIPES/ GROCERY ITEMS
1. Vegan Mayo Dip Recipe
Cashews: 1 cup (Soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
Garlic cloves: 3
Vinegar: 1 tsp
Lemon Juice: 2 tablespoons / Half a lemon
Salt: a Pinch
Mustard Powder: 1/4 tsp (optional)
Pepper Powder: 1/4 tsp (optional)
Very little water for pulsing
Pulse (don’t blend continuously) this all in the mixie until you get a creamy texture
2. Date Paste Recipe
1 cup of dates (seeds removed)
¾ cup water
*Soak dates in warm water, so that they are completely covered, for 2 hours or more.
*Add the dates and ¾ cup of water to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
* Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or freeze for three months.
3. Vegan Butter: I use this brand of vegan butter and it tastes incredible! Exactly like dairy butter. You can’t tell the difference. https://www.bigbasket.com/pd/40230653/white-cub-vegan-smooth-butter-fortified-with-vitamin-b12-d-200-g/
4. Vegan Ghee: https://www.amazon.in/EMKAY-LITE-INTERESTERIFIED-Vegan-GHEE/dp/B08LPR25SP/