Without a doubt, our busy schedules have greatly affected our daily routines. People are so busy that they hardly have time even for a meal, thus forcing them to settle on eating junk foods. For others, after a heavy breakfast, they might just want a light snack instead of lunch. The presence of fast-food joints at every turn makes it even easier for people to crave unhealthy snacks. It’s a known fact that these snacks have little or no benefits for the human body. So what are some healthy Nigerian snacks that we can still enjoy?
To begin with, what is a snack? A snack is a small portion of food generally eaten between meals. Snacks come in a variety of forms, including items made from fresh ingredients at home. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick, and satisfying. A snack eaten shortly before going to bed or during the night may be called a “bedtime snack”, “late night snack”, or “midnight snack”.
In the decades leading up to year 2000, Nigerians enjoyed good old snacks, like healthy biscuits and wafers from Nasco & Okin. We had no other options and we were better off for it because most of them are or made of whole foods! Ultimately, we may have given up a lot of these good old snacks in favor of processed and refined pies, cookies, and cakes. Even with advancement in technology, there are still a long list of healthy snacks you can enjoy with enormous benefits.
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Some Notable Nigerian Snacks
Peanuts (Groundnuts) – Healthy snack that can be enjoyed roasted or boiled (when in season). In the good old days, children wouldn’t even bother with removing the skins before shoving it down their throats, not knowing that they were healthier for it. People may scoff at the thought of eating peanuts in public, considering the smell that comes with it. In reality, though, peanut skins have a high amount of antioxidants and dietary fibre. They are also rich in protein and fat. Most of the fats they contain are known as “good fats” that actually help lower your cholesterol levels.
Cashew nuts – Although cashew nuts are not as in abundance as the other healthy snacks, they can often be found on the streets. Nigeria happens to be on the list of the world’s top five producers of cashew nuts, although they are mostly exported to countries around the world. Cashew nuts have good fats and no cholesterol, which helps keep the heart happy. They also contain magnesium for strong bones and muscles, as well as antioxidants, copper and potassium. So if you need to nibble on a healthy snack, reach out for your cashew nuts!
Tiger Nuts – Another healthy snack that can be enjoyed dried or fresh. These milky nuts which we so often overlooked are a superfood! Tiger nuts are rich in protein, fibre, heart healthy oils, magnesium, and potassium. These and other properties have been found to help fight against blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.
Boli (Roasted Plantain) – This is a dish native to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. In South West Nigeria, this healthy snack is eaten with groundnuts. It is popular as a snack for students and low income earners, and there is no class required to eat it… simply pure enjoyment.
Other Healthy Snacks
Fruits – In Nigeria, you almost always have your pick of the most delicious fruits – banana, water melon, avocado, mango, soursop, etc. These fruits can be eaten singularly or blended together as smoothies. Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, and they are high in fiber. These fruits also provide a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants, including flavonoids. Snacking on fruits can reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and diabetes.
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DANKWUA – One of the healthy traditional snack that originated from the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria. This peanut-flavoured delicacy is made from a spicy corn meal and groundnut paste. With the essential nutrients in groundnuts and the benefits gotten from corn meal, you have a super .healthy snack in dankwua. Why not go ahead and have a taste of it!
There are still other healthy snacks you can enjoy: moin moin, akara, kuli kuli, plantain chips, kokoro, etc. How many of these healthy Nigerian snacks have you ever eaten? I invite you to start enjoying the benefits of these healthy Nigerian snacks!
What do you think about these healthy Nigerian snacks? You are welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section below.