A handful of goodness, dry fruit snack options for healthier diet
TNIE reporter Arya U R takes a look at how dry fruits and nuts are emerging as a healthy snacking option, especially for people leading hectic lives.
Published: 21st January 2023 08:41 AM | Last Updated: 21st January 2023 08:41 AM | A+A A-
KOCHI: Dry fruits have been trending these days, especially among the health-conscious and those who lead fast-paced lives. They are packed with vital nutrients, and some are said to be immunity boosters. Almonds, cashews, badam, pistachio, walnuts, raisins, figs, and apricots, aren’t just mere food
items to snack on. They can be made into healthy recipes, too. Dry fruit recipes can be a major time saver and a solution to erratic eating patterns, especially among the youth.
“Pandemic made people more health conscious. As a result, consumption of dry fruits has increased; they are rich in antioxidants and vitamin benefits,” says Dr Manju P George, chief dietitian at VPS Lakeshore Hospital, Kochi. “They are said to be good for haemoglobin levels and healthy skin, too.”
There are some people who should keep a check on their dry fruit consumption, cautions Manju. “Those with diabetes should consume portions as per medical advice. Similarly, those with gastric issues should check with experts,” she adds.
But, generally, dry fruits are being recommended as a healthy snacking option. Health experts suggest assorted dry fruits could be ideal for those who tend to skip their meals due to their hectic schedules.
“Nuts play a vital role in balancing your metabolism. Take some handfuls of nuts to your workspace to snack on,” says Manju. “Nuts are good intermittent snacks as they are rich in good cholesterol and enrich HB levels, too. Also, three to four dates or raisins can help curb sugar cravings.”
In case of intermittent snacking, instead of depending on packet snack bars, Manju shares an easy snack tip. “For ready-to-eat snacks, roast some nuts, grind them and make them into small balls. The same can be done with dry fruits mixed with oats. Adding the paste of almonds, cashew, and peanuts in curries and side dishes, too, are healthy options,” she says.
Kozhikode native and an executive chef based in Abu Dhabi, Shibin K P, says dry fruits and nuts are believed to keep heart diseases away. “Cashew nuts have mono-saturated fats which is good for those with heart diseases. Whereas in dry fruits, the presence of potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and vitamins A, D, B6, K1, and E make them a must in our diets,” he adds.
Executive chef Yogender Pal of Grand Hyatt, Kochi, picks roasted almonds and cashews as his favourite snacks amid his hectic work schedule. Hazelnuts are trending these days, he adds. “From coffees, spreads, cakes, and salads, this exotic nut is used in many recipes, and is popular among all age groups. Though pistachio, cashew and almonds still rule, apricots are also used for savoury dishes and desserts.”
Dry fruits and children
Manju says dry fruits can be given to even babies aged seven months and above. Instead of sugar, the mashed pulp of soaked dates and raisins can be added to baby food, she adds. Shibin, too, says nuts like almonds, cashew, and walnuts and dry fruits like apricots and figs are good for children. “I suggest a daily intake of two or three nuts along with one or two dry fruits unless they have some allergy,” he adds.
Nutty Creamy Smoothie
Dates soaked -5 to 6
Mixed Nuts -1/4 cup (can use cashews,almonds,walnut,peanuts)Banana-2 or 3
Milk-2 cups( can be replaced with soy milk or almond milk)
- Blend together soaked dates, mixed nuts, banana and 1 cup milk and make a smooth paste.
- Add the remaining 1 cup of milk and honey and blend once more.
- Your nutty creamy smoothie is ready to serve.
Dry fruit Snack Bars
Sunflower seeds - 1/2 cup
Pumpkin seeds - 1/2 cup
Almonds - 1/2 cup
cashew nuts - 1/2 cup
Rolled oats - 2 cups
Honey - 1/2 cup
Dried blueberries- 1/4 cup
Dried cranberries -1/4 cup
Flax seeds - 2 tbsp
Dates - 1 cup (pitted)
Walnuts - 1/4 cup
- Dry roast the seeds, nuts and rolled oats separately in a pan for three-four minutes on medium flame.
- Add them to a mixing bowl and cool down together.
- Grind the pitted dates.
- Add the pitted dates, blueberry, cranberry, and honey and mix well.
- Use clean hands to combine them well.
- Pour the mixture into a lined baking tray, press and flatten to set into a slab add some dried berries and press with the back of the spoon.
- Refrigerate for one hour to set the mix.
- Demold the slab and cut it into bars or squares.
- Store in an air-tight container and can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks.
Healthy Granola bar
Hazelnut-50gms, Walnut- 50gms, Dry Apricot-50gms
Pistachio- 50gms, Oats- 100gms, Honey- 200gms
- Roast the nuts at 150 degree Celsius in the oven for 30minutes.
- Take it out and cool it.
- Heat the honey to 105 degree Celsius in a pan, add all the left over ingredients into it and cook it for 2minutes.
- Take it out from the pan; put it on a silicon mat to flatten it with the help of a rolling pin.
- Once it has set and hard, cut it into desired shapes.
Dried Apricot -1 cup
Dried Figs -1 cup
Prunes -1 cup
Dates without seed- 1cup
Sugar- ½ cup
Pine Nuts 2 tsp
Warm water-6 cups
Dry Coconut Powder for Garnish
- Cut the dried fruits into equal sizes except for the prunes, which are better left whole.
- In a large bowl or decanter, pour water in the sugar and either the vanilla or orange blossom and then stir.
- Add in all the chopped fruits, dates and prunes to soak.
- Chill in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours minimum or overnight.
- Add the nuts just before serving cold in small bowls.
Lamb Tagine with Dry Fruits
Olive Oil- 2 tsp, Lamb- 2 kg,
Onion- 4 nos, Chopped Garlic- 1 tsp,
Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp,
Ginger- 1 tsp, Black pepper-¼ tsp,
Saffron- a little, Fresh coriander,
Carrots-2 nos, Tomato Paste - 2
spoons,Dry fruits,Dry Prunes ,
Almonds, Dry peaches, Dry Apricot,
Honey- 3 tbsp, Ground cinnamon- 1tsp, Salt to taste
- Place lamb in a large bowl and put 2 tsp of olive oil and toss to coat.
- Mix together cinnamon, salt, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and saffron in a large resealable bag. Add lamb to the bag and toss around to coat well. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a. Add 1/3 of the lamb and keep it for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Cook onions and carrots for 5 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and ginge cook for 5 minutes.
- Return lamb to the pot and stir with tomato paste, saffron, fresh coriander and black pepper.
- 8. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Stir until meat is tender. Add all dry fruits in the hot pot and serve hot.