There was a time when our local snacks and street snacks were not sausages, puff-puff, meat pie, egg buns and so on. Before the advent of refined wheat flour in Nigeria, we had many local snacks that were popular and consumed by many both on the streets and at home. Some of these good snacks and foods are still hawked on the streets and corners of our road but hygiene is something to think about when purchasing them from the streets.
Now that the rains have started, you might want to have some yummy snacks to nibble on when you are indoors more often. Why not choose healthy snacks:
- Corn and Coconut
Boiled fresh corn with some coconuts is a nice snack compared to eating sausages and buns. As a whole grain, boiled corn offers you quality carbohydrate and value for your money. In about 100g of the boiled yellow corn, you will find 24.7g of carbohydrates with fibre content of 3.7g. It will also give you about 88mg of potassium and just 3mg of sodium. When you compare this to the high sodium content of snacks made with refined flour you would be a bit sober.
If you add coconuts to the corn, you would get some fats; mostly saturated fats. The fibre content is about 11.45g for 100g of fresh coconut. Sodium content is also low like the boiled corn. Coconut kernel is high in potassium and has appreciable amount of some other minerals. For the vitamin content of both the corn and coconut, especially the water soluble vitamins, you would not get much out of them.
This snack will fill you up in no time because it is loaded with fibre. When you get the chance, top it up with some fruits to get other Vitamins and minerals. Please note, if you are giving them to children, watch out for allergies and choking.
- Boiled Groundnuts
The food markets are becoming flooded with fresh groundnuts. Buying a Derica of fresh groundnuts which is about 200 Naira is affordable and would serve as a great snack when its boiled for quite a number of people. Groundnuts are contain a lot of nutrients that are beneficial to the body. As a matter of fact, it is one of the widely used ingredients in the fight against undernutrition. It is also the reason weight watchers run from it or consume it in small quantities. It has great fat, protein and carbohydrate content as well as lots of minerals and vitamins in small quantities in relation to daily needs but it still contributes significantly to your daily intake of calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, Vitamin E,and Niacin. Most of the time we boil groundnuts with salt, so the sodium level of boiled groundnuts is usually about 750mg (daily intake should not more than 2300mg of sodium).
- Bush pear/African Pear (Ube)
The English name might appear strange but this is a fruit that is a common sight during this season and usually called the ‘Ibo pear’. The Bush pear is also called African pear or plum, butter fruit or Ube is more native to the southern part of Nigeria. While it may not be widely eaten, there is a lot to benefit from this fruit. It has about 18g of fat, 7.4g of protein, 15.5g of carbohydrate and 1.2g of fibre. Bush pear has about 6mg of iron, 279.5mg of potassium, 14.6mg of sodium. It also has some Vitamin C(13.4mg) and Beta carotene. There are other vitamins and minerals contained in Ube in very small quantities but I highlighted the ones that appear to stand out.
The fruit is usually eaten raw, cooked or roasted. Some traditions involve softening the ube with hot ashes but it can also be softened with hot water or a hot plate. The oil content is quite high so much that it can be used as regular cooking oil. The oil of African pear oil is made up of about 47% of Oleic acid, which is a mono unsaturated fatty acid (olive oil has about 70%; palm oil has 36%). It also contains about 44% of plamitic acid which is saturated fatty acid (palm oil has about 43%).
The tree is regarded as a medicinal one and the leaves, stem, bark and other parts of the tree have been used traditionally in the treatment of so many ailments. Some of them include Malaria, beriberi, ulcer, ear troubles, stomach disorders, digestive discomfort, insomnia, cough and many others.
Take the time to prepare them or buy the ones prepared and re-heat or wash them thoroughly before consumption.