At 4 PM you begin fidgeting in your seat again, but it’s not really your stomach but your mind growling, asking for something to munch on.
So you reach out for that same old laddoo from someone's mundane ceremony adding up a whooping 200 plus odd calories to your today’s diet.
Then you go make some Maggi, or open that packet of chips you had hidden (obviously not well enough) to munch on.
There are three main reasons for people to feel hungry around 4.00. Either you skipped lunch or the meal was not satisfying, or you are simply bored and there is a lull in work at that point so you veer towards mindlessly munching, or someone else around you is snacking.
Now snacking is not bad. It won’t make you fat—only too many calories will do that.
In fact, right snacking can actually help increase your metabolic rate and stimulate your body to burn more fat, and fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet. All you need to do is to get smart about it.
Try these 11 really easy and quick options.
1. Kurkure Baby Corn
Heat the oil.
Add the baby corn (slit into 2 parts and blanched) and sauté for 2 minutes on medium flame.
Add ¼th tsp chilli flakes, ½ tsp vinegar and salt to taste and sauté for 2 minutes.
Garnish with oregano and serve hot
2. Desi Chaat
Chop boiled potatoes and make into a chaat-like salad with crushed chivda, roasted chana, papad, imli sauce, dahi, sprouts, pomegranate seeds, and chopped cucumber.
3. Crunchy Mushrooms
Get big sized mushrooms.
Wash well and remove the stem.
Stuff the hole with soft cheese seasoned with salt and pepper (you can also stuff with left over keema or paneer bhurjee).
Dip in a paste made of maida, milk, salt and pepper and air fry.
Eat with salsa.
4. Spicy Paneer Snacks
Make a paste with adrak, lehsun, yoghurt, salt, pepper and little oil.
Add a pinch of haldi.
Marinate cubes of paneer (coat well). Let it sit for an hour. Then put in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
When done, place them on a bed of lettuce or baby spinach, and sprinkle herbs of choice on top.
5. Quick Cheese Balls
Wet bread slices with little water and squeeze out all the water.
Break the squeezed bread to small pieces in a plate.
Add grated cheese, chopped onion, green chillies, coriander leaves and salt to the bread.
Mix all the above well so that the mixture resembles a dough. Roll out into equal balls.
Deep fry and serve hot with ketchup or chutney.
6. Feta and Apple Bowl
Chop an apple, crumble some feta cheese, a few roasted fox nuts (makhana) and a tbsp of roasted flaxseeds.
Mix and dig in (does not need any seasoning as feta is salty enough).
7. Egg Salad
Chop a boiled egg, toss in some baby spinach or torn lettuce leaves, lots of fresh coriander, a tbsp of mayonnaise or hung curd, season and dig in.
8. Sprouts Mix
Make a bed of lettuce, add chopped beetroot, some bean sprouts, some carrot sticks, sprinkle some feta (or any other soft cheese like goat cheese) and some roasted peanuts, season and dig in.
9. Cheesy Vegetables
Reheat in a pan the leftover veggies (any you have handy) with lots of garlic, a mashed potato, and a bit of cheese… So satisfying!
10. Cracker Delight
On a cheese cracker spread some cream cheese, spread finely chopped mixture of red and yellow peppers, spring onions, garlic.
Season on top with some pepper and bite in.
11. Tangy Channa Mix
Mix sprouted (or boiled) kala channa, chopped apple, chopped tomato add salt to taste, a generous squeeze of lemon or tamarind chutney, and saunth too in you have it handy.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa))