By Kunal Kapur
New Delhi– In recent times, our lifestyles have become far more unpredictable, even as we stay home. We no longer have fixed schedules, especially when it comes to our meals. In fact, with work-from-home becoming the new norm, we find ourselves reaching out for a satiating snack repeatedly during the course of the day. When it comes to snacking, most people enjoy flavourful options that inspire a sense of joy — something we are all yearning for more often lately.
Prior to the ‘new normal’, a study conducted by Mintel revealed that 37 per cent Indians snack to relieve stress. Snacking habits are also encouraged by other emotional reasons like the desire for a treat (44 per cent) and taking a break (42 per cent).
Recent surveys suggest that taking more breaks during the work-day can increase productivity significantly. Stepping away from our work-from-home makeshift workstations can help us disconnect from our task lists and explore other activities to relieve stress and anxiety. Cooking has been found to be therapeutic; it gets our creative juices flowing and can have a calming effect too. Certain aromas are comforting to explore. These days, as we struggle with time management, we seek out options that are less time-consuming and still enjoyable like convenience foods, which can be prepared in our own different and unique ways.
An exciting snack always brightens up the mood and when we’re stressed or bored, it helps us feel good! At different times of the day, we may choose between dry snacks like biscuits and chips; fried foods like samosas and french fries or sweets of all kinds; many of us also prefer instant noodles and ready-to-eat options. However, overeating and fatty foods can make us bloated, lethargic and disrupt our patterns, which is why we should try and improve our snacking choices and habits like binge-eating. Snacking mindfully is the need of the hour, but without compromising on taste. Foods made out of poha, rava or sooji are popular for better eating, but similar preparations can also be enjoyed in delicious ways with oats.
Oats are incredibly nutritious and filling with many other benefits; but when it comes to Indian cooking, substituting your favourite recipe with oats can be challenging. The Indian palate is naturally inclined towards freshly prepared foods and savoury flavours like chutney, curry, lemon, masala and tomato; ready-to-eat products have now started to include these tastemakers into their compositions. One such mouthwatering range of products is Saffola Masala Oats, which comes in variants like Classic Masala, Masala & Coriander, Curry & Pepper, Peppy Tomato and Veggie Twist.
A tempting blend of desi masalas, crunchy vegetables and comforting spices that makes for a delightful indulgence, Saffola Masala Oats is easy to cook and highly customizable. It can be accompanied with raw vegetables, canapes, khakhra and if you are a non-vegetarian, you can also enjoy it with boiled eggs, pan-fried chicken or mutton. Its high fibre and protein content makes it a guilt-free bite suitable for anytime snacking. It can also be paired with a hot beverage like energising masala chai or a cold drink like refreshing lemon water.
The Mintel study explains that mindful eating has become an integral part of the snacking experience, with 51 per cent Indians actively seeking wholesome options, 46 per cent looking for added nutrition and 44 per cent excited by new flavours. If you are concerned by an increased frequency of snacking and limited choices, you can begin by controlling your portion sizes and selecting foods that can be customized easily. This will allow you to make your short visits to the kitchen creative and de-stressing. Read product labels to understand the nutritional profile and as far as possible, consume natural ingredients that can keep your stomach cool like yogurt, bananas, and so on. (IANS)