Top 10 Healthy Nigerian Snacks

by op-ed contributor
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Faster than anything, eating snacks is one of the best ways to get rid of hunger and satisfy the desire to munch on something. Many snacks are unhealthy sources of fat deposits in your body, but you can maneuver this with healthy Nigerian snacks available to just about anybody. It’s safe to say that the average Nigerian can’t go a day without munching on snacks, especially if you’re buying rather than preparing from scratch.

There are many snacks peculiar to the Nigerian community. However, this article aims to enlighten you on some healthy Nigerian snacks that you can consume freely and happily. You’ll find the common local names where applicable and a brief explanation of how they benefit your health.

10 Healthy Nigerian Snacks

  1. Puff Puff

This snack is popular everywhere in the nation. Both young and old Nigerians take it because of its taste and smooth texture. Puff-puff is typically prepared with flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and water. The dough is left to rise for about half an hour, and then small puffs are deep-fried in vegetable oil until it turns brownish.

Some people add raw or dry pepper to it to give it a tangy feeling on the tongue: this is common to the Yoruba tribe. You can even make it rich by adding eggs and butter, but this often affects the texture, so using fewer ingredients is better.

Nigerian puff puff is highly rich in protein, and for better benefits, the oil used in frying should be cholesterol-free.

  1. Meat pies

Sometimes called mince pies, this is another typical healthy Nigerian snack that gives you an explosive taste experience. Many people prefer eating it with ice cream because the combination is simply unique. The Nigerian meat pie varies in size, texture, and price, depending on the kind of processing it is subjected to. Baked meat pies are always more expensive than fried ones.

The perfect meat pie has the proper filling between the dough. The filling contains a mix of carrots, meat (beef or chicken), Irish potato, and some spice to get the expected taste. The meat serves as a source of protein in the body for bone, muscle, and skin health. Carrot provides vitamin A which is beneficial to improve eyesight. It also contains a lot of dietary fibers that help prevent constipation and reduce cholesterol levels in the body.

The best way to reap the benefits of a Nigerian meat pie is to get the baked version. All ingredients in this version still have a lot of nutritional benefits compared to the fried version.

  1. Chin-chin

Chin-chin is another popular and affordable healthy snack in Nigeria. It is made from dough containing flour, butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, eggs, nutmeg, milk, and any flavours like vanilla or cinnamon to enrich its taste.

The beauty of chin-chin is that it allows experiments and exploration. If you’re making it yourself, you get to decide how much milk, flavor, and eggs you want in it. The richer it is, the better for your health. Flour contains carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and Vitamin B3, all of which have essential nutritional roles in the body. Milk and eggs also serve as a protein source for growth and development.

Chin chin is a healthy Nigerian snack for both the old and young. Keep in mind that it only remains nurturing if you don’t consume it in excess.

  1. Egg roll

This is sometimes called “egg buns” by many Nigerians. Over 80% of Nigerians eat egg rolls with carbonated drinks to fill up quickly, even though the combination might not be entirely healthy.

Egg roll is a combination of a hard-boiled egg wrapped inside a rich, flexible flour dough and deep-fried to make it edible and presentable. The boiled egg is a healthy source of protein, and the dough provides other classes of foods. Eating egg buns is almost similar to eating a balanced diet.

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  1. Boli

Boli (or roasted plantain) is a favorite to many Nigerians. As the name suggests, it is made by roasting ripe or unripe plantain on a charcoal grill until it changes colour and gives off its signature aroma that fills the air. Eating this snack with groundnut produces a taste that is always extraordinary and super delicious.

Unripe plantain has a lot more nutritional benefits than a ripe one. Plantains are a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, calcium, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Plantains have substantial vitamin C and B6 levels, which serve as immune boosters, mood boosters, and protectants against cardiovascular diseases. So, enjoy the super-delicious and healthy Nigerian snack when it comes into season.

  1. Suya

If you’re a meat lover, suya and kilishi make wonderful snacks. They are satisfying and give you a spicy and delicious taste that makes you want to continue eating. You can grill it yourself at home or get it from the roadside, usually at night.

For a healthy snack, though, you want to grill at home. Sprinkle some salt, onion, and pepper on it and eat it with cabbage. Oh, God! It’s heavenly. If you must buy outside, make sure to request good onions and cabbage slices because these vegetables help neutralize the toxins from the roasting smoke. Suya spice or yaji is also very beneficial to the body. It contains cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, onion, and sometimes paprika. This combination is all the firepower you need to reduce high blood pressure and boost the immune system by secreting antioxidants.

  1. Akara

Yummy, yummy! My love for akara is not from here. Akara is a healthy Nigerian snack equally served as breakfast or dinner in many Nigerian homes. In the English language, it is called “Beans cake” because it is made from grounded beans, pepper, onions, and spices and then deep-fried in vegetable oil.

Remember, for health benefits; the oil has to be cholesterol-free. If you choose to eat Akara as food, you can take it with PAP, bread, or garri. It’s highly rich in soluble dietary fibers and protein and is highly beneficial for healthy weight loss.

Read also: 10 bodybuilding foods in Nigeria

  1. Corn 

Corn is easily the most abundant food crop in Nigeria, next to rice. It has been subjected to different processing methods in the Nigerian community and has never disappointed in bringing new meal varieties to our lives.

As a healthy Nigerian snack, corn is either boiled or roasted. In both forms, it is a typical street food that different categories of Nigerians consume alone or in combination with either pear (ube) or coconut. Corn is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and carotenoids. These substances help the body fight diseases, strengthen eye health, support healthy blood pressure, and aid digestion and bowel movement.

  1. Dankwa

This is not a very popular healthy Nigerian snack. It is a Northern Nigerian ball-shaped snack derived from millet, groundnut, corn, and pepper to enhance its taste and nutritional benefits. It has a very soft texture that melts immediately it touches your tongue.

If you ever find yourself in any part of northern Nigeria, make it a mission to taste the glory of these delicious balls. It gives you the same benefits of eating groundnuts, millets, and corn which are collectively rich in fibre, carbohydrate, and vitamins. It also provides antioxidants and beneficial body acids (e.g., folate acid) that protect mental health, fertility, blood sugar, and memory strength.

  1. African Walnut

The local Youba name for African walnut is Awusa. It is one of the most popular healthy Nigerian snacks that only a few people know and love. The nuts are edible nuts that grow in the northern parts of Nigeria. The easiest and most reliable confirmatory test for walnut is the signature bitter taste on your tongue when you drink water after eating a nut.

Walnuts aid digestion, reduce blood sugar levels and boost the immune system. This isn’t just any nutritious snack. It is an interesting food product that protects the body from chronic diseases, including cancer, liver failure, and cardiovascular disorders.

Read also: How to live a healthy lifestyle

In conclusion

Snacks are light foods that you consume either between meals or as the main meal. You must be aware of the categories of snacks that would benefit you more and may be able to compensate if you’re not able to get actual meals for one reason or the other.

Remember that “health is wealth.” So, to help you stay healthy as you proceed with your daily hustles, this concise list of healthy Nigerian snacks will go a long way for you. Go ahead and bookmark this page so you can access it anytime you’re having trouble deciding what to munch on.

Read also: How to keep your body glowing

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About the Author

My name is Pelumi Lawal, a graduate of Physiology. I am a business enthusiast and can monetize almost anything. I enjoy gisting, Bollywood movies, taekwondo, and food. I am a very passionate person who can achieve anything once I set my mind to it. I just recently pick an interest in writing and I hope to grow and improve my skills.

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