Snacking is a quick and easy way to satisfy hunger cravings. While some snacks are high in unhealthy fats, there are plenty of healthy options available in Nigeria. In fact, many Nigerians find it difficult to go a day without snacking, especially if they opt for pre-made snacks instead of preparing them themselves.
This article aims to provide information on healthy Nigerian snacks, including their local names and how they can positively impact your health.
Healthy Nigerian Snacks
1. Moi Moi
Moi Moi is a steamed bean pudding that is a popular snack in Nigeria. It has several health benefits, including: High in Protein, Low in Fat, Good Source of Fiber, Rich in Essential Vitamins and Minerals, and others.
2. Meat pies
A Nigerian snack called “meat pie” is a treat that delivers an explosive taste. Some people like to eat it with ice cream to enhance the flavor. The size, texture, and cost of meat pie can vary depending on the preparation method, with baked options being more expensive than fried ones.
Meat pie has a filling of beef or chicken, carrots, Irish potatoes, and spices, all of which offer various health benefits. The meat provides protein for healthy bones, muscles, and skin. Carrots contain vitamin A for improved eyesight and fiber for digestive health and cholesterol control. To maximize health benefits, it’s best to choose baked meat pie over fried.
3. Egg roll
Many Nigerians refer to “egg roll” as “egg buns”. A large majority of Nigerians consume egg rolls with carbonated drinks to feel satiated, despite the combination not being the healthiest.
An egg roll consists of a boiled egg wrapped in a flour dough and deep-fried to make it both palatable and visually appealing. The egg provides a healthy source of protein, and the dough offers other types of nutrients. Consuming egg buns is akin to having a well-rounded diet.
Corn is a staple food in Nigeria and the second most abundant crop after rice. It has undergone various processing techniques in the Nigerian community and has continually provided new meal options.
Corn is either boiled or roasted and is a popular street food enjoyed by various groups of Nigerians alone or in conjunction with pear (ube) or coconut. Corn is high in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and carotenoids which support the body in combating illness, promoting eye health, maintaining healthy blood pressure, and aiding digestion and bowel movements.
This is another crisp snack from the northern region of the county. Similar to dankwa, kuli-kuli is made from peanuts and can often be found at the same vendors. Kuli-kuli can come in long thin shapes, but can also take on other forms. The peanuts are roasted, ground into a paste, flavored with spices, and the oil is extracted before the paste is fried with minimal oil as it produces oil while cooking. After frying, it is left to cool and then ready to be consumed.
6. Chin Chin
Chin Chin is a well-known, budget-friendly treat in Nigeria. It’s a deep-fried snack that’s crispy and crunchy in texture. This popular dessert is made from a mixture of flour, sugar, butter, eggs or nutmeg, and milk. The mixture is then cut into small, bite-sized pieces and deep-fried to perfection in vegetable oil, resulting in a crispy and delicious snack that’s often referred to as “dough rocks.”
Our northern brothers deserve credit for this delicious snack made from millet, groundnut, and corn. To enhance the flavor, pepper and sugar are added to the mix of grounded millet, groundnut, and corn that are molded into soft, melt-in-your-mouth balls with a hint of pepper. Eating dankwa provides essential nutrients such as fat, carbohydrates, and fiber from the combination of groundnuts, millet, and corn.
If you’re a fan of meat, suya and kilishi are excellent snack options. They offer a satisfying and spicy taste that’s sure to make your taste buds dance. While you can purchase them from street vendors, typically during the nighttime, grilling them at home is the healthier choice.
To enhance the flavor, sprinkle some salt, onions, and pepper and enjoy with a side of cabbage for a truly heavenly experience. When buying from street vendors, make sure to ask for fresh onion and cabbage slices as they can help neutralize any toxins from the cooking smoke. The suya spice or yaji, made of ingredients like cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, onions, and sometimes paprika, is packed with health benefits. This blend has the power to lower high blood pressure and enhance the immune system with its antioxidant properties.
9. Plantain chips
Plantain chips are widely considered to be among the most delicious snacks available in Nigeria. As a result, many Nigerians like eating these chips. In Nigeria, they are commonly referred to by their indigenous name of kpekere. Crispy, flavorful, and crunchy plantain chips are made by slicing unripe plantains and frying them until they are golden brown. It is not only a very simple process to do at home, but it also results in a snack that is exceptionally healthy.
10. Puff Puff
Another popular Nigerian dessert, this one is comprised of dough that has been fried. Deep-fried dough composed with flour, yeast, sugar, butter, salt, water, and eggs (or baking powder) is used to make Nigerian puff puffs, which are then cooked in vegetable oil till golden brown.
Akara is a popular, healthy snack in Nigeria that can be enjoyed at any time, whether for breakfast, dinner, or as a snack. Made from a mixture of beans, onions, and spices, the mixture is fried in oil to create a delicious and satisfying snack. It can be enjoyed on its own or paired with bread or pap.
One of the benefits of akara is its high protein content, thanks to the main ingredient, beans. No matter how you choose to eat it, you’re sure to enjoy the tasty flavor of akara.
These are just a few of the many amazing healthy snacks available in Nigeria. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a full meal, these options are sure to satisfy your hunger while keeping you on track with your health and wellness goals.