With the passage of time rapid changes are taking place in the society, so does our food habits. And due to the mobility from home to other places, a large section of society from student to worker prefers this ‘small food’ to remain energetic throughout the day.
This is flanked by the rapidly growing economy and rising disposable income from last few years, which resulted in mass mobility of younger generation in Kashmir’s rural areas to urban, a large number of young generation replace light meals with snacks.
This mobility resulted in the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods- and a fast growing business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick and satisfying. The processed snack foods are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more portable than homemade foods.
But one should take care of available snacks, as these foods often contain good amounts of specially-designed flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate flavours.
Shahid Mohammad, a Dietician by profession believes that 95 percent of urban population takes snacks, while as in rural areas now a large percent of population take snacks particularly during evening time.
The snacks market is worth around hundreds of crores, a good market share. It has an annual growth rate of 25- 30 per cent. Statistics show the unorganized snacks market in Kashmir is alarmingly increasing.
Today, hundreds of types of snacks and savories are being sold in the market. The common places for snacking can be collage canteens to malls and bus stands to air ports. In which potato chips and potato-based items are the most popular products with more than 85 per cent share of the snack market.
“Feeling hungry is a natural phenomenon particularly among young, when a person’s body demands more nutrients to grow. Snacks are a best way to satisfy that hunger and get all the vitamins and nutrients a body needs,” believes a group of students, while taking snacks outside a famous shrine at Khanyar.
Snacking can be good habit when chosen smartly and carefully to remain energetic all the day. It can replace main food schedule, particularly when one is busy and has little time for regular meals. Healthy snacks does not mean compromising with taste preferences. To give in to our cravings is to get instant energy and to tend to our taste buds.
“TO ENCOURAGE HEALTHY SNACKING HAVE A VARIETY AVAILABLE. THIS HELPS TEND TO A RANGE OF TASTE PREFERENCES. SNACKING BOOSTS METABOLISM HELPS MAINTAIN BLOOD SUGAR AND ALLOWS FOR EFFICIENT ABSORPTION OF NUTRIENTS. IT IS A GOOD WAY TO PROMOTE HEALTHY LONG-TERM EATING PATTERNS”, SAYS SHAHID.
All of us face the dilemma of whether to take snacks or not, “I tend to give in to my temptation of snacking every now and then, but what comes along is a huge guilt pang for the entire day. Carrying home-made healthy snacks or fruits on a regular basis is a good idea but almost impossible to continue on a regular basis. Hence, like all conscious weight watchers, I try to avoid these munching breaks,” Said Shazia, an undergraduate student from Women College, Srinagar.
Snacks and Culture
Many snacks have cultural and regional importance as well and snacks represent particular society- like firnee a famous kashmiri cuisine is sold now not in Kashmir only but also in many places in old Delhi. It has become a symbol of kashmiriyat there. Aloo Tikki preferring with chutney is famous Indian snack almost sold in every street in India. Savories like momos, samosas, chaat and bhelpuri are mouth watering.
Similarly, Nader Munj, Til karre, Masaal Chut are famous snacks in Kashmir.