September 16, 2012

Tanagholat - Healthy Back To School Snacks - Old-School Persian Style

روز اول ماه مهر Rooze avale mah-e  Mehr (Iranian first day of autumn and the first day of school) is just a few days away and there's that familiar sense of excitement in the air that takes you back to your childhood and all those first day of school memories. The word "mehr" also translates to the sun and kindness in Persian. In addition to my own nostalgic memories of rooze avale Mehr I also remember my daughter's first days of school. Many of those precious moments were captured in adorable photos of them with their new school clothes standing in line with other children waiting for their teacher to arrive or waving excitedly to familiar faces on the playground.

Every year, along with feelings of anticipation and excitement there were all those concerns and worries about making sure they get a good education, find good friends, and get involved in sports or some extracurricular activities that they would enjoy. There was also the major concern regarding what they were going to eat while at school and when they got home, especially with their ever changing taste buds. Choosing a تنقلات سالم  tanaghlat-e salem (healthy snack) is a big challenge when there are unhealthy foods all around. How can you send your child to school with a pita bread and feta sandwich when the school offers them chicken nuggets and french fries that look more appealing to them. The temptations of eating potato chips, cookies and candies as snacks is very strong for most kids and difficult to overcome. Children need to learn about nutrition, healthy alternatives and get involved in the kitchen at a young age.

Looking back, I realize that the kind of تنقلات tanagholat (snacks), or ghagha-lili, that we would have was the best and a much healthier choice than what's being offered out there today. There was some junk food back then too but nothing would make it to our home without my mother's approval and when it came to what we would eat she was very much involved.

I can easily say that we grew up on fruits, vegetables, noon o paneer (flat bread and Iranian cheese), nuts and dried fruits. I usually spread the feta cheese with crushed walnuts and dried mint on bread (taftoon, lavash, barbari or pita).

To this day I find those snacks to be the tastiest and healthiest snacks for school, after school or just everyday healthy snacking. Here's a list of some of those tanagholat that we filled our pockets with.

Tanagholat Salem- Healthy Snacks 

Apricots (dried)
Chickpeas (roasted)
Figs (dried)
Fruit rolls
Mulberries (dried)
Sour cherries (dried)

Enjoy! Have a great school year!


  1. You are always the best .............

  2. thats a lovely healthy snack list!! Love those photoes of the nuts,

  3. Great ideas that I can use! Thank you.

  4. I have come to love making labni and spreading it on Wasa crackers with some mint and cucumbers on top. Thank you for introducing me to a way of eating that I not only love, but is healthy!

  5. Gorgeous and I'm addicted to dried albaloos....thanks to the gods to Costco & TJoe's!

  6. Hi Azita,
    how do you prepare roasted chickpeas?
    Are they cooked in water first and then baked in the oven?


    1. Hi, yes, arrange the cooked, drained and dried chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in the oven. Season with salt.

  7. salam,

    Lavashak rashti, hummmm, mikhoram!!!!!!!


  8. Azita joon,
    Thanks again for your lovely photos and words. Just got back to a cold, wet and grey England after two weeks in Tehran and seeing your blog makes me even more homesick.............After almost forty years away, home is still Tehran! xx

    1. Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving such a heartfelt comment. I know exactly how you feel.xx

  9. I can relate! We used to eat fruits (like raw green almonds with salt) and even buy them from street vendors and we did not have chips and candy except occasionally; when my kids were little I worried about this too and hated it when my son became enamored with fast food; fortunately he is now on a health kick and even tried vegetarianism. Those snacks and your photos are always lovely.

  10. Hi Azita,

    I love your post on healthy Iranian snacks - my sweet mother-in-law just passed away in August, and this made me think of her. She used to tell us stories about how she would sneak to the corner baghali on the way home from school and fill her pockets with dates. Then she would run up to the roof of her home to eat them in secret - but one day she was caught out by a neighbor, who told her parents what she had been up to! Her parents forbade her to buy any more dates, and they even talked to the shopkeeper and told him not to sell them to her, because they were too sweet. Little did they know, she managed to charm the shopkeeper into letting her buy dates even then! Many days she would come home, eat her cherished dates as a snack, then come downstairs and complain to her parents that she hated meat and had no appetite for the mahi or ghormeh sabzi that her mother had lovingly prepared. Her father would then bribe his children into eating their dinner by giving them a few coins after they had eaten their meat. Little did Baba know, all those coins were going straight to dates! - Suz

    1. Hi Suz,

      I am sorry for the loss of your mother-in-law. Thank you for sharing this delightful story. I enjoyed it very much! May she rest in peace.

      Best wishes,


  11. Bravo Azita jaan! Nomreh shomaa bist...

  12. Azita Jan;
    You are a great chef, photographer, and presenter!
    Thank You.
    نگه دارید تا کار بزرگ!
    پخت و پز خود یکی از بهترین که من را دیده اند، است!


    1. Thank you very much, Amay jan! You are very kind. !شما لطف دارید