During this extended lockdown, we see a lot of anxiety, added pressure at home while taking care of family chores. And for those working from home it’s a more difficult situation. So, when it comes to food, it’s better to plan your meals packed with nutrition, simplify your cooking, and eat whatever is easy to digest.
My rules are: 1. Eat healthy
- Hydrate your body
- Exercise regularly
- Do not take stress
- Detox your body
- Boost your immunity
- Sleep well
- Follow social media diet (but don’t spend too much time on social media)
When it comes to my daily regimen, it starts with a glass of warm water with apple cider vinegar with lemon, honey, ginger, garlic. Alternatively, I soak methi seeds, saunf and jeera overnight in water, filter them in the morning and drink that water. These mineral-rich drinks always help me keep my gut healthy.
Never skip your breakfast. I kick-start my day with a good breakfast and the recipes are as follows: cereals, spinach omelette, multigrain dosa with mint or coconut chutney, ragi idlis with palli chutney or ginger chutney, oats upma, veg poha, dalia with veggies, pancakes with nuts and seeds.
I am not keen on tea/coffee, so I hydrate my body with some natural drinks such as fresh fruit juice without any added sugars, coconut water, buttermilk with flax seed powder or ginger, lemon or jaljeera. Sometimes, I make vegetable juice which includes carrot, beetroot, zucchini, tomato and coriander; this juice is very good and healthy, and best for the skin.
Eating healthy and on time are very important, so always make sure you don’t keep your stomach empty for long hours. Eat more of coloured vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, beans, carrots, avacados, beats, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, red cabbage, spinach, methi, and peas. These are all filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are very essential to our body to fight diseases.
As we all know, protein, carbs, good fats and fibre are essential to our body. So, I plan my lunch with pulses, legumes, chicken, fish, tofu, hand-pounded rice, multigrain roti, millets, or quinoa. My favourite recipes are Herbed chicken with spinach rice, Rice pilaf with chicken and peas, Broccoli rice bowl, Corn pepper chicken, Multigrain chapati wraps, Fish curry with coconut milk, Prawn jalfrezi, Dal khichdi, Veg masala rice, and Sambar rice which are yummy and healthy. As the method of cooking is very important, I prefer only tawa fried fish, grilled chicken, salads, soups and sauteed veggies.
Basically I use cold-pressed oils like olive oil, sesame oil, grape seed oil, flaxseed oil, groundnut oil and mustard oil in adequate quantity as they all contain essential nutrients.
Food quality and quantity matter a lot. So, mindful eating is important — it has much deeper connection with weight loss. Chew your food well, eat in silence, focus on your food — these are the basics taught to everyone so let’s follow them.
When it comes to snacks, I see people eating only deep-fried stuff, sugary foods and maida recipes which not only take more time and ingredients to prepare but consumption of these foods can have terrible health implications like indigestion, obesity, diabetes, fatigue also. There are so many snacks which require less oil and lesser cooking time like poha, pan-fried paneer cubes, veg cutlets, fritters, masala sprouts, steamed dumplings, paniyaram, and many more. I love eating fruit chaat, fruit slad, and waldorf salads.
As the popular proverb goes, ‘Eat your food as medicines, otherwise you have to eat medicines as your food’. I noticed people eating junk food everyday which is really not good for health, especially for children.
I always make ragi laddus, dryfruit bars, til chikkis with jaggery and ghee, dark choclate cakes and walnut barfis, and eat one per day because good fats help brain functioning more efficiently.
If your day was frantic, it’s really difficult to plan a dinner, so I suggest eat early, easy and light; try to utilise your left-over foods or go for khichdis, salads with oats or some steamed veggies — basically one pot recipes.
Do not skip your dinner; if you skip dinner, you can’t sleep well and if one doesn’t sleep well, brain and body won’t function well.
Though all vitamins are important, Vitamin C plays an important role in boosting immunity so don’t miss consuming citrus fruits mainly oranges, papayas, kiwi, pineapples, grapes, berries, watermelons — I plan yummy fruit bowls mixed with nuts and seeds.
Our Indian cooking is the best, especially our tadka with spices like mustard, cumin seeds, curry leaves, green/red chillies, pepper, bay leaf, garlic, ginger, turmeric and asafoetida are filled with phytonutrients and medicinal properties and add a lot of aroma and flavour to the dish.
You don’t have to cook fancy and complicated dishes, just make fresh and healthy food. Remember, a healthy mind and healthy body lead to a happy life; so stay happy and healthy.