Several articles are floating around about how to eat during the festive season. I think it should be about how one should eat an everyday meal because every day has its temptations or a wedding in the family or a friends birthday. So here are few daily tips for a balanced life and everyday meals:
- Remember to realize that you can’t eat all cheat meals during a day or every day, as cheat meal itself means to be once in a while.
- Never compromise on your water intake. The thirst center and hunger center in the brain are very close, sometimes you may feel hungry when in fact you may simply be thirsty. It is most important to be hydrated. Note that tea, coffee, and aerated drinks are DEHYDRATING drinks and interfere with iron absorption from the food.
- Continue with your regular fitness regime. Do not think that you can make up for sinning by working out a little extra because most often that is not going to compensate for the excess calories consumed.
- Make sure to eat a home cooked healthy regular breakfast. Poha, upma, idli, dosa, oats, thepla with curd, eggs on whole wheat toast – all these are your friends. Never skip breakfast. This will slow down your metabolism and will make you crave and reach out for something unhealthy.
- Mid-morning have fruit / buttermilk with flaxseed powder / salad / vegetable raita / nuts. This is also the time to eat a piece of mithai that has been lying in front of you on your table. But remember this is a meal in itself and it is important to restrict the quantity to 1 to 2 small pieces and not eat up half the box.
- Lunch should be wholesome and hopefully home cooked – dal, veggies, roti or pulav or chicken/fish curry with rice or roti. Again remember starting your meal with a filling salad or soup or vegetable raita will help you to feel full and by the time you reach the main course, you should be half full.
- Evening snacks could be fruit or any breakfast option or dry fruit or nuts. Again watch your portion sizes.
- Dinner should be similar to lunch. Skipping dinner is not a good choice.
- If you are going out for lunch or dinner make sure you eat something from home and go so you are not very hungry and make sensible choices.
- Small bite-size portions of everything is ok. Avoid food that is deep fried. If you choose something like that to eat just restrict to take 1 piece and stop there. Fruit juices, mocktails, aerated drinks should be avoided. If you must drink alcohol have a plain glass of water with a lime squeezed between each drink slowly and you will end up drinking half the alcohol you would have otherwise had.
- Avoid maida based food like pasta, noodles, naan etc and opt for whole wheat options instead if possible.
- Having “sugar-free” mithai is more harmful than regular mithai because most often sugar substitutes are added which are detrimental to health. One ends up eating a lot more thinking its “sugar-free”. Opt for mithai with dates, figs and nuts and where jaggery has been used instead of sugar or artificial sugar substitutes. And if you are dying to eat that sinful mithai eat 1 piece as a meal.
- Please share what you have with people who are less privileged. And share it when it is fresh not when it’s getting stale.
Sonam Rayani Merchant – Nutrition and Diet Consultant, Founder of Jatropha Wellness & True Love Project with 10+ years of experience.