Eating healthy the Indian way

Healthy Indian food diet can be made still more healthier. Traditional Indian meals are surely well balanced in all aspects especially when the meal has roti- sabzi- dal- chawal, yogurt with salad. But when we switch over to healthier cooking options, the oil content in all the preparations can be controlled.

The cooking techniques that can help to make daily Indian food diet healthier are steaming and pressure cooking. These are ideal ways to preserve most of the nutrients present naturally in food. For cooking of vegetables, use minimum oil for tempering and cook covered on medium heat so that they get cooked in their own juices.

Look at making the Indian snacking healthier. A lot of snacks can be baked instead of deep-fried. Like for example namakparas, shakkerparas, gujias (karanjis), etc., can be baked. Date and Anjeer Baked Karanji is a good snack recipe. Similarly choose steamed snacks instead of deep fried ones – like dhoklas and idlis. Both these items can be made in various combinations and therefore add variety. Also the popular Gujarati snack muthia can be steamed instead of deep-fried. Vegetables like fenugreek, carrot, etc., can add nutrient value. Check the recipe of Methi Gajar Muthia.

Other tips to make Indian food diet healthier are

  • Always eat fresh food. Cook just as much as needed so that there are no leftovers. Use fresh vegetables or meats or fish.

  • Ideally vegetables should not be chopped or cut too much in advance as certain vitamins and minerals are lost. Also do not cook vegetables in too much water and then drain away the cooking liquour as this way too a lot of minerals and vitamins are lost because they get leeched in the water.

  • When you think you should have paranthas switch to phulkas instead. And when you make paranthas roast them on non-stick tawa so that a bare minimum of oil need be used. Spinach and Cabbage Parantha is an interesting version.

  • Talking about food combinations starch and acids should never be eaten in one meal. For instance, white bread and citrus juices cannot be digested together. Fats and sugars too should not be eaten in one meal. Simply put, do not combine cereals, bread, potatoes or other such foods with oranges, grapefruit, pineapple or other acidic foods.

  • There should be only one kind of protein in one meal. The protein based foods will excite acids in the stomach while the starch or carbohydrates will get the alkalis flowing and therefore they will neutralize each other, forming a watery solution, digesting neither. The food then rots inside though we get the feeling of fullness. And this rotting food causes all kinds of digestive problems like gas, heartburn, cramps, bloating, constipation, etc., and eventually the blood stream will absorb the toxins produced by this rotting and result in allergies, hives, headaches, nausea, etc.

Easy Indian Recipes – a treasure trove

Those who wish to cook Indian food will be pleased to know that there are thousands of easy Indian recipes that are a breeze to cook. In fact, the only dexterity required is to read the recipe and get hold of all the ingredients. It is not difficult putting the dish together once your preparation is complete. For the novice cook, the simplest of the Indian bread called the roti would be masterful thing to make. But for a novice cook, kneading the dough just right is a new frontier to cross. So let us look at some rice recipes that come together in the pot with vegetables and spices to make soft khichdis. Moong Dal Khichdi, Bajra Khichdi, Gujarati Khichdi, Hari Bhari Khichdi are some of the ideas that you could use. If you prefer to use the microwave for cooking, ensure that the bowl is large enough to take the bubbling of the water used for cooking the rice and dals.
One more suggestion for your collection of easy Indian recipes is raita. To get the raita perfect, first let us set the curd to the correct firmness and sweetness at home. To make this heat 5 cups of full cream whole milk, bring it to boil and reduce to around four cups. Remove from heat and cool it till it comes to a temperature of 45° C. Add one tablespoon of thick yogurt as starter and mix evenly with a spoon or churner/whisker. Transfer the mixture into an earthenware pot and allow to set in a warm place (at 43°C) for four hours (in summer, otherwise may take longer). In winter or in places at higher altitudes one can always wrap the pot in which you are setting the yogurt in a blanket or a similar warm wrapping. Always remove a small quantity aside for setting the yogurt for the following day before you consume the rest. Refrigerate once set. So when you have such lovely yogurt in your refrigerator lets get going with the relishes. Try out Lauki ka Raita, Beetroot Raita, Phalon Ka Raita, Boondi ka Raita.
Next time round we will look at cooling traditional beverages such as lassi, tangy chutneys that do not require any cooking and halwas. The last is the quickest way to present a genuine Indian dessert that is comfort food for many. Then we will progress to breads and dals, other desserts, rice dishes called biryanis and pulaos and then the simplest of the snacks. So who wants to file a collection of easy Indian recipes is at the right place!

Healthy diet for youngsters

We have to emphasis the importance of healthy diet and eating right from childhood. Somewhere the nutritional gap starts and becomes so big that it is difficult to fill up –hence the increasing amount of children having heath problems like obesity, anemia, constipation or high cholesterol problems. Simply put, if we begin today (in fact, right now!) to take preventive measures kids can be energetic, happy and feeling great which is the way they are meant to be.
There are so many distractions for the young ones today: fast foods, processed foods and all those where taste matters more than the goodness factor. Let us face it; we are surrounded by fast-food outlets, peer pressure, bad catering in school-canteens, advertising campaigns and birthday parties to lead children astray in their choices around food, so it is imperative that we take the reigns early on to introduce good eating habits to young children. Would you not like to have your children safeguarded against common ailments, allergies, concentration problems and learning difficulties as the result of poor diets dominated by massive amounts of refined sugars, colourants, flavourants, preservatives and excess amount of fats?
The primary education for following a healthy diet begins in the primary years. It is best to allow the young ones at home to help with the meal preparation and “test” the taste before adding extra flavours. Children will most probably not eat fruit and vegetables simply because “they are good for them”. They must have good flavour and texture. I have also observed that many kids will not eat cooked vegetables but may eat them raw. Salad vegetables like cherry tomatoes, slices of cucumber, grated carrot or carrot sticks and celery are a good option and can be served with a tasty dip.
There is one meal that is important for kids and adults alike and that is breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day and should be eaten every day. Some examples are a nutritious drink, fresh or stewed fruit, custard, yogurt, leftovers on toast or milk drinks as well as the usual breakfast foods such as cereals, toast, eggs and baked beans.
Quick Fried Egg with Brown Bread is a good presentation. Lunch is probably packed in school or college. The evening meal is the single most family meal where the mother must find time to cook up something very tasty and wholesome. You can look at hearty soups or casseroles, stir-fries using chicken, lots of vegetables and some noodles. Try pasta dishes like meatballs with pasta, tuna and tomato fettuccine or macaroni cheese. Even egg dishes such as frittata, quiche and omelettes will be enjoyed. Once in a while give a treat of homemade hamburgers and pizzas! Healthy Pizza is sure to please the kids. Desserts should make a positive contribution to a meal so serve lots of fresh sweet fruits and yogurt sundaes. For special occasions Hot Chocolate Nut Sundae is wonderful.
We as adults need to give children firm yet gentle guidelines to support them in making good choices later in choosing a healthy diet for themselves.