Calorie conscious?

If you are health conscious the word calorie will mean the world to you! Yes, calorie is a unit of energy that can be measured by many methods. Here, we are focusing on foods that may help you lose weight as they, through the process of eating, chewing, digesting, metabolizing, actually make the body work harder to extract the calories.

This can be explained simply. You consume a generous wedge of Mocca Gateaux at the five star buffet. It is around 400 calories. To digest it your body may require only 150 calories…net gain of 250 calories which is added to your body fat! On the other hand, you munch on a stick of celery which is only 5 calories. Your body may require 150 calories to digest it, resulting in a net loss of 145 calories from the body fat! Here the common person may infer that the more you eat of such foods the more weight you lose! But anything in excess is harmful. Remember this – it is a guiding principle in healthy eating.

Any diet plan will focus not only on the total calorie intake for the day but also the break up in the meals and also the distribution in the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals and fibre. This write up here is not to design any diet for you but to give you a brief dekho into the world of foods that can help you lose weight in a safe and natural way.

Foods that help in fat burning have three essential features: they are high in moisture and fibre and low in carbohydrates and protein. It could be a safe and natural way to lose weight without starving. It is a well-established fact that the extra bulk that fibre contains will help you feel fuller for longer and thus help you stave off hunger pangs and lose weight. These foods should be incorporated in the daily meals because they will provide all essential nutrients. In fact, once you look it over it will strike you that fruits and vegetables in the raw form are the foods that we need to munch on seriously and that they provide the essential fibre, moisture, vitamins and minerals to our daily diet. In fact, vitamins stimulate the tissues to produce enzymes that break down the caloric nutrients of the foods.

Experts tell us that we need to include five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet for it to be termed healthy. Eating this suggested amount is difficult for many people. Fruits and vegetables have maximum benefits when eaten without any junk foods that are empty calorie foods. I suggest when in need of a snack reach out for celery sticks or an apple and forget the chips and cookies. When you make a sandwich ensure some lettuce and thick slices of tomato make the filling. Salads can help to supplement any meal even when you are on a diet that is being monitored for calories. At the dessert display at a buffet or party, look for the bowls of chopped fruits. And serve yourself some!

I should bring to your notice that I have not included any non vegetarian or even eggs in the category of foods that can help you burn calories while digesting them. For ready reference I have a short list of foods that can help you in weight loss:

Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, capsicums, cucumber, garlic, green beans, gourds, lettuce, onion, radishes, spinach, turnip, zucchini, lemon, grapefruit, apple, papaya, orange, pineapple to name a few. You can also see how much calories some of our favourite foods cost us here. Given here are some easy recipes that can help you along.

Clear Vegetable Soup

Healthy Cornflakes Bhel

Warm Thai Noodle and Papaya Salad

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

Nutrition – some hints for balanced eating

Eat a variety of foods in adequate amounts for each food has a different nutritional speciality. This way not only will your nutritional requirements be met, you will also be able to break the monotony of eating the same kind of food daily.

Always maintain a desirable body weight in order to prevent developing chronic diseases like diabetes or heart ailments or certain types of cancers. You can get this from the height-weight (easily available, especially with your GP) chart, which again is worked out, on the basis of your lifestyle.

Avoid foods rich in saturated fats and cholesterol as this can cause obesity, which in turn can give rise to heart ailments or diabetes or even certain types of cancer.

Eating foods with adequate fibres is considered very healthy for they not only provide bulk and thus prevent overeating, they also help prevent constipation, lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

Though water is not considered as a nutrient, it is very essential for the upkeep of our bodies. Lack of water over a period can prove to be life threatening as it could lead to dehydration and even death.

Salads should always find place on your daily menu because being mainly vegetable based they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibres. Beans or sprouts add proteins and when combined with pastas like macaroni, spaghetti or roots like potatoes or beetroots the carbohydrate content is adequate. Something like Button Mushroom Salad is a nice offering.

Of all the non-vegetarian foods, fish is perhaps the most ideally designed for healthy and quick family meals. Healthy because most types of fish are very low in fat and high in protein. There are some fish which are oily but they are high in essential fatty acids. Fish and Green Mango Curry is perfect for this month.

Limit your intake of alcoholic drinks since they are high in calories but low in nutrients. The metabolites (end products) produced by alcohol are harmful to the body, especially to the liver.

Desserts are an important component of an enjoyable meal and if they are fruit based they also provide the desired nutrients because they are packed with vitamins and minerals and are high in fibers. Try Low cal Crunchy Fruits with Yogurt.

Adequate and regular exercises are necessary along with healthy eating to make way for a meaningful life devoid of health worries.

Healthy balanced diet : fruits play an essential role

With so many lifestyle diseases being evident today it is time to incorporate more fruits in our daily diet because fruits are great sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (a group of compounds that may help prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes) and soluble fibre. Except for a few varieties (coconut, olives, avocados) all fruits are low in fat and calories. Fruits play an essential role in imbibing a healthy balanced diet. Fruits also satisfy your sweet tooth without loading up on calories. Try Sizzling fruits with mixed fruit sauce.
Eating a variety of fruits is vital because different fruits provide different nutrients. For example, oranges and kiwi fruit are good sources of vitamin C. Bananas are a good source of potassium and apricots are high in vitamin A. So if you rarely venture beyond a few of your favourites, you are missing out on the nutrients and benefits of other fruits.
Here are suggestions to help you select the highest quality fruits when you are shopping, ways to store them once you get home, and tips for preparing and serving fruits to enhance their flavour and retain their nutrients.
Selecting top quality fruits: Choose in-season fruits. Select fruits that feel heavy for their size as heaviness is a good sign of juiciness. Smell fruits for characteristic aromas. Fruits should generally have their characteristic ripe scent but not smell overly ripe. For example, muskmelon should not smell too musty, especially if you do not plan to eat it right away. Also test the texture. A kiwi that feels mushy to the touch is too ripe. However, an avocado with a somewhat spongy texture is ideal. Be sensitive to the correct texture for the specific fruit you are interested in. Enjoy a plate of Fruit Chaat and then read on…..
Storing tips: Keep fruits at room temperature to ripen them. Store ripe fruits in your refrigerator. The cool temperature slows the ripening process, giving you longer storage times. The length of time you can store fruit depends on many factors, including how ripe the fruit is at the time of purchase and the type of fruit. Oranges keep well from one to two weeks in your refrigerator. Others, such as strawberries and grapes may ripen and spoil in less time, even in a couple of days.
Serving ideas:
Prepare fresh fruit within about an hour of serving to maximize flavour, texture and nutrients. Some salads benefit from a little chilling time (about 30-60 minutes) for the various flavours to mingle well together.
Wash all fruits thoroughly under cold running water before cutting or eating whole. This includes those fruits with hard shells or skins, such as melons. That is because the knife you use to cut the melon could transfer germs from the surface into the flesh. Wash your hands before and after handling fresh fruits.
Leave on edible peels whenever possible. The peels of apples, pears and most fruits with pits add interesting colour and texture to recipes and contain added nutrients and fibre.
Remove zest from citrus peels before discarding and save it for other recipes. The zest is the thin, brightly coloured, outermost layer of citrus fruit, such as lemons or oranges. Grated or shredded, it adds a bright spark of flavour and colour enhancement to both sweet and savoury dishes.
A healthy diet does not have to be monotonous. Be adventurous. A dish like Mixed Fruit Kheer can brighten up your evening meal. Try all the new and unfamiliar fruits. You may be surprised to find that you like them, and they will add interest to your plans of following a healthy balanced diet.

Eat these ‘fighter’ foods and remain fit!



We hear about free radicals and antioxidants all the time, don’t we? Where should be looking to get these antioxidants then? It will be a relief to know that the normal foods in the kitchen, or food on our table is well equipped to fight the present infection laden atmosphere. Even if one is not too exposed to pollution, wind, sun or stress, it is a good idea to build up the body’s immune system and provide a barricade that keeps infectious diseases away.
It is rather interesting to note here that food which we have always taken for granted does play a significant role in fighting infection in its own inimitable style. Be it a crunchy carrot had on the move or the chunk of cheese gobbled up in a hurry, the strengthening of the immune system has begun unknowingly.
Carrots are a major source of beta-carotene. All red, orange, yellow and dark green fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps to strengthen skin and mucous membranes and enhances the antibody response. Sweet potatoes, pumpkin and green leafy vegetables may well be a part of your daily diet as beta-carotene protects the body from several types of cancer, especially lung cancer. It also acts as a filter, protecting eye lens from cataract.
The chunk of cheese, which so innocently cut the edge of a gnawing hunger pang, provides calcium, which works in collaboration with magnesium to enhance the immune system. The same formula works in other dairy products, leafy greens, fish, nuts and pulses. Yes, of course, while reaching out for the cheese ensure it is the low fat version!
Another great nibble is chocolate! The iron content of chocolate (the same iron which we would generally look for in meat, egg yolk, shellfish and parsley!) plays a major role in balancing the white blood cells involved in immunity. The idea here is not permission to indulge in chocolates to fight the germs. It is essential awareness that chocolate is good for health, but better go easy as this food is also very fattening!
Enough of the goodies…now let us come to the ‘grain’of the matter. Wheat is a versatile grain? From the harvested wheat can come a great variety of products like white flour and semolina. The high-gluten content of wheat makes it the best cereal grain for bread making. Whole wheat breads are a great source of vitamin B 6. The magnesium present in whole grains also boosts immunity action and should be combined for effectiveness with nuts, seafood and green leafy vegetables.
Coming to nuts. Well, this is another favourite snack! Go for it by all means as the content of Vitamin E helps to improve the function of white blood cells. Even seeds are good munchies with a lot of goodness.
Mention of an extremely healthy food is bound to be done and that is offish. All fish contain as much high-quality protein as meat, but, unlike meat, white fish have a negligible amount of fat and, therefore, they have half the number of calories. Fortunately the fat in oily fish is polyunsaturated. They also contain less cholesterol than either meat or shellfish and provide niacin and vitamin D that are absent from white fish. Oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, and sardines are rich in selenium which boosts the white blood cells and immune enzymes.
Next time you reach out for an orange, think of having a concentrated dose of vitamin C. This vitamin is also found in amla, strawberries, papaya, other citrus fruit, melons, cabbage, capsicum and guava. Vitamin C increases the number of chemical messengers that are vitally important in the process of fighting infection.
Another infection fighter is the good old cup of tea. Along with whole grain food and leafy greens, tea too contains manganese that helps to increase the activity of the killer immune cell.
In a nutshell, healthy eating habits with a good mental attitude keep one fit in body. As a fitting note of a finale, here are some colourful presentations of fruits and vegetables for you today!


Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor

Come September

A wow month awaits! There are festivals and feasts that bring so much good cheer…the rains continue to bless Mumbai and I think we have a reason to smile.

So on www.sanjeevkapoor.com, come September, we not only make you smile but also tell you some reasons why Laughter is the best medicine. As the monsoon continues, look out for Food Poisoning (we have some tips). Those who think their kitchen is small, learn some exciting storage tips and also many many festive recipes that will load your table with glee.

I have noticed that the potato is one thing that is an extremely versatile….it is not only meant for chips and crisps plus it is not the tuber that is fattening, it is the treatment we give it that makes it so. In days gone, the potato was blamed for those extra inches around the waist because of its starch content. But now the blame has shifted onto bread which has three times the calories! Potato has a high starch content but it is energy-giving and is also valuable source of vitamin C. It also has considerable amount of protein of high biological value and also alkaline salts. In addition it is rich in soda, potash and vitamins A and B.

As technology makes it presence felt on many foods, so has the potato been washed and pre-packed mechanically, canned, turned into crisp, frozen chips and instant mash. There are innumerable ways and recipes for using the potato… according to some tidbit I came across in a book 500 or so ways… and the most exciting is of course, chips! Crisp on the outside and juicy inside, chips are winners all the way. But there are some not so exciting facts connected to the consumption of chips. Take a look: a 100 gms of raw potato produces 85 gms of baked potato (which provide 87 calories). The same amount of raw potato makes 50 gms of chips (210 calories) or 44 gms of potato crisps (245 calories). Now which version of the humble potato would you go for?

Whatever may be the case, the fact remains that potatoes are a versatile sort that can
do wonders to any meal. But it is recommended that potatoes are more nutritious with the peel on. Upto a quarter of a potato’s protein is lost by peeling because the protein is most highly concentrated just below the skin. And if a peeled potato is boiled, up to half of its vitamin C content is dissolved. So to retain as much goodness as possible, bake or boil unpeeled potatoes. Green skin however should preferably be removed – it contains a detrimental alkaloid.

So you can have a potato soup, or jacket potatoes, chips and crisps, add them to pies or other vegetables, casseroles, you name it. I love the Caldo Verde soup in which mashed potatoes form the basic ingredient. It is a perfect beginning to a sumptuous meal, is easy to prepare and above all is simply delicious and wholesome. As potato can be stored in your kitchen, especially during the rainy days, I have a variety of potato goodies lined up for you.


Broccoli, Aloo aur Tofu ki sabzi
Sukhe Aloo
Aloo Tikki Chaat

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor

Veggies can help you lose fat

With so much being written about weight loss and appetite suppressants, I believe one does feel baffled by the information flux. I read recently that people with undesired fat content should understand that their bodies are crying out for nutrients and are in strict denial and that is why the fat is stored and there are metabolism issues. Here I want to give you a brief dekho into the world of foods that are nutritious and can help you lose weight in a safe and natural way.

Foods that help in fat burning have three essential features: they are high in moisture and fibre and low in carbohydrates and protein. It could be a safe and natural way to lose weight without starving. It is a well-established fact that the extra bulk that fibre contains will help you feel fuller for longer and thus help you stave off hunger pangs and lose weight. These foods should be incorporated in the daily meals because they will provide all essential nutrients. In fact once you look it over it will strike you that fruits and vegetables in the raw form are the foods that we need to munch on seriously and that they provide the essential fibre, moisture, vitamins and minerals to our daily diet. In fact vitamins stimulate the tissues to produce enzymes that break down the caloric nutrients of the foods.

Experts tell us that we need to include five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet for it to be termed healthy. Eating this suggested amount is difficult for many people. Fruits and vegetables have maximum benefits when eaten without any junk foods that are empty calorie foods. I suggest when in need of a snack reach out for celery sticks or an apple and forget the chips and cookies. When you make a sandwich ensure some lettuce and thick slices of tomato make the filling. Salads can help to supplement any meal even when you are on a diet that is being monitored for calories. At the dessert display at a buffet or party, look for the bowls of chopped fruits. And serve yourself some!

I should bring to your notice that I have not included any non vegetarian or even eggs in the category of foods that can help you burn calories while digesting them. For ready reference I have a short list of foods that can help you in weight loss: Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, capsicums, cucumber, garlic, green beans, gourds, lettuce, onion, radishes, spinach, turnip, zucchini, lemon, grapefruit, apple, papaya, orange, pineapple to name a few. Given here are some easy recipes that can help you along.


Balinese vegetable soup
Button mushroom salad

Tamatar ki chutney


Happy Cooking
Sanjeev Kapoor.

The secret is ‘portion control’

If you see a person who looks well maintained through the years…no gain in weight, it is possible that the person exercises and also ‘exercises’ portion control. This is the secret of long-term weight management. So simple. It is not something like asking for the moon! In fact, portion control can make or break your weight loss efforts.

To gain an edge, avoid leftovers. So in case you do have to clean out the fridge, do so but do not insist on having something of everything! And if it is a habit to cook more and refrigerate or freeze for later use, store in individual sized containers. So when the time comes that it is a ‘fridge dinner’ tonight what you pull out are actually small containers.

Use salads as fillers for when the stomach is half lined (read, half-filled!) with a salad there is definite control over the rest of the meal! A salad stops you from over eating and intake of extra calories. A salad can help you to curb the appetite and give you a sense of satiety sooner because if it is a leafy one it has a lot of fibre too. I suggest you do avoid those with creamy, mayonnaise dressings.

Be alert and watch out for the unstoppables! In this list I would add any crispies! Be they potato crisps, tortilla chips, butter popcorn…if you can have just one or two and stop at that it would be a super human thing to do! But we cannot diet with a whip in hand can we? So I suggest have these unstoppables – just ensure that the pack you buy are the smallest ones available. The single serving ones are a good idea or in case of economics buy the large ones but divide into smaller individual packages.

Try staggering the meals. I do believe in mini meals! This makes sure that your sugar levels stay at an even keel. You can keep hunger at bay by eating healthful small meals throughout the day. Mini meals are by far the best way to prevent overeating because you will get never too hungry and lose control of your portion intake.

Also be choosy about seconds. It is wonderful to have dinner together as a family but awful to over eat together! Serve reasonable sized portions in individual plates but keep all serving bowls at the kitchen counter. Do not bring them to the table. Whoever wants more has to go for it!

Let’s also load up on vegetables. Being biased towards vegetables helps in weight management in the long run. Make meat a side dish. Vegetables and healthy grains give a lot of fibre and vitamins. Try new ones to keep things interesting.

In case you are out, ask for a kiddy meal at the fast food counter or take out order a kiddy meal (mini meal) for yourself. It is a wonderful way to control portion size.

Some recipes that will help you if you are watching your weight.

Roasted Onion, Garlic and Pumpkin Soup
Mixed Vegetable Salad with Sesame Seeds

Steamed Egg Katori

Take charge today !
Sanjeev Kapoor.