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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Snacks tend to be salty, sugary or fried and therefore unhealthy. here are some tasty alternatives

Snacks are an integral part of our diet. Unfortunately, they tend to be salty, sugary or fried. Familiar snacks like vada pav, puris, pizza, chivda, chips, cakes, though hard to resist, have little to offer other than empty calories, and a craving for more. So, should you forgo the yummy temptations altogether? Is there a sensible alternative that is healthy, full of satiety value, and nutritionally sound? There are plenty of options, if you care to look around. They are not as boring or tasteless as perhaps you imagine. The effects of certain foods that we have been consuming all along are more dangerous than we realise. We have always believed that they are a part of our daily food intake, and never gave it a second thought. Well, if you did, you would be rudely jolted out of your complacency.

Here are some startling facts on what excessive intake of any of these could do to you.

White flour
• Digestive disorders
• Poor eyesight
• Anaemia
• Tiredness and irritability
• Weakening of bones (osteoporosis)
• Increase in blood sugar ( diabetes )
• Obesity

White sugar
• Because it is refined, it is devoid of vitamins, minerals and nutrients
• Contributes to obesity
• Suppresses the immune system
• Causes hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, and cranky behaviour in children and adults
• Produces a significant rise in triglycerides and cholesterol levels
• Causes hypoglycaemia and diabetes
• Causes premature ageing and osteoporosis
• Robs you of vitamin B
• Contributes to eczema in children
• Causes bowel problems, especially constipation
• Can adversely affect performance in school that could lead to learning disorders. Can also cause depression
• Sugar in excess may be one of the causes of prostate gland cancer
• Cancer cells multiply with sugar
• In women, sugar increases PMS syndrome

Fried foods
Fried foods have high fat content and are energy dense. They lead to undesirable weight gain

• Frying leads to undesirable alteration in the chemical composition of oils especially during deep frying. This irritates and damages the inner lining of the gut which may cause bowel upsets manifesting as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea

• Prolonged heating of oil at high temperature results in formation of several other harmful chemicals. One of them is acrolein, which irritates the gut lining, and is a cancer-causing compound. Reheating of polyunsaturated fats also produce toxic substances such as polymerised products, peroxides and free radicals

• At high temperature, the natural form of fats may undergo change into ‘trans’ form, forming trans-fatty acids. Trans-fatty acids increase blood cholesterol levels even more than pure ghee or animal fat. They also reduce HDL (good) cholesterol and increase the tendency of blood clotting, thus increasing the risk of coronary heart disease

• At high temperatures many nutrients especially vitamins and dietary proteins are destroyed. There is progressive loss of vitamins A and E at temperatures above 150 degrees Celsius.

• Fried foods with their high fat content are unsuitable for those suffering from indigestion. They are not as easily digested as boiled, steamed and baked foods Replace

• Opt for baking, boiling or steaming instead of frying food

• Instead of using white sugar for sweetening, substitute with jaggery, honey, or dry fruits wherever possible

The healthier alternatives
• Fruits (rich in anti-oxidants, high in fibre, contains natural sugar, low in glycaemic index, high content of water, and are a good source of carbohydrate)

• Freshly chopped vegetables with salsa, yoghurt dip, or hummus (contain fibre, roughage, anti-oxidants, vitamins)

• Dried fruits – dates, raisins, figs, apricots, prunes (contain good fats, vitamins, boost energy levels and immunity, low in calories)

• Nuts – almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts (good source of essential fatty acids such as omega 3, vitamin E, lowers cholesterol, boosts energy levels)

• Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower (essential fat, high in vitamins and minerals, calcium) • Wholegrain bread, vegetable sandwiches with chutney, salsa, mustard (whole wheat is an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamins B and E, reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes)

• Poha/upma with vegetables

• Salted popcorn (carbohydrate, fibre)

• Baked potato (low in calories, high in carbohydrates, good source of energy)

• Corn on the cob/ Corn bhel / boiled corn with masala (excellent source of fibre, good; for memory)

• Low-fat yoghurt (good quality probiotic bacteria, low in glycaemic index, contains a small percentage of vitamin B, good for the skin and hair)

• Whole wheat frankies stuffed with paneer/corn/spinach/potato masala

• Steamed idli with coconut chutney (good source of carbohydrate and protein, good satiety value. Coconut chutney has natural saturated fat, and is high in vitamin E)

• Uttappa stuffed with onion, capsicum, tomatoes (anti-oxidants)

• Sprouts bhel (protein, living food, high in fibre)

• Potato with jacket with mixed vegetable salsa

• Wholegrain biscuits Yummy recipes

Corn melody
• 50 gms yellow corn
• 50 gms french beans, chopped
• 50 gms carrots, chopped
• 100 gms shelled green peas
• 2 to 3 tbsp green chilli and ginger paste
&bul; salt to taste
• ½ cup coriander, freshly chopped
• ¼ cup grated coconut
• ½ cup milk
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• ¼ tsp. mustard seeds
• a pinch of asafoetida
• 7 to 8 curry leaves
• Crush the yellow corn in a blender
• Boil the vegetables till half done and strain
• In a pan heat oil and add mustard seeds to it. When it starts to splutter add asafoetida, curry leaves, corn, milk, vegetables, salt, ginger, and chilli paste to it
• Let it cook for sometime. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the pan
• When the corn is tender, remove from the fire. Stir in chopped coriander and grated coconut. Serve hot

Masala idlis
• 5 to 6 steamed idlis
• tomato, chopped
• green capsicum, chopped
• onion, chopped
• tbsp pav bhaji masala
• tbsp red chilli powder
• salt to taste
• tsp. oil
• Cut the idlis into cubes.
• Heat oil and add chopped vegetables and masala to it.
• Fry for sometime and then add the idlis.
• Mix well and serve hot.

Paneer cutlets
• 150 gms paneer, crumbled
• 4 potatoes, boiled and mashed
• 1 onion, chopped finely
• 5 to 6 green chillies
• a small piece of cabbage, chopped finely
• coriander for garnishing
• brown breadcrumbs
• salt to taste
• Mix all the ingredients and shape into cutlets.
• Coat with breadcrumbs and cook on a nonstick pan till brown. Serve hot.

Masala green channa
• cup green channa, soaked and boiled
• ½ cup capsicum in all colours, chopped
• 1 tsp. chaat masala
• ½ tsp pav bhaji masala
• salt to taste
• ½ tsp red chilli powder
• ½ tsp amchur powder
• 1 green chilli, chopped finely
• ½ cup chopped onion
• 1 tsp oil
• ¼ cup chopped coriander
• Boil the chana with salt and set aside.
• Heat oil in a pan
• Add all the chopped vegetables to it along with the masala
• Mix well and add the boiled chana
•Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot

By: Naini Setalvad
Obesity and Health Food Consultant

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tips for Healthy Eating and Losing Fat

* Eat a small meal or a snack every 2-3 hours to keep your blood sugar level, energy and mood stable. Eat less food more often!

* Include a lean source of protein at each main meal.

* Protein is the key for fat loss because it has a high thermogenic effect. This means that your body produces more heat when digesting protein; therefore, you burn more calories.

* Consume plenty of salads and vegetables as these are high volume foods.

* Avoid refined carbohydrates as these foods easily store as fat and give you a surge of energy followed by a drop in energy and mood.Examples are white sugar and white flour products such as white bread, white rice and white pasta.

* Choose complex carbohydrates as these foods are released slower into your system so they stabilize your energy level. Examples are whole grains such as brown rice and rye bread.

* It is best to eat your carbohydrates earlier in the day so that you have more time to burn them off. Limit starchy carbohydrates for fat loss.

* Include essential fatty acids (good fats) such as olive oil and omega 3, 6, and 9 in your diet.

* Fruit intake should not exceed 2 servings per day when you are trying to lose weight. Avoid fruit with and after a main meal that contains animal protein as this may cause digestive problems. Have fruit 1/2 hour before a meal or 2-3 hours after.

* Drink 8 cups of water/herbal tea/green tea per day. Avoid with meals. Avoid tap water.

Source: JM Nutrition