Having been a chef for the most part of my career, I realised how little time I had to focus on nutritious meals and my emphasis almost always was routed to quick food, perhaps maggi did the job after a long day of toil. It was only after I left the kitchen and began exploring my health and nutrition more closely, I came to see how easy it is to add that dash of good health to just about any meal. Here is a list of quick and easy ingredients that you can also add to your meal to ensure it gives you nutritious value and it is not just a bowl full of bad health, usually the food that is good on your palate is not so good for your waistline.
Turmeric – We Indians, are fortunate and blessed to have this ingredient readily available in our kitchens at any given point in time. The beautiful anti-inflammatory properties that it possesses makes it a super food for your stomach and brain too. All you need is a pinch of the spice to get you set right! In western cooking this age-old Indian spice has now gained ground and is being added to soups, salads, marinades.
Tea – Try the infusions of tea in your chicken broth, soup, salad dressing. Tea has huge medicinal properties along with some of the best tannins that add to your nutrition and well-being. Tea can be consumed in various ways, either as a brewed beverage or in cooking. You can make your favourite smoothie and add in some tea brew, it tastes great and has you feeling healthier too.
Healthier Sweeteners – Sugar needs to eliminated from most diets, by this I mean white sugar. For your health and nutrition, it is better to opt for healthy sugar substitutes which are natural and not Aspartame based. These include Honey, Jaggery, Dates, Date Palm Sugar, Coconut Sugar and Coconut syrup. Apart from adding that dash of sugar, these alternatives also add finer, calcium and potassium to your diet. With silent killer diseases such as Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes on the rise it is wise to wake up and smell the coffee, sooner than later.
Fresh Herbs- Add a few leaves of fresh or dried herbs to all your meals. Oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme and our very own indian varieties of curry leaves,coriander, tulsi they may seem as seemingly small changes and alternatives in your meal, but the nutritional value they add is paramount to your health. Herbs make for a perfect flavour additive to your soup, dal, marination or gravy. Herb infused teas are also gaining ground and becoming main stream ways to enjoy a perfect home cooked meal.
Choose your Oils Wisely – If you can cook oil less, there can be no better way of consuming our meals. However, it is wise to use the healthiest oils of the shelf, which include sunflower oil, coconut oil and olive oil. These are low on bad fat components and do not sit on your hips as stubborn fats or disturb your cholesterol levels, which in turn can cause heart disease. However, to keep your Vitamin D in check a tablespoon of oil a day, complete deprivation could lead to hazardous nutrition loss.
Cut Back the Dairy – Indulge in only good dairy, or low-fat cheese, milk and curd. Although dairy is needed to a large extent to keep you fit and your nutrition levels in check, make sure you use healthy alternatives at all times. The nutrition that this kind of food offers you is nothing short of whats needed for your body. However, an excess of this type of food can cause unnecessary health hazards. Indian paneer is cherished the world over and that would be the best type of dairy for you to consume.
These above are just a few ways you can add more to your meals, incase you take a keen interest in cooking your own meals, it is safe to include one or more variations or alternatives as you discover or read up on more recipes and content. Indian food by far is really healthy, if we look at consuming simple home cooked meals indian kitchens usually have the best vegetables, and spices which are now being researched on for the medicinal properties they possess. Avoidance is usually not recommended but yes substitution is. We do not need to stop eating altogether, yes we need to make radical changes that will help us in the long run and keep us agile and fit in days to come. A healthy body, gives rise to a healthy mind.
As Jim Robbins says “Take care of your body, its the only place you have to live”