One of the few positives of the Covid-19 pandemic is that it brought out the creative side in a lot of us, as we began experimenting with different foods and ingredients. For those of us dedicated to a healthy and nutritious lifestyle, we’ve definitely reduced our reliance on outside food. We normally get a lot of questions from our clients asking variations of the same question: “How do I make this healthy?” So, let us look at some ways to get around this.
AVOID HUNGRY GROCERY SHOPPING
I have realized that when we go shopping on an empty stomach, we tend to buy the most unnecessary things. A whole lot of processed food ends up in your basket because of this. Go shopping after you have eaten a meal. Do it on a full stomach and you will notice that since you are full, you will not feel like stocking up on processed foods.
STOCK UP ON ANTIOXIDANTS
Stock up on items that are considered to be antioxidant powerhouses – fruits and vegetables. When you are hit with hunger pangs, opt for one of these. They make for delicious salads and smoothies.
It is very easy to make spreads at home – jams, jellies, nut butters, etc. Healthy dips are also very easy to make. They don’t take a lot of time to make and they are free of chemicals and preservatives.
You can make hummus, hung curd dip, and avocado dips at home too. Signing up for my free recipe emailer at www.nourishwithsim.com will give you access to loads of delicious, easy to make dishes.
Most of us often have sugar cravings every now and then. How does one beat them? Start with a glass of water and then have two dates or a piece of fig. If you are still feeling hungry, go for a very ripe or overripe fruit. You can also look at making a “nice cream”. All you have to do is freeze some fruits of choice and blend them together. Banana can be one of the fruits used to give it a texture similar to ice-cream.
Make sure you drink lots of water throughout the day and have a glass of water 30 minutes before your major meals. Sometimes the body mistakes thirst for hunger, so ensure you drink water before you get down to eating your meal. You can also have infused/flavored water to help increase your water intake. Add whole spices/lemon/ginger/pepper/mint etc. to your water. It brings more flavor and spices have added benefits too!
HOW TO AVOID BINGE EATING AND BLOATING
Staying at home makes us want to binge eat. It makes us way more than what is required. You have to make sure that your diet is well balanced diet – has the right amounts of protein and fiber to curb you hunger. Ensure that you get sufficient sleep and it is very important to sleep on time. Go to bed 2-3 hours post dinner and make this a routine. Do not try any fashionable diets which are likely to increase your cravings. Drink lots of water throughout the day and avoid skipping meals.
All of us have experienced bloating post meals at some point and this is extremely common. You can have jeera/ajwain/fennel water to ease the symptoms. Make sure you boil these in water. Add curd in your everyday diet as it has probiotics and can ease digestion and alleviate symptoms. Include a variety of probiotic food in your diet like idli, dosa, dhokla, sourdough bread etc. Include fermented food in the diet like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, pickled veggies (homemade) and kanji.
THE MOST NUTRITIOUS FOODS IN WINTER
As winter is here, let us look at some foods that are nutritious and winter friendly to add to your diet.
ROOT VEGGIES – You should include root veggies, especially sweet potato, into your diet during winters. Please remember roots and tubers provide a good amount of carbs in your diet. So, reduce your roti and rice portion and replace the removed portion with your chosen root vegetables. Alternatively, you can just have consume a portion of root vegetables for your meal to replace rice/roti.
SOUPS – Cold winter nights and hot soups are a match made in heaven. You can make soups with root vegetables too. A mixed vegetable soup would be ideal and you can add some tofu, paneer or egg whites for protein and make it a wholesome and balanced meal!
SPICE BREWED DECOCTION – Though it sounds complicated, this is very simple to make. Boil spices of your choice with water. You can choose one spice or a combination of spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, star anise, nutmeg, bay leaf, peppercorns, fennel, coriander etc. Have this with just a pinch of jaggery and a splash of lemon juice (optional). This is a great post-heavy-meal drink and aids in digestion.Simrun Chopra's recipe for Hummus
NUT BUTTERS – There is no better spread for your toast than home-made nut butter. This is extremely easy to make. Just roast a cup of the nut of your choice and then blend it. And its done. Its that simple. You can add a pinch of salt and a spoon of jaggery or brown sugar to this. It is a great alternative to store bought nut butters.
KHICHDI – A warm bowl of Khichdi not only elevates my mood, but also provides me with nutrients. You can add leafy green like saag, palak, etc. to your khichdi and remember to add lots of veggies to make this healthy and yummy. Just imagine a hot bowl of masala vegetable khichdi with a few drops of ghee on top – a winter essential!
Follow me on Simrun.Chopra on Instagram and subscribe to my free recipe emailer at www.nourishwithsim.comSimrun Chopra is a Bengaluru-based lifestyle coach
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A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.
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