Coimbatore now serves up customised meals that help the healthy-minded keep to the straight and narrow, writes Subha J Rao
Fruits and broken wheat upma for breakfast. Juice at 11. Salads, vegetables and a millet-based dish for lunch, followed by fruits in the evening. A light soup for dinner. A perfect diet plan, as long as someone else is supplying them to you. Otherwise, it calls for some heavy-duty work in the kitchen.
Most of us ambitiously embark on diet plans. And after a week of no-oil, less-salt, no-sugar food, we abandon them and revert to the binging. Nasreen Jones, a nutritionist at Pink Fitness, says she has seen many success stories. But she’s also seen an equal number of diet plans go down the drain.
But, what if someone cooks as per your diet plan and delivers it to your home or office, fresh and hot?
That’s what the newly-launched DCamp (short for Diet Camp) does. You can choose from a range of millet, fruit and vegetable-based dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as those in-between hunger pangs. There’s date milkshake, with figs and low-fat milk; a filling boiled cumbu, onion and tomato salad garnished with grated radish and coriander; a bowlful of nuts, stuffed eggs, healthy momos made using ragi and dry fruits or pulses…
Coimbatore Diabetes Foundation Resort Hospital (93626-22728) has also been doing something similar. They don’t stop with cooking; they also have demos every morning from 10 a.m. to 10.30 to teach people how to cook healthy food at home. “Our kitchen primarily caters to our patients and staff, but we do cook for outsiders based on prior orders,” says B. Lakshmi, chief medical nutrition therapist. Their typical 400-gm diet meal packs a mere 450 calories and includes a millet-based pongal and upma (varagu, thinai, saamai…), sprouts, fruit salad, vegetable salad and sambar/dal.
The cost? Rs. 75. “It’s filling for one person and is a wholesome lunch,” says Lakshmi. Clients have to pick up the meal from the centre, though.
Even in the cooking classes, Lakshmi attempts to teach people one-pot dishes that contain vegetables, pulses and millets, and adds a fruit on the side to make it a wholesome meal. “That’s the only way to sustain interest in the diet. Otherwise, people give it up,” she says.
It was love for millets that got NRI Mahesh Kumar and his friends to start DCamp. “We never realised the worth of millets till we were here. When we shifted abroad and started cooking on our own, we rediscovered them. Ours is such a rich food culture and we are not tapping into it,” he says. Since they all hail from Coimbatore, they started an outlet here. The R&D team works out of Singapore. Everything is weighed and its nutrient value noted, says C.K. Sankar, health and wellness advisor.
“Usually, a restaurant’s priority is taste, looks and finally nutrition. We work the other way around. We provide the nutrient value in an edible format; looks come last,” says Mahesh, head, innovations.