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DON’T FORGET THE FIRST MEAL Our traditional breakfasts are good choices
DON’T FORGET THE FIRST MEAL Our traditional breakfasts are good choices

We always have healthy options — of ingredients, method of preparation — which we tend to overlook

Never skip breakfast: ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’. Breakfast should be substantial with the right mixture of proteins, carbohydrates and fibre combined with servings of fruit. A good start prevents binging.

Our traditional breakfast items are healthy, being steamed, and non-oily. These include idlis, semiya, kadubus, sannas, idiappams (string hoppers), kozhikattas (dumplings), puttu and the like.

Veggies added to idlis enhances the nutritive value. A balanced breakfast should provide you with 25 per cent of your daily calorie intake.

Look for alternatives

Bake potatoes in place of deep-frying them. For instance, bake potato chips with minimal oil and salt instead of French fries.

Steam and sauté food instead of boiling and frying. Pressure-cooking ensures the right colour, taste and nutrients if used for the right time. Go for sprouts. Opt for organic produce.

Read the food labels closely. Remember, anything in the range of 450 to 500 calories is high-cal. A serving with over five grams of fat is best avoided.

Choose freshly squeezed fruit juice or cut fruit over readymade ones. Aerated drinks contain empty calories and loads of sugar. Stir together a glass each of orange, pineapple and lime juice. Add ice cubes for a cool citrus drink.

Prefer fruit preserves with no artificial additives to sugar-laden jam.

Go for fresh fruit desserts rather than high-cal bakery stuff. Slice a ripe mango or chikoo in half. Scoop out and enjoy each spoonful.

Choose whole wheat atta over refined flour. Avoid saturated fats – butter, ghee, vanaspati, dalda. Also keep cream and cheese intake to a bare minimum. In its place, substitute with small doses of spices or herbs. Opt for low-fat spread. Go for oil-less dressings for salads.

Also, watch your portion size. If you must order or eat out, go for the smallest size. Avoid fried, bakery, fast food items. Having a glass of water before your meal staves off excessive hunger.

Avoid the third cup of tea, coffee or caffeinated beverages per day. Use skim milk and low-fat yoghurt instead of full-fat.

Maintain a food journal. Honestly record every morsel you ate.Resist with a bowl of plain fruit salad. Keep an eye on the salt, sugar and oil level when cooking. Use minimum oil for tempering. Microwave papads.

Junk processed food

Use fresh homemade chutneys and dips instead of high-cal readymade sauces and ketchup.

In place of three heavy meals, try having five to six mini-meals spaced throughout the day. Downsize your plate and mugs. Eat slowly and mindfully. It takes twenty minutes for the brain to register the feeling of fullness.

Eat snacks only when your stomach really growls. A handful of nuts is better than a sugary snack as a one-time snack. Choose regular coffee over calorie-rich ones from fancy joints.

Stock your fridge with fresh food choices and weed out all the junk, processed foods.

Eating right is a choice of a lifetime. Instead of turning a blind eye as to what you consume, be aware. This calls for conscious lifestyle changes rather than a one-time affair.

PARVATHY MENON

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