Monday, March 19, 2012

March-Frozen Food Month

Like most people, I had no clue that there was such a month as “Frozen Food Month” (definitely frozen food manufactures have something to do with this)! Anyway, we were grocery shopping and a poster for the same caught my eye. Although I’m not for frozen ready-made/ready to eat food as it has way too much sodium and preservatives, I am a regular visitor to the frozen veggie aisle.
Frozen fruits and veggies are according to me a life saver for working women (and of course those men who can and will cook)! Washing, cutting and cooking veggies take time and that’s where these frozen veggies come handy since they are already cleaned and cut.
Nutritionally too, frozen veggies have the same nutrition as fresh vegetables and fruits. Some scientists feel that frozen fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than fresh foods as they are picked, cleaned, cut and frozen immediately after harvesting. Compare this to the amount of time it takes for the fresh veggies to be picked, packed, sent to the different parts of the country before it reaches a sabziwala(vegetable vendor) or sabzi mandi or bazaar near you. Even after that, it’s probably sitting on the cart/refrigerated shelf for some time before you pick (and put in the fridge) and it gets eaten!
The advantages of frozen veggies and fruit:
1) Easy, convenient and saves a lot of time (can you think of the amount of time saved peeling fresh peas)!
2) Sometimes frozen veggies can be cheaper when the fresh vegetable is not in season.
3) Similar in nutritional content as fresh veggies/fruits.
I always have a packet of frozen mixed veggies which has green beans, carrots, green peas and corn-I usually use this in pulav’s, upma, khichdi, poha, biryani and even in pasta and noodles!

What kind of frozen foods do you pick up?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It’s Time to …..Spring Clean your Diet

With spring just around the corner, people are getting ready to welcome the warmer months by clearing the junk, dust and dirt accumulated over the past few months and storing away the woollies for the next winter. This year along with spring cleaning your house, how about cleaning your diet too?
Spring cleaning the diet follows the same principles as that of cleaning your house-throw out the junk and stock up on the good stuff. Here are some tips to help you to start with:
Things to throw out/stop:
• Bhujias, sev, chivda/farsaan
• Chips, French fries and other fried stuff which are the regular snacks on cold winter evenings.
• Butter/ghee and the 5-10 liter oil bottles which was being liberally used on almost everything from dals to rotis,
• Egg puffs, aloo buns, vegetable puffs/patties
• Parathas, poories,pakodas/bajjis, samosas, vadas, butter chicken,
• All those ‘garam garam’ halwas-carrot, mung dal, sooji, kaju and such.
• Alcohol that was used as an excuse to “warm the cockles of the heart”!
With warm weather, the thought of oily, heavy food can make people sick in the stomach. Warmer weather calls for lighter cooking methods, more salads, fruits, buttermilk/chaas, and yogurts/curd.

Here’s a Simple Indian diet for Spring/Summer:
Early morning: Hot water or Tea
Breakfast: Idlis + chutney and papaya
Mid-morning: Masala chaas/buttermilk OR Tender coconut water

Lunch: Brown rice/semi-polished rice
Dal palak + cauliflower peas sabzi
Yogurt+Cucumber salad

Evening: Tea/ coffee with fruit chaat
Dinner: Phulkas with capsicum sabzi
Masoor dal,
Carrot raita

Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated with at least 10-12 glasses of water every day.