Thursday, December 19, 2013

What’s in your kid’s lunch box?

Check out my article published in Complete Wellbeing magazine (14th Dec 2014):

A few smart ideas to pack a healthy and interesting lunch box for your kids: What's in your kid's tiffin?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eat, Pray and live healthy this Diwali

Flooded with sweet boxes on Diwali? Worried on how to deal with those extra sweet boxes? Here are some tips:
Diwali always brings back fond childhood memories of buying new clothes, bursting crackers and the house filled with the yummy aromas of various sweets and savouries being made at home. Preparations for Diwali would start a week or two in advance and the goodies stored in boxes for eating and distributing among friends and families during the festival. The more we gave the more sweets and other goodies that we got back in return. Though this happened just once a year, by the end of the festive season we got to the point of having an overload of sweets.
Read the whole article on Citizen matters: Eat and Live Healthy this Diwali
Published on 25th October 2013

Here's wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Safe Diwali :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Low calorie Creamy Palak Paneer

Creamy Palak Paneer (low-cal version)

Here's a low-fat version of Creamy Palak Paneer:

  • Palak: 4 big cups or 250 gms
  • Tomatoes: 2 big
  • Garlic: 4nos.
  • Ginger: 1"piece
  • Green chilies: 2-3 (or according to taste)
  • Paneer: 250gms (cut into cubes)
  • Skim milk: 1 1/2 cups
  • Whole wheat flour: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Hing(asafoetida): a pinch
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2tsp (or 1 tsp curry powder)
  • Coriander powder: 2tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 3tsp
  1. Puree the tomato along with the garlic and ginger.
  2. Bring some water to boil and then blanch the palak leaves for 3-5 minutes. Take out the leaves and puree when cool.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the bay leaf and cumin seeds, when they start to brown add the hing.
  4. Then add the tomato puree, garam masala, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric/curry powder and stir fry till you see the oil separating out.
  5. Then add the palak puree and mix well.
  6. Cover and cook for 10 minutes stirring in between.Add salt to taste.
  7. Mix the wheat flour in the milk and add to the saucepan. Mix well and then cover and cook for about 5mins.
  8. Add the paneer pieces and mix. Cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes while stirring gently in between.
Serve the creamy palak paneer with phulkas or plain rice and dal.

Note: You can further reduce the fat content of the dish by making your own paneer from low-fat or skimmed milk. Tofu can be used as a substitute for paneer for those who want a vegan recipe and it tastes equally good!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Are there healthy eating options at the movie theatre?

Are there healthy eating options at the movie theatre?
Watching a movie in a multiplex seems incomplete without a tub of popcorn and cold drink. But what you don’t realise is the amount of calories you add within those two hours. Earlier people often brought something from home to munch on whilst enjoying the film. But those days are gone when you could sneak in your own snack in the theatre. Nowadays, there’s no choice but to buy those overpriced snacks sold by the multiplexes. These can be very unhealthy.

 Read how to choose wisely when buying snacks in the theatre in my latest article published on the Zee News website:

Movie buffs, are you eating healthy at the theatre?

Be it at home or a multiplex, watching movies without a tub of popcorn is next to impossible. It gets even better with a soft drink, isn’t it? But what we don’t realise is the amount of calories we add within those two-three hours. While controlling the habit of binging is easier at home, there’s no choice but to buy those overpriced unhealthy snacks sold by the multiplexes. Nutritionist Sweta Uchil-Purohit tells us how to choose wisely when buying snacks at the theatre. 
Here’s a quick look at the approximate calorie count of some of the popular snack combinations sold at movie theatres:
SnacksCalories (approx)
2 vada pav + soft drink670
Veg burger + soft drink530
Chicken sandwich + soft drink460
Veg grilled sandwich + soft drink450
2 samosas + soft drink440
Potato chips (small) + soft drink315
Butter popcorn (tub) + soft drink320
Caramel popcorn + soft drink330
Nachos (1 bowl) + iced tea405
If you look at the calories, some of the snacks have almost as many calories as an entire meal! If this leaves you wondering what to do, just keep in mind that the star of the outing is the movie. The snacks and the drinks are just add-ons that contribute to ‘mindless eating’ (eating food without actually paying attention to what and how much is being eaten). 
That being said, there are ways to avoid or reduce the amount of mindless eating at the movies:
Eat a small snack/dinner before the movie: A bowl of fruits, chana chaat, homemade soup or proper meals are great to fill you up. Chances are that if you are already full, then you won’t be tempted to overeat on the snacks.
Pick a snack to share: Nothing better than sharing the calories. Popcorn is always great to share – keep passing on the tub so that you end up consuming lesser calories. You can buy smaller packets of snacks if there are less people to share with. 
Avoid aerated drinks: Drink water or fresh juice without sugar. Iced teas, bottled juices and aerated drinks sold at multiplexes are loaded with sugar, so avoid ordering them unless you have people to share it with. 
Check if you can get made-to-order snacks: Grilled sandwich without the butter or mayo, steamed corn without the dollop of butter, plain popcorn instead of the cheese or caramel flavours, lime juice with 2 tsp sugar (or a dash of salt), fruit chaat without the honey, cream or sugar – are all tricks to reduce the number of calories.
Recommended snacksCalories (approx)
Steamed corn (no butter) 1 cup130
Grilled tomato sandwich (no butter/mayo)170
Plain popcorn (1 cup)64
Lime juice (2 tsp sugar)60
Fruit chaat (no sugar/honey)100
Plain nachos (4-6 nachos) + salsa135
Choose the lesser evil: In case you are left with no choice, then pick the snack with the least number of calories and share it.
Even though Bollywood movies are longer and last up to two-and-a-half to a good three hours, just remember that nobody has till date starved to death at the theatre. You can always grab a healthy bite after the movie.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to beat the onion crisis with these 'No-onion' recipes

“Who moved my onion?”, “Onion may touch Rs.100/kg by Puja”, “Onion free with purchase of tyres”, “Know your onions”, “Amid LOC firing, India plans to buy onions from Pakistan”, “Soaring onion prices brings tears across India”-these are all the headlines the humble onion is making in newspapers across India!
Get on to any social networking site and you’ll find hundreds of ‘original’ teary jokes and see ‘rings’ with the onion taking the pride of place instead of a diamond! So much brouhaha over the price of one of the most essential ingredient in most menus seems justified. Jokes apart, yes, they do make you cry when you have them and also when you don’t!!
I’m not a student of economics, but here’s a thought-if the demand for onions falls, won’t the rates too take a dive? What if we all use onions sparingly? Normally where you would need 2-3 onions/ day what if you can make do with just 1 onion in two days? How???? For starters, try making your regular dishes by reducing the amount of onions or even omitting the onion altogether or the next simple alternative: prepare dishes that don’t need onions!
Is that possible? Cooking Indian food without onions?? Of course it is- there are many communities who make delicious food without onions or garlic. Even Ayurveda advocates the ‘Satvik diet’ in which pungent foods like onion, garlic, green chilli and others are not recommended!
Here’s what I do- make dishes that does not require onions, simple! It’s not impossible-think about it. There are dishes in your menu books or that you regularly make which do not require onions-just make these dishes till the onion prices fall, which it will eventually. I’m sure most people are already doing the same, for those at a loss here are a few dishes that you can try out for the next few days:
Read more: Face the onion crisis with these 'No-Onion' dishes. Published in Citizen Matters (26th August 2013)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Healthy Indian Foods to Eat during Ramadan

You can eat healthy even during Ramzan fast. A satiating meal in the morning is the secret. Here are some tips on how to go about it.
Here's : How To Eat Healthy Food during Ramadan (Published in Citizen Matters 19th July 2013)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Eating Healthy at a PUB? Yes, it's POSSIBLE!!!

Think of pubs and ‘fish and chips’ is the first thing that you associate with it – blame it on the Brits! You’d cringe at the thought of stepping into one if you belong to the ever increasing fitness and health conscious tribe. Well then here’s some good news for you: 

Read more in my article published in on 17th July 2013: Eating Healthy at a Pub? Possible!

Expert tips to eat healthy in a pub!

If you are a health and fitness enthusiast, pubs would be the last place on earth that you would be going to! After all, it is a place where people go to drink and be merry. That said, there are always times when going to a pub becomes a social necessity. We are certainly not advocating the use of alcohol, but merely giving you a few tips that will ensure that these trips can be made healthier than usual.
These days, pubs offer a lot more than fish and chips and with some smart choices you can actually find some healthy stuff in the menu. Nutritionist Sweta Uchil-Purohit tells you how to make healthy choices when in a pub.
For starters: What does one drink in a pub? Answer: Definitely not milk. But beware, you could get more calories from what (and how much) you choose to drink than the cake you refused earlier at the office party! That’s because every gram of alcohol contains 7 calories whereas a gram of sugar has 4 calories. While both these forms of calories are called empty calories, it is easier to go overboard with alcohol as it’s a drink. Add to this the food that you eat and you could be having a whole day’s calories in that one night!  For those who can stick to just one drink, here are a few tips to make sure that that drink lasts for a while to prevent someone from topping it up for you:
  • Take small sips instead of gulping it down (in which case you’ll be left twiddling your thumbs while the others are still drinking).
  • Nibble on some food in between sips.
  • Drink water in between – always good to keep yourself hydrated no matter where you are. Read about the 9 hangover remedies that actually work! 
And here’s a reminder of the approximate calorie* count for different drinks to help you make it last the whole night:
A glass of wine147ml125 calories
A bottle of Light Beer355ml110 calories
A bottle of Regular Beer355 ml150 calories
A shot of Hard liquor45 ml95calories
A glass of cocktail133mlanything from 100-300 calories
 *Note: Calories can differ from one brand to another depending on the amount of alcohol it has.
If you must drink then wine would be a wise choice given the associated health benefits. For the ladies who prefer cocktails here’s a shocker – some of them have more calories than alcohol alone! That’s because the calories from the syrup or sweeteners increase the calorie count in the drink.
If you want to stay off drinks completely, offer to be the ‘designated driver’ and you can be sure your friends won’t try to tempt you to have that ‘one small peg’. Opt for a juice instead of mocktails, as the latter is mostly a concoction of artificial flavours and colours.
Coming to food, follow the golden rule of avoiding food that is fried or greasy (chips, chivdas, fried papads, cocktail samosas, fried peanuts, French fries, fried chicken, Chicken 65, etc) or too sweet (desserts). Indian pubs have a good range of tandoori foods to pick from and these can be good news as these are foods that are baked with just a marinade coating like fish/chicken tikkas or tandoori paneer. Add a salad (without the dressing) and some nuts to munch with your drinks and you could just get home without worrying about that extra time you’ll have to spend at the gym to burn it off!
Here’s how a ‘healthy’ night-out at a pub can look:
Drink: Wine, water or juice
Sides: Nuts (salted nuts can make you thirstier so keep a glass of water handy) and a salad
Nibblers: Tandoori fish/chicken/paneer or grilled chicken/fish/paneer, steamed momos, satay, shish kebabs
Hit the dance floor if the pub has one as there’s nothing better than burning those calories while letting your hair down. All said and done, moderation and portion control is the key to leading a healthy lifestyle, so keep track of the quantity as well. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Healthy Monsoon Munchies

Published in Citizen matters on 9th July 2013: Enjoy the rains with these Healthy Monsoon Munchies

Grilled Sabzi/ Curry Sandwiches 

While you are tempted to eat some hot snacks during the rains, why not make the snack a bit more healthy? Here are some tips: click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Did you get your Vitamin D today?

Find out how, where, when and why to get your daily dose of vitamin D:
Published in Citizen matters on 26th June 2013: Did you get your Vitamin D today?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

7 Foods Good for Summer

With hot days and rainy nights, check what’s on your plate. And there is a place for leftover rice too! 

Published in Citizen Matters on 24th May 2013: 7 right foods for the Summer!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Healthy North Indian foods to choose when dining out.

Published in Health India on 22nd May: Healthy North Indian Food Choices When Dining Out

Dining out need not be taboo for health freaks or those who are on the proverbial diet. You don’t have to stop socializing or be stuck with a salad when the rest of the gang is polishing off the food like there is no tomorrow. With a little information, some smart choices and the determination to stick to portion sizes, you too can enjoy a healthy meal while dining out.
While every cuisine has its unhealthy quota of foods, there also are foods that can easily fit into the ‘healthy’ list. Regardless of which restaurant you choose, here are some general guidelines by dietician Sweta Uchil-Purohit to make healthy choices when ordering North Indian food.
Ask for water instead of juices, mocktails, aerated or alcoholic beverages. There’s no point in adding extra calories when you can drink nature’s zero-calorie drink – water.
Avoid fried foods, desserts and food made of refined flours: Pass on the pooris, bhaturas, pakodas, naans and roomali rotis and look for healthier options like whole wheat rotis or phulkas. Desserts are loaded with both sugar and fat and are best to be avoided.
Go for plain rice: Since most restaurants don’t serve brown or semi-polished rice, your only option is to ask for plain rice. This is definitely a better choice than biryanis or pulavs.
Ask for your food to be made without oil, butter, ghee and malai: Since most restaurants are now familiar with the health conscious crowd, they are more than willing to make changes to their dishes to keep their clientele happy. Be firm and put in your request while placing the order and hopefully your food will be cooked with less oil if not with ‘no oil’.
Always order a non-creamy soup and a salad (no dressing): This is an age-old trick used by weight watchers. Fill-up your stomach with non-creamy or thin soups and salads (without the mayonnaise dressing) and you won’t be able to eat much during the main course.
Choose items that are baked, grilled or steamed: These are healthy methods of cooking that don’t add extra calories to the dish. Tandooriitems, shashlik, grilled kebabs are all healthier choices than fried items.
Choose tomato based curries: These are lower in calories than themalai or cashew based curries. Rajma, chole and even fish or chicken cooked in tomato gravy is a better option.
Once you are familiar with these guidelines, you can easily pick out the healthy items from any menu. For those who love eating North Indian food, here’s a sample meal plan of what you can order:
Mixed vegetable soup
Tomato soup
Appetiser (optional)
Tandoori paneer/ Paneer Shashlik
Chicken tikka/ Tandoori chicken
Green Salad/ Raita
Green Salad/ Raita
Roti /Phulka/ Plain rice
Roti/ chapati/Plain rice
Chhole and Bharta 
Methi chicken and gobi mattar
If you have to choose an appetiser/starter, pick something which is a protein based, non-fried item (like tandoori paneer/hara bhara chickenkebab or prawn shashlik) as protein tends to fill you up and will leave you with little space for the courses to follow.  Eat slowly and try to relish every bite (mindful eating), stick to your portion size and if you feel that you are full even before the main course arrives, then ask for your portion to be parceled so that you can enjoy it in the next meal. If you do get tempted when the desserts are being served, then go ahead and take a spoonful from your friend’s plate. Cheers and happy dining!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mango Salsa recipe

Mango salsa, watermelon salsa, mixed veg and fruit salsa recipes- check out my salsa recipes that were published in Citizen Matters on 14th May 2013: For recipes please visit - Yummy-It's Salsa Time

 Different salsas
 Mango Salsa
Pineapple and Watermelon Salsa

Published in Citizen Matters on 14th May 2013: For recipes please visit - Yummy-It's Salsa Time

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to avoid the 'Delhi Belly' (Traveller's Diarrhoea) this summer?

How to avoid the 'Delhi Belly' (Traveller's Diarrhoea) this summer?

The word 'Delhi Belly' is a term which is familiar to most foreigners visiting India. The Urban Dictionary defines Delhi Belly as "Diarrhea or dysentery contracted from eating Indian (i.e. from India) food". It is also known as Bombay belly, Traveller's diarrhea, Montezuma's revenge (in Mexico), and Karachi crouch in Pakistan. This is said to be because of poor standards of food hygiene practiced by most restaurants and street vendors in most developing countries all around the world. 
Food hygiene is a broad term which is used to describe the preparation and preservation of foods in a manner that ensures the food is safe for consumption. If sanitary conditions are not maintained or if food is prepared by people who maintain poor personal hygiene, then the food could get contaminated and can spread diseases like salmonella and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). 
Proper food hygiene can help to protect communities and families from contracting these deadly diseases. Practicing food hygiene should not be limited to just the food/hospitality industry, but needs to be applied in our homes as well.  

How to avoid the 'Delhi Belly' (Traveller's Diarrhoea) this summer?
Here are some tips for maintaining food hygiene:  
  • Wash your hands well with soap and water before and after handling food. 
  • Clean work surfaces with hot soapy water and rinse well, utensils and equipment like cutting boards, knives, ladles to prevent cross-contamination. 
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well in flowing fresh water to remove surface dirt and bacteria. You can also scrub it with a vegetable brush if needed. This helps prevent dirt and germs from going into food when sliced with a knife.
  • Maintain personal hygiene and avoid touching or picking body parts or areas when preparing food.
  • Use fresh dish cloths and hand towels daily .Wash after use and store as dry as possible
  •  Avoid tasting food with the same ladle directly from the pot. This practice may contaminate the food and introduce microorganisms present in your mouth/saliva.
  • Do not smoke while preparing food as cigarette smoke can enter food. 
  • Keep raw and cooked foods separate to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cover cuts and soars with bandage and avoid touching raw food meant for consumption as salads.
  • Keep raw meats refrigerated and wrap it tightly until needed to prevent leakage. Make sure that the fridge temperature is maintained at 5°C and the freezer temperature is at/below-17°C.
  • Regularly dispose vegetable peels/scraps, rubbish and other food waste in which bacteria and rats /cockroaches can thrive.
  • Keep all food covered to ensure it cannot be contaminated by insects/pests (flies, cockroaches, mice, etc). 
 Personal hygiene and food safety go hand in hand in ensuring good health of not only our families but also the community at large. It is therefore important that good hygienic practices should be practiced in order to ensure that eating food in India is not synonymous with the infamous “Delhi Belly”!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013