Life under lockdown: 5 tips on how to eat smart and keep your weight in check
The lockdown extension and the uncertainty can make you eat unhealthy and binge leading to unnecessary weight gain. But for all of us who are in the #WFH mode here are five tips on how to eat smart and stay fit.
Manasa Rajan, Health Coach and Food Design at Eat.fit answers five questions on how to eat well and plan your meals particularly during this lockdown period.
How does one break-up their meals so as to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need without putting on weight?
We should eat more of nutrient-dense foods and less of calorie-rich foods. Nutrient-dense foods have more micronutrients, minerals and vitamins per calorie, example greens such as broccoli and spinach which have fewer calories and loads of vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in fibre. While calorie-rich foods are chips, biscuits and white bread. So, an ideal meal should include some dal, brown rice, cooked vegetables and a salad. This meal will have a balance of macro and micro nutrients and fibre, and will be light on calories.
What are the breakfast essentials that are ideal in keeping people's weight in check?
Whole grains like oats, millet or broken wheat eaten with some fruit or vegetables. You could opt for oatmeal with a fruit or millet upma, broken wheat khichadi or ragi dosa. These options keep you full with their fibre content and help create consistent energy and blood sugar levels. These food options reduce cravings, energy dips and caffeine dependence. Most importantly, you won't crave snacking between meals.
How should a lunch plate and dinner plate look like? What foods must be included in these two meals and how much of it?
Ideally lunch can be the large meal of the day, with multiple food groups, as our digestion is at its peak. Equal servings of lentils and some protein (rajma), wholegrain, cooked vegetables and a salad or cucumber should be included.
Dinner should be a smaller meal and simpler in terms of food groups, to enable quicker digestion.A light and early dinner, helps the body go into a recovery mode and a deep sleep cycle, which is important for good metabolism and balanced hormones. This process ultimately determines weight management. So dinner can be a simple meal with options like khichdi, a vegetable soup or roti and sabzi.
Evening binge is something that people indulge in. How could one avoid it? What foods are safe to eat - that will not add more kilos to an individual and help in building immunity?
When we eat well through the day, the evening binge is a rare occurrence. And if it has become a habit, it can be changed slowly by eating larger meals in the first half of the day and tapering them in the last half. What also helps while we are working on changing a habit, is to keep fruit or dates as go to options for the late night snack, along with herbal tea. Some other safe options are homemade popcorn or roasted channa that is rich in fibre and helps fill you up, without too many calories. Herbal or spice teas like ginger-turmeric tea or cloves-cinnamon tea can help fight cravings and strengthen immunity!
What are five must-dos when someone is trying to stay fit, healthy and indulge during this lockdown period?
1. Healthy desserts plan: Stock up on some healthy desserts for the occasional cravings. Banana ice cream, dark chocolate with roasted almonds or a simple microwave mug cake with jaggery are worth indulging in.
2. Healthy snacks: If you like snacking between meals, keep healthy options like makhana, popcorn, masala peanut and watermelon handy.
3. Add an activity that makes you happy: Dancing, running, watching your favourite show or FaceTime with your friends, any mood uplifting activity can relieve stress and help in releasing happy hormones.
4. Spices for a immunity boost: Add a dose of ginger/turmeric/pepper/cloves/garlic to your food/tea daily to get the extra -anti microbial protection.
5. Get some sun: Even though we are indoors, make sure you spend some time in the sunlight, especially in the morning. Sit by a window or terrace or at your door step. This will help your mood and improve the circadian rhythm.