To be honest with you guys, up until recently, I wasn’t really the type of person who would keep an eye out on everything that I or my family ate. This was mostly because I didn’t think I had the time and the patience to prepare tasty meals with healthy products (If that’s even possible). A few months ago, when my husband and I got the results to our annual physical checkup, we were astonished to see that both of us had cholesterol levels in the borderline and even our blood sugar levels were higher than desirable. A few other parameters like haemoglobin and ECG were also haywire. It was on that day that I decided it was time for a change and where better to start than the things we consume on a daily basis. I soon realized that eating healthy isn’t as hard as you’d think, with a few hacks and a bit of practice, you can have delicious, healthy foods right at your fingertips. Here a few things that helped me tremendously to gain control over my family’s health:
Look at the label
A major mistake that most of us tend to make is to skip out on reading the label of products. This is not applicable for fresh fruits and vegetables, of course, but for every other packaged item on your grocery list, it’s a must. Looking at the label can reveal various nutritional facts like vitamins, minerals, fibre, protein, fats, carbohydrates and so on. It will give you a clear picture of how many calories you’ll be adding by eating that particular food. Next time you go grocery shopping, turn the products around and you might be shocked at what you see. This also goes the other way round - I was amazed to see that certain products held more nutritional value than I first thought.
Since picking out the right ingredients forms the first and arguably the most important step in going healthy, you shouldn’t just go with the flow while shopping. On a recent grocery shopping trip, I saw Aashirvaad Atta with Multigrains on the flour section of the store. I picked it up and was amazed at what it contained. It contains six different types of hand-picked grains - Wheat, soya, channa, oat, maize and psyllium husk that promise to infuse proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibre into our diets. I didn’t realize until then that I was missing out on so many benefits by using just the regular atta to make my rotis and parathas. I must say that since I’ve started using this product, I feel more active and energetic, and it’s not just me, my husband and my kid clearly see the difference too.
It is impossible to completely restrict yourself from having foods that make your taste buds dance. I too am guilty of treating myself to halwas and kovas for the littlest of reasons. And you can’t really keep saying ‘No’ every time your child asks for a jalebi or a paratha. What you need to do in such cases is to substitute certain things in those ‘unhealthy’ foods in a way that it won’t compromise on the flavour. For example - If you’re buying snacks for your little one, always go for the ones that are baked rather than fried. These are just as delicious and much healthier.
In a similar way, the classic parathas that are made out of maida or regular atta can be made with multigrain atta that is much better. Aashirvaad Atta with Multigrains has helped me make my parathas and rotis super yummy and healthy.
Become a smart cook
When you’re cooking, what your family eats is decided by you. This gives you a lot of scopes to experiment and try out different things. I always make meal plans every week so that I don’t have to worry about what I need to cook every morning. See if your family’s favourite recipes can be made by grilling, sauteing or baking instead of deep frying. My child loves french fries but the store bought ones are high in sodium, calories and preservatives. So, I make them at home using an air fryer or bake them in the oven by drizzling a little bit of olive oil on top. You can reduce the total sodium in the dishes by cutting down on salt and adding more lime juice. While making sweets for your family to enjoy, ditch the white sugar and go for brown sugar or try a mix of both. If there are certain veggies that your child doesn’t take to, try adding small amounts of them into dishes that he usually enjoys but be careful to make it look very subtle. On certain dishes like spinach curry or a vegetable salad, it’s okay to go a little heavy on the seasoning because you have a lot more to gain than to lose.
Learn about portions
Portioning is more important than you think to maintain a healthy diet. Just like cooking, portioning is also something that you have complete control over. Basically, a portion is how much food one would choose to eat at a time. While eating or offering food to your family, only take the appropriate amount. I experimented by portioning my food every meal and was surprised to find that I was not hungry or starving like I thought I would be and over the course of few months, it even helped me lose a few extra kilos.
Do not add food to your plate just because there’s extra; pack it up and save it for later. While dining out with your family, instead of ordering appetizers and single dishes for every member, order a main dish and split it amongst yourself. You can always order extra if the food isn’t sufficient.
One might argue that smaller portions will definitely leave you hungry - For this, you can have small portions of food every 3 hours instead of 3 large filling meals in a day. This was a little difficult to adopt in the beginning but my tummy soon got used to it and now I can’t consume more than necessary even if I want to.
Being health conscious is essential in this day and age. Right from picking the right ingredients to preparing and serving them, all it needs is a little fine-tuning to get on the right track! To help you on this journey, be sure to pick up Aashirvaad Atta with Multigrains that will provide your family with all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibre.