Most of us want to get healthier. Most of us also know that we need to eat better and make lifestyle changes to become fitter, more active and get more out of life. Getting your body in better shape is not even an issue of vanity. Year on year, more and more Indians are falling prey to heart disease. A recent WHO report revealed that depression is becoming a silent epidemic in India. With the increasing ambitions of a modern India, stress and mental illness is on the rise too. The toxic cocktail of mental illness, physical ailments and burgeoning pressures – how do we combat it? With 24 hours whizzing past us every day, how do we make the time to make more responsible food choices every day?
What we lack in time, we can make up for by incorporating small changes in the way we shop and cook.
1) Look at the ingredients
Just because it says ‘healthy’ on the packaging, does not make a product good for you. Most packaged food is highly processed and contains high levels of sugar, salt and other additives. Watch out for excessive preservatives and stabilizers. For e.g. opt for 100% fruit juice, instead of juices with added flavoring and sugar. Instead of branded cookies, why not buy homemade oatmeal cookies? Pay close attention to the calorie count and fat percentage per serving. It is quite simple – what you put into your body is what you get out of it.
2) Smart substitutions
Often, changing just one ingredient in a meal can completely transform it into a super healthy one. Consider swapping your regular cooking oil for a cold pressed oil like sesame or mustard oil, which are healthier. The next time you get a sandwich craving swap the white bread for much healthier brown bread, which is packed with fiber, Vitamin B, Vitamin K and Folic Acid. Try peanut butter in place of regular butter, or a fruit salad for dessert, instead of another cookie.
3)Add high-volume, high nutrition foods to your meals
Often, when we are ravenous, we tend to eat a big plate of something, and moderation can go out of the window. Have you ever eaten a big plate of pasta, only to feel bloated and awful afterwards? Do not worry, we are not asking you to ditch the pasta! However, why not start with a great salad? Salads are not just great for you; they can also be very filling. This ensures that your appetite is satiated, but that you do not end up eating things you will regret later. You can also opt for a high fiber soup before your main meal. Such a soup is low on calories and makes sure you get a chunk of your recommended daily fiber intake.
4) Opt for wholesome snacks
Ever noticed how much popcorn or how many chips you can end up eating when you have stayed in to watch a movie? We are all guilty of frequent, unhealthy snacking when are bored or when we are in between meals. Resist that big bag of fried chips and go for some delicious, baked soya snacks. When in the mood for a snack at work, carry some walnuts or almonds with you. Walnuts are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and almonds are packed with Vitamin E. Small snacks over the course of the day can add up to a lot, so why not make them nutritious ones!
5) Dietary supplements
Houston, we have a deficiency problem! Studies have found Indians to be largely Vitamin D deficient. We also need adequate amounts of Calcium, Omega-3 DHA, Vitamin D3 and Fiber for our bodies to be in tickety-boo shape. These nutrients are essential for several functions of our cardiovascular system, nervous system, heart health, eyesight and the immune system. Dietary supplements are a convenient way to ensure that you do not miss out on these nutrients.
India now also has 100% vegan and vegetarian dietary supplements, which are highly bioavailable, optimized to deliver the right dosage and completely derived from plant sources.