How to hog healthily- A guest post by Tarini Tripathi

You like to go out? But want to eat healthier? Is that even possible? YES, IT IS

The increasing need for a better lifestyle requires a shift in the way we eat. Recently, importance has shifted from exercise to the need of a healthy balanced healthy diet.

Eating out is a big part of our lives, it’s convenient but it can be a tough choice when you want to lead a healthier life. Until sometime back, even I didn’t know how to eat out without feeling bad about cheating a bit. But with some basic and easy tips, even eating out can steer you to a better-balanced diet.

Pick a few of the following and try it out next time you go out and tell me how it goes:

  1. Drink MORE water: Drinking water before and with a meal, especially if you drink it instead of sugary drinks, helps reduce your intake of calories and added sugar.  You can add lemon, mint or cucumber to your water to make it taste a bit more interesting.
  2. Eat MINDFULLY: Mindful eating means making conscious choices about what you eat and giving your full attention to the eating process. Take the time to savour the aromas and flavours of your meal. I do struggle from doing this as well
  3. SLOW DOWN: Chewing your food thoroughly and eating slower makes you feel full more quickly. You don’t need to count the number of chews, but try to consciously eat slowly and savour each bite.
  4. Ask to Make A Healthy SWAP: Everyone knows that vegetables are healthy, but did you know at restaurants you can ask the waiter to swap out part of your meal, such as fries or potatoes, for extra vegetables or a salad. You’ll boost your vegetable intake and cut your calories in the process
  5. Ask for Sauces or Dressings on the SIDE: Sauces and dressings can add a lot of extra fat as they are oil based, so ask for your sauce on the side. Keeping it separate will make it much easier to control the amount you eat, allowing you to adjust the amount you have.
  6. Avoid EMPTY CALORIE drinks: “Empty calories,” such as carbonated drinks are said to reduce the consumption of foods that contain essential nutrients. If you want to make a healthy drink choice while dining out, stick to water or unsweetened tea.
  7. Another good idea, is to lean towards Mediterranean, Mexican and Japanese cuisines. These tend to be healthier than other cuisines because of the ingredients used and the way the food is prepared.

For the folks in Mumbai, here are 7 restaurants, where you won’t have to pick the healthiest off the menu but choose among them.  

  1. The Bombay Salad Company
  2. Sequel
  3. Subway (provided you don’t put too much sauces on)
  4. The Village Shop
  5. Flax
  6. Bonne Sante
  7. The Herbiary

I bet you’ve heard about the new fad about “Superfoods.”

Here’s the internet’s definition:

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But my definition is “everyday vegetables and foods.”

People usually associate superfoods with exclusivity and the fact that it is expensive, but on the contrary you can find superfoods in your local bazaar for a cheap bargain.

Here are some superfoods you may have not known about:

  • Broccoli
  • Indian Basil Seeds- the thing at the bottom of a Falooda
  • Beetroot
  • Millet
  • Barley
  • Coconut- the whole package
  • Ginger
  • Haldi
  • Carrots
  • Flax Seeds
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Buckwheat
  • Almonds
  • Sweet Potato
  • And my favourite of all- Cashew- a good substitute for cheese. Yes, CHEESE

But something to keep in mind explained by Alison Hornby, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association (BDA), is that, “No food, including those labelled ‘superfoods’, can compensate for unhealthy eating.” Your body will adjust with consistency and discipline. These foods can all be tasty as well as healthy if you prepare it in the right manner.

Lastly, I feel that fitness and health is 80% food, exercise just gives you a reason to replenish and fuel your body with the right food. Your aim should be a Super Diet. That means maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits, veggies and wholegrain food. If anything comes in a package it’s probably not good for you. But in our busy lives cooking everything at home can be difficult. Therefore, slowly try to meal prep and make conscious choices about the food you eat outside.

Take your first step at home by making an easy and healthy mac & cheese. The recipe’s below!

HEALTHY MAC AND CHEESE

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 maggi vegetable stock cube
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard (optional)
  • 4 cups wheat macaroni pasta 
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Oregano (optional)
  • paprika, for garnish
  • Parsley or basil, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Soak cashews in the ¾ cup of  hot water for 10 mins
  2. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. 
  3. While the pasta is cooking, combine the soaked cashews with the water it was soaked in, lemon juice, salt, stock cube, chili powder, garlic, turmeric, mustard and any other flavouring you want to add. Then add it in a blender and blend until silky smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add 2-4 more tablespoons of water and blend again. 
  4. Keep the sauce to the side, and once the pasta is “al dente”- tender-, drain and rinse it, then return the pasta to the pot and stir in the sauce.
  5. Season it further if required and EAT IT before someone steals it from you!

There’s one thing you should keep in mind, eating healthy should not stop you from exploring restaurants, you just need to make small decisions about what you’re going to eat. All the food you eat can be tasty as well as healthy and taking small steps can lead you to a more healthy sustainable diet!

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