We already know oil is bad for our heart, we know that we must cut down on sugar and salt, we know that our affinity with junk food will not go so well with the bulging belly.. In spite of knowing all this, we eat the same things and make the same diet mistakes!
The reason or the excuse we give is that eating healthy food seems tricky or difficult while the unhealthy options are plenty and easy to come by. The other reason is - following a diet when on the move or at workplace seems too demanding. Hence we bring those oily, spicy sabzis to office, gorge on puris and satisfy our sweet tooth through the deserts that we carry to the office…
But remember- eating healthy is as simple and as easy as eating unhealthy. It is all about the choice. Whether it is the healthy oats upma or the tasty paneer paratha, these options are not only tasty but these are not difficult to prepare. We give highs and lows on the popular dabba options and ways to make your dabba healthy.
Option # 1: Roti and Sabzi
Wheat flour that we use is milled from wheat grain separated from the outer covering or bran. It is this bran that contains many essential nutrients. Thus roti is essentially rich in carbohydrates with a very low percentage of fiber.
The Sabzi is prepared by washing, cutting and cooking the vegetable during which process many of the nutrients especially anti-oxidants are lost. All households have different ways of preparing sabzi, the spicier, saltier with plenty of oil version is not recommended.
How to make it healthy?
Add soya flour to the wheat flour to add proteins to the carbohydrate rich wheat flour thereby reducing glycemic value of wheat flour and giving us more sustained form of nutrition.
Other option is to frequently eat fiber rich green leafy vegetables and the protein rich sprouts sabzi along with the aloo and the bhindi that we love. Also remember to eat lots of sabzi as your daily requirement for vegetables is about 3- 4 servings with one serving being about half a cup size.
To get maximum benefits, alternate between sprouts sabzi in lunch and another vegetable at dinner.
The water in which sabzi is prepared needs to be used in the cooking. Add spices like hing or asafotida, kasuri methi, garlic, ginger in the vegetables. These spices give good flavor, have many health benefits and indirectly reduce the amount of salt that is needed for taste. Also you can opt for healthier oils while cooking like mustard or safflower. To make oils healthier, it is recommended that you change your cooking oil regularly, for example changing from mustard to safflower to get individual benefits of them all.
Option # 2: Rice and Dal
Rice we get has undergone processing and lost many of its outer layers along with the nutrients present in these layers. Fiber that is essential for weight loss and proper digestion is also lost in the process. The remainder rice is high in carbohydrates thus having a very high glycemic index. High glycemic index foods give a rush of energy which increases the amount of insulin in the blood but quickly fizzles out leaving you feeling hungry soon again.
Dal is generally made of tur dal and prepared by adding oil, spices, vegetables and water. All kinds of dals from masoor, tur and udid are rich in proteins.
How to make it healthy?
The combination of carbohydrates in rice and proteins in dal reduces the glycemic index of the overall meal. To reduce the amount of nutrients lost in rice while cooking, use a pressure cooker for cooking and to preserve the nutrients in dal, utilize the water used to cook the dal in its preparation. Also adding many vegetables adds fiber and other vitamins to the meal.
Avoid eating curd rice or just rice with pickle as it would hardly provide all the nutrients that are required from the meal.
Some essentials you must add:
No matter which of the two options you carry to your office, you need to add something more to it to make it nutritionally complete. Dr. Shweta Iyengar says, “Each meal has to be a balanced one, we generally eat chapatti or rice which are both high in carbohydrates, you already get the fat required from the oil or ghee that you add. You need proteins to balance out the meals.”
Here are some of the options to make your dabba healthier:
Vegetable Salad: You can carry slices of carrot, cucumber, tomato, cabbage and radish and add some lemon juice to it to give you taste and flavor. Not only will you get closer to the required amount of fiber, you will also get your dose of servings to be consumed in a day.
Sprout Salad: Soak moong dal, matki, rajma, chana and the other cereals overnight in a clean damp cloth. Add a little of salt (sea salt is a better option), squeeze lemon juice on it. If you want more variety add onion, coriander leaves and tomato to this mixture.
Non- Veg options: Those who are non vegetarian, you can carry along a boiled egg white sprinkled with a little bit of salt and pepper. You may also carry a chicken salad with a diced, cooked chicken served with vegetables and seasoned with mayonnaise or lemon juice.
Chaas: There is nothing better than finishing your lunch with a glass of cool chaas. Chaas or buttermilk has proteins, gives you Calcium and is known to aid digestion. Remember to add only a little bit of salt and no sugar. Sprinkling with jeera powder, hing and rock salt gives a good flavor. Remember to carry your chaas in a leak resistant bottle to prevent contamination or the chaas turning sour.
Fruit Smoothies: For those with a sweet tooth, here is a healthy option for you, you can add pieces of a fruit like grapes or mango or pineapple to curd and whisk it to a fine consistency. Chill the mixture and take it in a small container leak resistant bottle to office.
Some Poor Dabba ideas-
- Bread and Butter
- Roti with Chatni
- Stored foods like Chakli, Farsan