Health Topics

Healthy Living

April 2012
Ready-To-Eat Foods Right Choice Is The Key
Prachi Patodia Saraf
Fresh foods are often healthier than packaged foods, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a nutritious meal incorporating certain ready-to-eat/convenience foods in your diet. The key is to make the right choices, to interpret nutrition
labels and consume some sparingly

Today’s hectic lifestyle sometimes leaves us little choice but to choose practical alternatives like meal replacements.

Nutritionally balanced, filling, limited calories (200-250 calories) and low in fat, these are designed keeping in mind common health problems like diabetes and cholesterol.

The meals give a balanced mix of carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals, along with fibre.
These meals can be used as replacements for a meal or during a weight loss programme.
Meal replacements are easy to prepare and are available in different varieties. While easy to carry and prepare, these are not recommended on a daily basis to replace all the meals.

Whole Grains
Whole grains, essential for a healthy diet have complex carbohydrates, are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Research shows that whole grains can
keep many diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, at bay. Whole grains keep you full for a longer while, help manage weight better and improve digestion.
  • For breakfast choose from a variety of cereals ranging from oats, muesli, bran flakes and wheat flakes. (Avoid sugary, chocolate flavoured, coloured,
    refined cereals.)
  • Indulge in healthy snacking such as baked chips, multigrain thins, multigrain mixture, khakras, popcorn (avoid the buttered variety). Eat biscuits that are
    diabetic friendly and energy bars made of granola that are lower in calories and fat than traditional snacks. These are convenient, filling and easy to stock and carry.
  • For a light lunch, bite into a whole grain sandwich with salad or cottage cheese

Frozen Foods
  • Frozen chicken, fish, jumbo prawns are low in fat and high in protein. They are more hygienic than your local butcher.
  • Stay away from frozen foods such as chicken nuggets, French fries, paranthas, burgers, samosas which are fatty foods.
Protein And Calcium
They help build and repair the body. Include them in every meal and snack. Many people, especially vegetarians, don’t get enough protein in their daily diet.
  • Yoghurt provides calcium, protein and natural gut-friendly bacteria. Plain, probiotic and flavouredvarieties like strawberry or vanilla are available. Yoghurt makes a good low calorie and filling snack.
  • Ice cream is a source of calcium. Indulge in moderation or go for the sugar-free variety.
  • Cheese is available is varieties such as low fat, slim and fat-free. Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium. Have a slice as is or over a slice of whole grain toast.
  • Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fat, and is a great replacement for butter.
  • Nuts and dry fruits - walnut, pecan, prunes and pistachios are a great source of healthy fat, fibre and protein. Nuts also keep you full. They are easy to stock and carry.
  • It is common to see weightconscious women ditching soda for a cup of fat burning green tea. Other choices are white tea, jasmine tea and mint tea. They
    are great for weight loss and help digestion.
  • Get daily dose of calcium and protein with milk available as skim and soy.
  • If your diet lacks fruit, you can choose from juices such as cranberry, apple, orange, mixed fruit. Juices are a tasty way to add vitamins and minerals in the diet. Choose brands with no added sugar and preservatives. (Avoid juices when on a diet.)
  • Tasty vegetable juices are full of antioxidants. You can buy those without added sugar.
  • Buttermilk, sold in tetra packs, does not have to be refrigerated and is very easy to carry.
  • Skip the soda (full of empty calories) for sparkling water that has added minerals, hardly any chemicals and no calories. Jazz it up with lemon and mint.
7 Foods to Consider
Tomato Ketchup
Choices: Hot and sweet, spicy
Thumbs Up: Tomatoes have lycopene, rich in Vitamin A, betacarotene and antioxidants.

: Plain and stuffed in different flavours and sizes
Thumbs Up: Contain monounsaturated (healthy) fat and fight ageing.

Packaged Soup
Choices: Chicken, sweet corn, sweet and sour vegetable, tomato
Thumbs Down: Full of preservatives and salt. Drink occasionally.

Choices: Butter
Thumbs Down:
Saturated fat

Readymade Noodles
Choices: Healthier versions like flour, multigrain, power vitamin
Thumbs Down: Full of refined carbs, zero nutrition and high calories.

Convenience Foods
Choices: Soft drinks
Thumbs Down: Empty calories, high sugar, full of preservatives.

Readymade Pasta
Choices: Different sauces like mushroom, tomato, masala, cheese
Thumbs Down: Refined carbs, high calories, zero nutrition. Occasionally alright
Prachi Patodia Saraf is Health Enthusiast and Marathon Runner Mumbai
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
  • See additional information.