Friday, August 31, 2012

Healthy Substitutes

Ever since I became a mom, I realized the importance of nutrition and a wholesome balanced diet. I started paying more attention to food as a tool for providing nutrition and health to our bodies, rather than something I used to stuff in me to please my taste buds or fulfill my hunger pangs. Now every time I am at the grocery store, I notice I read more closely, the nutritional content and ingredients on boxes of cereals, juices, crackers and other staples. More importantly, I began to appreciate the benefits of using organic food as much as possible and using healthier substitutes instead of the usual culprits to fulfill kids cravings for junk and comfort food. Over the past few years, my loyalty has gradually shifted from the supermarket to organic food stores.

Lately, I am noticing more and more people are now being careful about their food choices as well especially when it comes to protecting their children and families from pesticides, toxins and other chemicals in our day to day food. This I am learning by chatting with other moms who I see frequenting the organic food store aisles and buying pretty much their entire week's worth of groceries there as against going to a regular supermarket.

So if you are one of those people who have a nagging feeling that they should really take some steps towards a healthier lifestyle but are not sure how or are looking for smaller baby steps to figure out some healthier substitutes, here are some ideas that may be of help.

  • Use fresh fruits and vegetables rather than canned processed foods whenever possible to cut down on preservatives and other chemicals.
  • To make your regular wheat flour (atta) more nutritious, add 10-20% soya flour, besan, ragi flour or bajra flour (or all of them). You can also add 1 or 2 teaspoons of flaxseed powder or wheatgerm to the dough. This way you will have fortified mixed flour chapatis rather than plain wheat ones. Ofcourse you can also just choose to buy an organic brand of multigrain aata
  • Eat unpolished red rice or brown rice instead of regular polished white rice. Unpolished brown or red rice is a good source of fiber, essential amino acids and B vitamins, including B6. Experiment with the many varieties of unpolished rice available.

  • While making dosa, replace rice in the batter with brown rice or jowar/wheat/daliya batter. This will reduce the glycemic load. 
  • Choose unsweetened breakfast cereals and add in some honey and fruit to it. This will act as a natural and much more nutritious sweetener.
  • Pick multigrain bread over white and brown bread.
  • While making bhel, simply cut down on the sev and used roasted chana instead.
  • Instead of refined sugar in your milk, tea or coffee, switch to palm sugar for a more natural and low glycemic index alternative or stevia for a zero calorie and zero glycemic index option. Processed white sugar can increase acidity, causes mineral deficiencies, weakens immune function. 
  • Start your day with 1 teaspoon of wheatgrass powder in half a glass of water to get all the benefits you may get from 4 plates of green salad. Wheatgrass is a good source of chlorophyll, folic acid and a huge number of minerals. It is a powerful blood cleanser and an antioxidant.
  • When in the mood for something warm to drink, brew up a nice hot cup of green tea with honey in it. 
  • You can also make a dry cereal mix with lots of oats, bran, seeds,  and a variety of dry fruits (such as raisins, almonds, cashews etc.) and keep it ready.When a snack craving hits, just pour in a bowl, add milk, palm sugar and enjoy. 
  • Try cooking millet as a substitute for rice at times. 

  • If you are always in a rush during mornings and don't have time for breakfast, try whipping up healthy and wholesome smoothies at home. One power smoothie idea - whip together 1 cup of milk, 2 scoops of whey protein, 1 teaspoon palm sugar and 4 almonds. You can also add wheat germ or flaxseeds or a fresh fruit as optional. 

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. You can find many more yummy and healthy recipes in the Recipe Corner of our online store.

Do you readers have any other ideas or tips to improve the healthy quotient of their daily diet? Please share through this blog's comments - we'd be very interested to learn. Or you can also send in your healthy recipes at and I can post it here as a guest post!  

So here's to spreading health - one bite at a time!

No comments:

Post a Comment