Achieving fitness with healthy recipes, mindful eating, and adequate exercise should not be a goal only for the unfit. It should be a way of life for everyone despite their shape, size and gender. In the words of Guatam Buddha, “To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Food and nutrition play a major role in keeping our body healthy. A healthy body inturn homes a sharp and happy mind. By no means should you believe that healthy food habits are about eating less. Rather, by all means, you should eat frequently. Yet, eat in small proportions, and eat balanced.
The Japanese don’t believe in over eating. In their culture there is a saying “hara hachi bu”, which means that one should eat only until they are 80% full. Often, while eating, we eat to our heart’s content and ignore the signs that our gut gives. That’s what leads to uneasiness, bloating, and other digestive issues. We also often indulge more in the foods that suit our taste buds rather than in those that meet our nutritional requirements.
In the Japanese culture, to get a good proportion of every element and taste in food, they often eat in one complete meal, different dishes in small proportions. One meal comprises a small bowl of rice, a little bit of miso, some fish or meat and tiny bowls of two or three vegetables dishes.
Even if you go by the traditional Indian thali preparation, you will realize the importance and emphasis laid on balanced eating. A thali usually is a perfect balance of all six tastes – sweet, salty, bitter, sour, astringent, and spicy. Also, Ayurveda has it that sitting cross-legged or in Sukhasana on the floor while eating aids digestion, keeps flatulence at bay, and improves circulation.
However, in our busy lives, we have little time to practice fully and mindfully what various cultures propagate about food habits. We need and survive on quick fixes. Thankfully, quick fixes need not always mean take away food on home delivery munches. Some easy to cook recipes that provide complete nutrition can help us stay healthy and fit even in times when we have little scope for exercise or balanced eating. Let’s get cooking ten such easy healthy recipes for the ‘on-the-go’ souls.
These idli-shaped little munchies make a delicious breakfast or evening snack. Quick and easy to make, all they need for this healthy recipe is some semolina, curd, fruit salt, boiled peas, and seasoning.
To make – Add 1 cup semolina in half cup curd. Mix in half a teaspoon of ENO. Add the boiled peas. You can choose to add any veggies (cooked) of choice. I usually add blanched spinach and coriander in the batter. Add seasoning.
You’ll need an appe maker for this dish. Keep the appe maker on medium flame and brush each round cell with little oil. Top each cell with half a teaspoon of the prepared batter. It will rise when you cover the appe pan.
Cook one side for four mins. Cook the other for three minutes to five minutes on low flame.
Low on calories this healthy food option is a complete meal that keeps you full for at least two to three hours. Good as a snack if travelling. And, absolutely delicious.
What you buy from Cocoberry at Rs. 150 or more can be easily made at home in less than Rs. 10. All you need for this easy, super healthy recipe is some thick homemade curd, some dry fruits, and honey. Wish to add flavors? You get them online easily.
Take a sieve and place it over a broad container. Over the sieve pour a bowl full of curd. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning the whey of the curd would have separated and you’ll be left with an even thicker consistency of what is called the ‘greek yogurt’ in the sieve.
Scoop all of it out and to it add dry fruits and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy the sweetness of health that’s full of protein and gives energy as well as satiety that lasts for a good three hours in the morning.
This is easy as pie, and way healthier. Take a toasted bread. If you like it crispy use a popup toaster and then spread some butter on it. Use garlic better for some crunch and flavor.
Mash the paneer or cottage cheese as you know it. And, add some finely chopped coriander as well as onion to it. Add salt, pepper, and a few chilli flakes. If you want some heat element to the toast, use finely chopped green chillies instead of chilli flakes. Spread this mix on the toast.
For 50 gms of mashed paneer you get around 130 calories. A single piece of wheat bread counts to 70 calories. Protein and carbs are well balanced in this healthy recipe. It’s just as tasty as healthy.
Just in case you want a warmer version of this recipe, instead of using a pop-up toaster heat the bread on a pan on simmered flame after spreading the paneer mixture on top.
We all have tried this as a side dish in marriages or in big parties. We all know it is super healthy and packed with nutrients. Yet, we choose to ignore the humble chickpea salad. As a breakfast option, this healthy recipe takes only ten minutes because you can always do the prep in the evening.
Soak the chickpeas for four hours the previous day and at night pressure cook it for fifteen to twenty minutes. Do check if the chickpeas need more pressure cooking. You can either choose to chop the veggies in the morning or do that too the previous night itself.
While breakfast all you need to do is mix all the ingredients and add some spices of your choice. Salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, celery, coriander, chilli flakes, oregano – add any ingredients that you like to the boiled chickpeas.
If you are watching your weight, don’t go overboard with chickpeas. Half a bowl (small one) of boiled chickpeas is just enough of what you’ll need. Load it up with veggies to complete your 250 calorie intake. One cup of chickpeas is around 257 calories. So, half it up for a 250 calorie breakfast that includes your share of veggies too.
Yummy food isn’t all about gooey cheese or dripping butter from a bowl of dal makhani. Soup can just be as yumm and satiating. Especially, if it is minestrone! Filled with veggies, pasta, beans, and peas, this soup is a complete meal.
You’ll love a generous serving of it on cold and windy winter evenings. It is indeed comfort food that will not leave you with an empty feeling, like most other soups do. You can easily replace your mashed potato for it because it is filling enough, yet not packed with extra calories.
About two cups of this soup give you 30 gm of carbs and 10 gms of protein. It’s as easy to find a recipe online for this healthy food option as it is to find this soup on the menu of an Italian restaurant.
Basic recipe requirements to cook minestrone is some veggies like carrots, beans, tomato, onion, celery, zucchini, and spinach. These you need to pressure cook for 10 mins with some water added. At this point, add some vegetable or chicken stock to the pressure cooked veggies.
Boil this concoction on medium flame and add a few cooked kidney beans and one small spoon of cooked pasta. To thicken the soup just add half a pinch of cornflour. To this add kidney beans (cooked), some salt and pepper. To quicken your cooking process, to the chopping before hand. Actual cooking time is around 10 to 15 minutes for two cups of this soup.
This is a no brainer and a no explainer. And, you actually don’t need a recipe to crack this one. Just for the nutritional value of it, we’ll tell you that to make a healthier, lower calorie omelette, use only egg whites.
Add spinach, peas, and some mushrooms that are power packed with energy. Because you are using egg whites only, you can use three egg whites, instead of using two whole eggs.
Semolina is one of the healthiest and most easily available ingredients. And, it can be turned into so many wonderful dishes – Halwa, Dosa, Idli, Vermicelli, Appe, Upma, etc. And, mostly, everything made out of it is delicious.
A serving of plain rava dosa gives you only 120 calories with 2 gm protein in it. So, to up the protein quotient of the dosa add 30 gm of paneer to it. Of course, you’ll need to prep the bhurji out of the paneer to add to the rava dosa, which won’t take more than 5 mins if you are using 30 gm paneer.
Enjoy this meal for breakfast, lunch, or even for dinner.
You can get roasted vermicelli packets from any grocery store or even order them online from a food mart. Chopped veggies can be either sourced from in a frozen form from a grocery or you can do the veggie chopping at home.
All you need to do is to bring the vermicelli to boil. And, cook the veggies for ten to fifteen minutes. One bowl of vermicelli will require around three fourth cup of water to boil in. Once the water in the vermicelli dries add the cooked veggies to it. Sprinkle salt, add a teaspoon of olive oil to it. Add coriander, pepper, and spices of choice. Give it a mix, and enjoy the meal.
A bowl of this recipe gives around 200 – 220 calories roughly, if you stick to using no more than ¾ katori of vermicelli.
Don’t bother about calories if you aren’t on weight watching. As an adult to maintain weight you need 1300 to 1500 calories a day, and this recipe will easily fit in your meals. The only thing you need to maintain if you are targeting fitness is maintaining your nutrition intake, which is, balancing protein, fat, carbs, sodium, potassium, and other micronutrients.
Sesame seed toast
One toasted bread, one tomato, 30 gm paneer, one-fourth chopped onion, and half a teaspoon of sesame seeds, can do wonders for you.
Sesame seeds are full of calcium, therefore, an excellent replacement for milk if you have an allergy or don’t like the taste of the drink. Tomatoes are rich in potassium and great for your skin and heart health. Paneer contains protein and some quantity of fat, onion too is touted for its many health benefits. Lastly, bread makes for your carb intake. Indeed, a complete meal in one recipe.
Time needed to prepare is just the same as that of a paneer toast – five minutes. Taste quotient – 100 percent.
A big mistake that most of us make while cooking pohe is using a lot of pohe and just a bit of veggies. Or, we skip the veggies altogether and use only potatoes in the recipe. Pohe is best had with loads of peas, beans, carrots, onions, and some potato in it.
Use only half a katori of cooked pohe to be mixed into your choice of cooked vegetables. You should and must add peanuts to this recipe. But again, no more than 6 or 7 peanuts in half a katori of cooked pohe.
As a breakfast or lunch option, pohe fits the charts perfectly.
Wrapping it up
The best way of eating anything and enjoying it, as well as getting the maximum health benefits of it is to watch portion sizes. You won’t regret the side effects of eating aglio olio if you know how much nutritional value your body needs and how much you are getting from a tennis ball sized serving of it. Having one slice of pizza is indeed better than eating an entire plate full of rice with only a spoon of vegetables on the size. On the other hand, gorging on three slices of pizza is only going to leave you feeling bloated and lethargic. Your health app will give you a good idea on how much nutrition you require, what your actual intake is, how much exercise you require, and where you are actually lagging.
When eating at home, try to indulge in a variety of foods from the healthy recipes we’ve shared above. If you like eating roti three times a day, choose multigrain flour instead of wheat flour. Stuff the roti with some fiber using vegetables like fenugreek, spinach, carrot, or cauliflower. This will get you more satiety from just one chapati where you usually go for two.
From aubergine to cabbage to bell peppers to carrots to tomatoes to potatoes – everything is good for health. If it is in the season it must be in your kitchen. Happy eating, healthy eating!