Who doesn’t like a good scrumptious burger or pizza with a side of crisp, salty fries and a large coke? It’s one of those ‘hard to say no to’ combos that easily tempt anyone.
With fast food outlets mushrooming everywhere, it is quite an arduous task to ignore them, not to mention the ease of ordering from your favourite restaurants online nowadays.
Regardless, we know that eating a decent portion of veggies every day is important for our health. The National Institute of Nutrition recommends the consumption of at least 100g of green vegetables and 100g of fruits, every single day, for healthy living.
Most of us find it tough to add these storehouses of essential vitamins, fiber and more into our diet due to the time, taste and ease of availability factor.
But, is there any trick to sneak healthy vegetables into our food ordered from outside?
Here’s what you can keep in mind, the next time that you order in food:
1. Pizza - opt for one that has a thin wheat crust with less cheese and vegetables for toppings. E.g a pizza with smoked or grilled chicken mixed with a good proportion of vegetables is the kind of pizza that you should go for.
2. Chinese food – Opt for whole wheat noodles or rice noodles rather than having noodles made of refined flour (maida). If momos and dimsums are your comfort food, then do make sure that they are (preferably) made from whole wheat dough and are steamed, not fried.
3. Soups – Opt for light and clear soups. Steer clear from thick soups that use a lot of cream in their preparation.
4. Burgers – Go for whole wheat buns or buns made from ragi or flaxseed. Make sure to go for a choice that has a lot of veggies like mushrooms, onions, and capsicum. Go easy on the cheese and sauce.
Making quick, gourmet-style healthy food at home
Preparing healthy fast food or turning a particular recipe into a healthy, gourmet dish, in our very own kitchens is the easiest way to ensure that we eat healthy. Here’s how:
1. Fruits and vegetables for breakfast!
The quickest way to consume veggies, fruits and greens for your breakfast is to add them to your smoothies.
Smoothies made from vegetables like beetroot, spinach, mint, tomato, sweet potato etc, along with superfoods like avocados and ginger, give your body the chance to absorb essential nutrients. Fruits like bananas, apples and berries help in lowering LDL cholesterol and also improve heart health.
Here's a quick recipe for a healthy cucumber spinach smoothie:
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cup spinach leaves
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp black salt
1 tsp grated ginger
Few mint leaves
Combine all the ingredients in a blender.
Add little water and blend until smooth.
Strain using the strainer
Garnish with mint leaves
2. Eggs with a twist
Consuming eggs every day helps you meet your daily protein requirement in the easiest possible way. Eggs are rich in nutrients and also keep your stomach full for longer.
Adding vegetables to your eggs makes the dish healthier and a meal in itself! You can add vegetables like roasted broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, tomato, basil, parsley and sweet potato.
Here’s an easy recipe for making a delicious spinach omelette:
1 cup spinach leaves
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of skimmed milk (optional)
Salt to taste
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Wash and chop the spinach leaves and slice the garlic into slivers
Crack the eggs into a bowl, and add a tablespoon of milk to it. Add a pinch of salt, and whisk the eggs gently.
Take a frying pan and add the chopped spinach, garlic, and sprinkle some salt. Let the leaves wilt, and take them off the pan.
Add the olive oil to the pan, and spread it evenly. Reduce the flame to medium, and pour the egg mixture, let the eggs spread evenly. As soon as the omelette starts to set, lift near the edges with the spatula so that the uncooked eggs can reach the bottom of the pan. Once the center of the egg starts to set, add the cooked spinach and garlic to the egg and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
Wait for the cheese to start melting, and once the omelette starts to get detached from the sides, fold in half. Gently slide the omelette to a plate.
3. Savoury Veggie Oats
Avoid the unhealthy, sugary, milk oats bowl and make a savoury bowl of oats instead.
Add vegetables like mushroom, cauliflower, peas, beans, carrots, broccoli and even avocados to your oats bowl to make a savoury meal. You can also add boiled eggs to your oats or cottage cheese to add some protein to your dish.
Here’s the recipe to make a bowl of savoury masala oats
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp grated ginger
1 green chilli finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 medium tomato finely chopped
1 ½ cups mixed veggies (carrot, beans, peas, bell pepper)
1 cup oats
2 ½ cups water
Salt to taste
2 tbsp coriander leaves
1 tsp lime juice
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
Take a pan, add oil, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then add the green chilli and ginger and sauté for a few seconds.
Add the onions and sauté until light brown. Add the chopped tomatoes along with the dry spices like red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. Cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
Next, add the mixed veggies and sauté for a minute. Add the oats and roast for a minute.
Add water and salt. Mix everything well. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium-low heat or till the oats are cooked properly.
Lastly, squeeze some lime juice and garnish it with coriander leaves.
4. Vegetable Power-Packed Pasta
Add more vegetables to your pasta other than the usual mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic and olives.
You can also add broccoli, corn, carrots, zucchini, basil and kale to your pasta to make it healthier.
5. Veggie Fries
Ditch the unhealthy potatoes! The next time you feel like snacking on something fried, try something different. Sweet potatoes, zucchinis, carrots and beans, make for excellent healthy substitutes for potato fries.
Slice the vegetables thinly, marinate them with herbs and olive oil and air fry them or bake them in the oven for a healthy yummy snack!
We hope that you will enjoy trying some of the recipes given above and take the step towards a healthier you!
Happy ‘healthy’ eating!