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Eat healthy at home

Nothing fancy about it a healthy diet doesn't have to pinch the pocket and include expensiveingredients and supplements. Familiar, everyday foods can help you lead the lifestyle you want

travel Updated: Feb 27, 2010 10:18 IST

When it comes to weight loss or fitness goals, food is almost always tricky territory. There are so many questions that are unanswered. Can I still eat my breakfast staple a dosa if am trying to lose weight? How much can I eat? Do I have to avoid rice completely? Are all those packaged `diet foods' on super- market shelves really healthy?

Amid all this confusion, there is another niggle. Whether you are trying to eat healthy to lose weight, maintain weight or just supplement your intense training routine, the `diet' label is some thing you just can't escape. But diet doesn't have to be an exercise in depriving yourself of food or giving up on the food you love.

It's just about making a few small changes in what you eat and selecting healthier options. selecting healthier options.

Which brings us to another commonly held notion. That typical Indian food is never going to help you meet your fitness or weight loss goals.

But you know what, you don't really need to go on a diet of some expensive health foods and supple- ments to get fitter. Which is why, we got our nutrition experts to list out a healthy meal plan for you that includes typical, everyday Indian food. We have made these meal plans with three groups in mind:

The first group includes those people who're already at their ideal body weight and enjoy an active lifestyle.

The second group consists of those who want to lose weight (and hence put in about an hour of fairly intensive exercise every day).

The third group includes those people who are into intense physical exercise either for sports training or general fitness (i.e. work out for two hours or more daily).The meal plans are laid down with an average person in mind, say someone who is 5'6" tall.Depending on what your height and sex are, you may need to modify the diets accordingly.

Apart from the general meal plans, we have also listed some super foods for the three groups. That's because each of these groups have specific diet requirements and eating a suitable super food that packs all the nutrients your body needs the most will help you meet your fitness goals in a better way.

The meal plans also make allowances The meal plans also make allow for beverages like tea or coffee. cup or two a day with a little less sugar never hurt anyone, did it?

As for alcohol, let's say a drink a day would be fine if you are trying to lose weight or if you are already at your ideal weight. However, if you wind up having more than a drink a day, you sabotage your weightloss plans. For those undertaking an intensive training programme, a drink a day is defi- nitely not a good idea.

The diet for active, healthy people
Early morning:

One-glass warm water


One cup of skimmed milk (with 1/2 teaspoon sugar) + 2 whole wheat bread slices sandwich (avoid too much cheese, butter or jam) or 1 bowl wheat flakes with skimmed milk or 1 thalipeeth (with less oil) with curd.

Mid morning: One fruit.


3 chapatis (or 2 chapatis + 1 cup rice) + 1 bowl dal or soya chunks + 1 cup vegetable + 1 cup curd.


One cup tea or coffee (with 1/2 teaspoon sugar) + 2 khakhra or chana chaat or 2 wheat rusks. 7.30 pm: One fruit


2-3 chapatis + 1 cup dal or sambar + 1 cup vegetable + salad.

General tips
Always have well-balanced square meals:

Eating a variety of food gives you all the vitamins and minerals you need.

Choose a diet with plenty of whole grain products:

Also make sure it has complex carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits.

Maintain ideal body weight:

For this you must balance the foods you eat with the physical activity you get.

Follow the principle of moderation:

Choose a diet moderate in sugar and salt. Limit the intake of simple sugar.

Choose a diet low in fat:

Also avoid hydrogenated (trans) fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. About proteins: Include sufficient protein in every meal.

Increase your fibre intake:

Avoid processed and ready to eat packaged food. Drink plenty of water: It's important to keep your system well hydrated.

Diet for those who want to lose weight
Early morning:

One-glass bottle gourd (dudhi) juice.

Breakfast: 1

cup of skimmed milk (no sugar) + oats porridge or 2 steamed idlis or 1 dosa with sambar (avoid coconut chutney) or 1 plate poha.

Mid morning:

One fruit (avoid bananas, chickoo, custard apple and mango).


Always start your meal with a glass of water. Have 1 bowl salad + 2 chapatis without ghee (or 1 chapati + 1 cup brown rice) + 1 1/2 cups dal or sprouts + 1 cup vegetable + 1 cup curd or buttermilk (made with skimmed milk). Avoid papad, pickle.

Evening snack (about 5 pm):

1 cup green tea + 2-3 multigrain biscuits or 1 handful of roasted chana or dry bhel (no added sev or fried puri). 7 pm: One fruit

Dinner (about 8.30 pm):

1 bowl of homemade vegetable soup + salad / raita + 1 bhakri (made with jowar/ bajra/ ragi) or 2 chapatis without ghee (avoid rice at dinner) + 1 1/2 cup dal

General tips
Do not set very high weight loss goals:

A healthy rate of weight loss would be about 1/2-1 kg per week.

Losing weight is about determination:

Stick to your diet plans, but eat sensibly rather than starving your body of nutrients.

Avoid fad diets:

Incorporate specific diet needs into your family meals by adjusting methods of food preparation and avoid adding too much fat or starch to your food to lower calorie count of your meals.

Spread your food intake through the day:

Eat at regular intervals, but modify the proportions of each serving.

Avoid binges:

If you do binge on one day, adjust your food intake for other meals on that day or the next.

Pass the plateau:

After a sustained period of healthy weight loss, it's natural to hit a plateau. Don't be discouraged by them; shaking up your exercise routine or increasing its intensity will help you get back to losing weight again.

Avoid buying packaged low energy foods:

Be wary as they may not be of as much help as claimed.

Diet for people doing intensive training
Early morning:

Soaked almonds and dates.


1 glass skimmed milk + 1 scoop whey protein + 3-4 egg whites + 2 whole wheat bread slices or 1 bowl of sprouts or 1 bowl ragi porridge.

Mid morning:

1 glass mixed fruit juice. Lunch: 2-3 chapatis + 2 bowls rice + 1 1/2 cup dal or paneer bhurji + 1 cup vegetable + 1 cup salad + 1 cup curd or raita.


1 glass fruit milkshake (banana/ chikoo) or soya milk + 3-4 pieces steamed dhokla with mint chutney or corn chaat or 1 tomato omelette.


1 scoop whey protein + 1 fruit


2-3 chapatis + 2 cups sprouts pulao or khichdi + 1 1/2 cups dal or 3-4 pieces of chicken /fish + 1 cup vegetables + salad.

Bed time:

1 bowl fruit custard.

General tips
Eat six times a day:

This keeps your blood sugar levels stable, and minimises cravings while maximising energy.

Eat protein:

Limit protein intake to lean meats like chicken, turkey, egg white and fish. Of six meals, only three should include whey supplements.

Eat carbs in right amounts:

Stick to low-glycemic carbs (such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat).

Eat vegetables:

A diet high in fibre-rich carbs makes you feel full for longer, increases protein absorption and cleans up your system.

Have omega-3 fats:

They're good for general health, muscle protection and fat loss. Eat two teas

First Published: Feb 27, 2010 10:18 IST