I Am A Nutritionist And I Always Have These 8 Foods In My Kitchen
The food that you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
Planning healthy meals and mid meals is easy when your pantry is stocked with these healthy must-haves. It becomes all the more imperative for working women to shop their grocery smartly. All it requires is some smart planning and proactive stocking.
I am a Nutritionist, and these foods are always in my kitchen. They are an essential part of my main meals and mid-meals, at home, or on the go.
Eggs are an excellent source of inexpensive high-quality protein. One large egg contains 6 grams protein, including all essential amino acids; it is considered a complete protein. More than half the protein is found in the egg white alongside vitamin B2, D, B6, B12 and minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron and copper too. Yolks too contain good amount of protein, cholesterol, and vitamins A, D, E and K. Eat your eggs for a protein-packed power breakfast, with whole grains, as a mid-meal or post your workout to instantly repair worn out muscles.
Nuts are the easiest to stock and easiest to pack snack. They are a storehouse of nutrients. Packed with protein, healthy fats including monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, fibre and various vitamins and minerals, a handful of nuts are a perfect snack any time of the day, especially if you stay away from home for long hours. Nuts are calorie-dense because of high fat content, so a handful is just enough to keep you satisfied for long. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, raisins, pistachio, and the list goes one, one is simply spoilt for choice.
Good things come in small packages’ holds completely true for these nutritional powerhouses. Since seeds form the basis of a new plant, they contain loads of essential nutrients. A source of healthy fats (MUFA and PUFA), fibre, and various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, what more do you want! Flax, chia, pumpkin, aliv, sesame, hemp, melon seeds, all of them have amazing health benefits. Stock up on at least a few of them, and eat them as such, sprinkle on your salads, add them to smoothies/shakes, grind them and mix with your flour, throw them into ladoos or granola bars, or use your culinary creativity to find more ways of using them.
Fruits & Green veggies
Fruits & vegetables fall in the category of ‘protective foods’. They are low-calorie and nutrient-dense; a rich source of fibre, vitamins and minerals like carotenoids, vitamin C, B-complex, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium etc. They are also loaded with antioxidants, ant-inflammatory agents, phytonutrients, all of which work together to protect us from disease. The more colorful your plate, the more phytochemicals it packs. It is recommended that fruits and veggies should comprise half of your daily food plate. Just remember, ‘eat local, eat seasonal’, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket and it’s certainly more superior in nutrient value.
It’s one of the most misunderstood and underrated fruits and hence deserves special mention. It’s rich in both soluble and insoluble fibres, hence safe for diabetics. A rich source of potassium and low in sodium, so heart-friendly; it is also a good source of B vitamins and antioxidants. It also has a natural antacid action. Banana is a great probiotic and also promotes gut friendly bacteria. Banana has been my first meal of the day for years now, gives me instant energy to see me through my mornings. It prevents those early morning blues and also prevents cravings through the day.
Rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, Vit A, B2, B12, it’s an easy way to improve your protein intake and ensure bone and dental health too. It’s a probiotic food, very easy to digest. It’s highly recommended for people dealing with gastric disorders like IBS and can easily be digested by those dealing with intolerances. Eat your yoghurt as a mid-meal, alongside main meals, as plain curd/ raita, or churn it to make namkeen lassi, smoothies, or go the Punjabi way and make delicious kadhi out of it!
A highly popular snack all over our country, a half cup serving of roasted chana provides 130 calories and about 7 gram protein. This humble food is a very inexpensive way of increasing your protein intake. It’s rich in fibre and keeps you satiated. It’s also a good source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. The fibre prevents constipation and aids weight loss. Roasted chana in a stainless steel dibbi is a permanent feature in my kitchen, on my desk and in my bag.
The health benefits of green tea have been talked over and over again. It’s a great stress reliever for me. The antioxidants in green tea help fight free radical damage that the environmental stresses keep inflicting upon us.
There are many more of these nature’s bounties. Yet there are some foods which never make to my pantry – refined flour, carbonated drinks (regular/diet), packaged juices, ready-to-eat meals, artificial sweeteners, processed foods to name a few. Here’s hoping that my lists serve as a useful guide while you go grocery shopping.
(Pooja Malhotra is a city-based nutritionist) Courtesy NDTV