I have been a dietitian for fourteen years and therefore, literally, a crusader for healthy living for a significant portion of my life. After finishing my Masters in Dietetics, I have worked in different verticals of this industry - including multispecialty hospitals, NGOs, Research Institutes and Diet Clinics. In this period, I have also penned several articles for newspapers and online magazines, appeared in television shows and health related videos, and worked as a resource person in community outreach programmes related to food and diet. I am also a member of the Indian Diatetic Association and have been certified as a Food Safety Trainer in Advanced Catering by FSSAI, Government of India.
For someone who has been in an industry for so long, my goals and desires have also shifted with time. But my single biggest objective in all these years has been to bring about a cultural shift in how diet is perceived in collective imagination. Dieting, almost invariably, is associated with a sense of loss. We have been made to believe that somehow eating delicious food and living a healthy life are contradictory- that you cannot have one, without forgoing the other. I contend that not only is this binary false; removing this veil is the only way to create a successful and sustainable diet regime. My endeavor has been to constantly strive towards that.
Shami Kebabs can be incredibly tasty source of protein that you can snack in during the evening, or use as a side dish during dinner. Shami Kebabs are soft, fluffy, low-oil, high-protein snack that would be your perfect choice if you are looking for a delicious meal that wouldn’t add too many calories to your daily limit.
Bone less chicken:200g
Chana since: 50g
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
Black pepper corns:5-6
Coriander seeds: 1 tsp.
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Ginger : 1 inch
Turmeric powder: 1/4th
Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp.
Whole red chilli:1
Coriander leaves:1-2 tbsp. chopped
Garam masala powder: 1/2 tsp.
Salt as per taste
White oil: 2 tsp.
Wash and soak chana dal for about 2 to 4 hours.
Drain the water and put them into a pressure cooker
Sarcopenia has become exceedingly common among older people. Almost 10% of adults above 50 are affected by it. Sarcopenia is characterized by muscle loss, that can decrease both the quality of life, as well as life expectancy. However, the good news is that sarcopenia can be prevented and reversed in certain cases. Indeed, sarcopenia is often related to aging of an individual, and therefore is a natural consequence of growing older; some of the causes that lead to sarcopenia can be prevented. A healthy diet and regular exercise regime are germane in reversing sarcopenia, thereby increasing both the lifespan and the quality of life.
Sarcopenia literally means “lack of flesh.” To understand how this occurs we need to delve deep into the life cycle of a cell. Like everything in Nature, growth and decay are inherent to the cells as well. The process by which cell grows is called “anabolism” and the process of teardown of cell is called “catabolism”. Sarcopenia happens when this natural cycle is tilted in favour of catabolism. We have growth hormones in our bodies. These hormones help counteract the effects of injury or stress, and keep muscle steady by healing them. This goes on inside our bodies throughout our lives. However, as we grow older, our bodies become resistant to normal growth signals. This further results in tipping the balance towards catabolism and muscle loss. The degeneration of muscle becomes more common among people above fifty. After middle-age, a person, on an average, loses 3% of their muscle strength in a year. And therefore, as he becomes older, the ability of performing many daily routines decreases, along with decreasing muscle strength.
Sarcopenia is mostly caused by a decrease in physical activity. However, although less frequent, some people with a very active physical life may also develop sarcopenia, which points to other probable reasons for this disease.
In addition to decreased physical activity the following might cause sarcopenia:
Decline in nerve cells that send signals from the brain to the muscle to move.
Reduction in the hormone levels
A lowered capacity of our body to convert protein to energy
Lack in protein and daily calorie consumption that help maintain muscle mass
Symptoms of sarcopenia is not uniform among the people it affects. It depends entirely on how much muscle mass a person has lost. Some of the common symptoms include:
a decline in muscle mass
loss of endurance
decrease in balance
trouble climbing stairs
The most debilitating part of developing sarcopenia is the spiral decline it causes. As one develops sarcopenia, his physical movement decreases, which in turn further exacerbates sarcopenia. This cycle continues resulting in weakness, increase the risk of falling, and most importantly limits one’s physical independence. Sarcopenia can adversely affect one’s life quality and therefore, a decline in muscle mass is something we should be extremely mindful about.
Dietary management for sarcopenia
Diet plays an important role in the management of sarcopenia. If someone takes a calorie deficient diet, or has insufficient quantity of protein and certain other vitamins or minerals, she stands at a higher risk of muscle loss. For those who aren’t nutrient deficient, focus on taking higher proportion of certain types of foods that promote muscle growth can be beneficial.
An increased proportion of protein in the diet directly signals muscles to enhance building and strengthening itself. With age this signal weakens and much higher quantity of protein is needed for muscle growth. The amino acid leucine is enormously helpful in regulating muscle growth. Whey protein, eggs, fish, meat, and soy proteins are good sources of leucine.
Deficiency in Vitamin D is extremely widespread among older people, and this lack supersedes racial and geographical boundaries. As a person gets older the levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)] is decreased, which further results in the lowering of muscle strength. Vitamin D levels, therefore, should be regularly monitored and necessary supplementation must be given.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids :
Irrespective of one’s age, studies have found that consumption of omega-3 fatty acid rich foods, through seafood and supplements are enormously beneficial in facilitating muscle growth. The anti-inflammatory nature of omega-3 fatty acid foods might be contributive as well.
Creatine is a protein found in the liver that help in muscle growth. Our bodies make enough creatine; however, studies have found that having creatine through meat or as supplement help in muscle growth. However, creatine should be used in tandem with exercise to make it more beneficial to us.
Exercise regime for preventing and reversing sarcopenia
Regular exercise might be the single most beneficial way to fight sarcopenia. The more active our muscles are, the lesser are the chances of succumbing to sarcopenia. For optimal results and even for reversing sarcopenia a combination regime of aerobic exercise, resistance training and balance training is needed.
Resistance training includes weightlifting, pulling against resistance bands and other exercise where our bodies muscles need to counteract gravity. The tension produced in muscles fibers during resistance training results in generating growth signal that in turn helps in increasing muscle strength. Resistance exercise also help in producing growth-promoting hormones.
Exercise that helps to increase heart-rate, when combined with resistance and flexibility training can control and reverse sarcopenia. A fitness regime would include these combinations to deliver the most productive outcome against sarcopenia.
Walking is an exercise that many of us ordinarily do. A more regular walking schedule can be extremely helpful, in addition to other exercise in controlling and reversing sarcopenia.
When we think about muscle loss, especially among older people, we do not take the problem seriously. But very few things can be as detrimental to the quality of life as losing physical independence and sarcopenia does exactly that. Food N Wellness understands how debilitating sarcopenia can be, and hence have carefully designed a geriatric program that aims at preventing and reversing sarcopenia through dedicatedly curated diet and exercise regime.
We cannot overstate nutrition’s importance in the growth and development of children. Children should get at least one-third of their total calorie requirements from the food that they take in school. Therefore, parents should focus on menu planning for the school lunchbox. Children often indulge in various kinds of unhealthy eating habits during their school lunch hours. They often get addicted to a high dose of junk food during their school days that continue to create health risk later in life. Therefore, preparing healthy and tasty snacks are important for a child, even in the long run.
Pre-Schoolers and School going Children
We can broadly classify children into two different categories- preschoolers and school children.
Pre-School (3-5 years old):
We cannot overstate the importance of nutrition for preschoolers. Children grow and develop extremely fast during these periods. In addition, they often indulge in lots of physical activities that enhance their nutritional requirement. However, they cannot eat as much as they should. This makes having nutrition rich foods during school hours seminally important.
School Children (6-16 years)
The growth and development rate decreases among school children, which reduces their overall nutritional requirement. However, their taste palate develops in a more comprehensive way. Consequently, this often leads them more towards junk food. Compensating this need for junk food often require a lot of imagination on the part of the parents. They would need to prepare a lunchbox that’s both healthy and tasty every day. While preparing the lunchbox it is important to keep in mind that we restrict the use of salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. Also, we need to include important vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A and Calcium.
A Balanced Lunchbox Meal
In order to prepare a wholesome balanced meal, we need the following in the school lunchbox:
We need to pack half of the lunchbox with colorful fruits and vegetables. Two to three different coloured fruits/vegetables would make the lunch box attractive, as well as healthy.
One-quarter of the box needs to be whole grains.
Rest of the lunch box needs to contain healthy proteins.
If you can add some healthy fats into it, you can have a complete and balanced meal.
Let’s address each of the above components separately and the foods that you can include in order to attain your desired objectives:
One fresh Fruit
One fresh fruit from choices like banana, grapes, apple slices/rings, melon chunks, and berries (strawberries/ blueberries/ raspberries)
Two healthy vegetables:
Two healthy vegetables from options like mixed sabji, different kinds of sautéed vegetables and salads.
One healthy protein:
One healthy protein from choices like hard-boiled egg, tofu cubes, sliced chicken, paneer cubes, beans and lentils.
One whole grain:
One whole grain meal from bread, pasta, brown rice, oats, ragi, jowar and quinoa
Different types of nuts and dry fruits like almond, cashew nut, raisins, pistachios, hazel nuts, and peanuts.
Making the Lunchbox Attractive
All parents would know that preparing a healthy lunch, and convincing children to have it are two completely different things! Therefore, to address this, we need to focus on the presentation part of it. The more colourful and attractive a lunchbox looks, the easier it becomes for children to have the food.
In this section I shall describe how foods of different shapes help make the lunchbox look attractive. For example, instead of packing regular sandwiches, you can pack breads cut in the shape of a heart or smiley. Fruits cut with cookie cutters give them different shapes and sizes. It also makes them look attractive. Different kinds of aesthetically pleasing lunchbox sets are also available in the market. These might cater to an individual child’s personal preferences. You can use lunch boxes with multiple partitions to separate different kinds of fruits. Also, boxes should be accompanied by a spoon, a fork and napkins.
We need to keep in mind the feasibility of preparing healthy lunchbox. This is a regular affair and parents need to plan things beforehand in order to ensure availability and consistency in preparing the school lunch. Therefore, we need to keep in mind the following things:
Listing menu for the whole week
Arranging required ingredients
Making children participate in non-fire cooking so that they might be more interested in school lunch
Avoiding giving liquid or excessively dry foods
Providing water bottle that can be refilled
For maintaining hygiene; hand-sanitizer, spoon, and napkins can be provided
Selecting easy to cook menus
Importance of a Healthy School Lunchbox
A healthy lunch box would contain foods with high nutritional value. These nutrition rich foods not only positively affects a child’s present, but also her future. Consequently, there are enormous academic and behavioral benefits of a nutritious lunchbox some of which have been enumerated below:
Improvement of Cognitive Functions
Higher test scores
Better attention span
Better classroom behavior
Some Ideas for Preparing Healthy and Tasty School Lunchbox
You can curate meals for your children following the examples given below. That is to say, these menus cater to feasibility of preparing lunch, child’s taste preferences, health, taste and overall aesthetics of the lunch box:
Vegetable/Chicken stuffed Multigrain Sandwich + Sliced apple or grapes (8-10) + Sauteed carrot and bell-pepper sticks (5-6) + Almond (3-4)
Whole wheat pasta with vegetables and soya granules/sliced chicken+ watermelon cubes (5-6) + Dates (2)
Rice noodles cooked with chopped carrot, bell peppers, onion and sliced chicken or sliced tofu + berries (7-8) + Walnuts (2)
Peanut butter and banana tortilla roll ups + Sautéed carrot and bell peppers
Mixed vegetables and cheese Quesadilla + Guacamole + Strawberries (2)
You can avail other menu choices as well. In order to do so, you need to access a larger gamut of available options. For this, and for other information regarding your child’s nutritional needs, you can get in touch with the Food N Wellness team. Here, professional dietitians will guide you through this arduous journey, by keeping in mind your child’s unique health and taste preferences.
It is a condition during which a person passes loose or watery stool. Generally, it may occur twice to thrice in a year and is considered normal, however, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are more susceptible to develop diarrhoea more often.
It is primarily caused by stomach flu. During stomach flu, virus in our guts attack our gastrointestinal system. There are several other factors that cause diarrhoea, some of which have been listed under:
Allergy with certain types of foods, for example lactose or galactose intolerance are pretty common.
Disease of the intestine (Crohn’s disease)
Excessive use of laxative
Improper digestion of foods
Reaction to medicines, like some antibiotics
Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
Cancer (Colon Cancer)
Constipation might also lead to diarrhoea later
Using of excess sugar free (sorbitol and mannitol)
One or more of the following symptoms might be experienced while suffering from it:
Loose or watery stool
Blood in stool
Urgent need to have bowel movements
Mucus in stool.
It may lead to dehydration that can do severe damage to the body. The loss of water at times can be fatal as well. In addition, some other complications can be seen:
Little or no urination
Weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
Dark coloured urine
Dietary Management of Diarrhoea
Rice based products are more beneficial during diarrhoea. You should also try to avoid wheat-based products, because they might cause inflammation or indigestion. You can eat soft rice, puffed rice, flake rice and some soft vegetables.
You must include dietary fibre in your diet. The fibre should be water-soluble, soft and easily digestible. You can include the following fibre rich foods in your diet- oats, barley, potato, and vegetables from the gourd family.
Potassium is very important mineral, especially for people having loose motion. During diarrhoea the body often loses potassium. Hence, it is important that we replenish potassium in our body. Some of the potassium rich foods include banana, potato, and tender coconut water.
You should include easily digestible proteins like thin dal and light fish stew. However, you should avoid proteins from sources like red meat, egg, rajma, and chickpeas.
You can take healthy fats in the form of cooking oil. However, you must avoid rich fatty foods and foods with trans fat from your diet.
It causes sodium loss in our bodies. Therefore, you must take care of getting enough sodium through liquids like ORS and unsweetened lemonade. It is very important that we take care of maintaining sufficient sodium balance in our body.
Drinking sufficient water (8-10 glasses) is extremely important for recovering from diarrhoea. You can also drink water through ORS and other Sherbet.
While there can be several other causes that may lead to diarrhoea as has been mentioned before, sometimes it might be triggered by foods. Fried foods, foods rich with sauce/gravy, citrus fruit, artificial sweetener, excessive fibre-rich foods, fatty foods, fructose, peppermint, beans, chickpeas, Bengal gram chana, raw vegetables, and coffee are some of the foods that might trigger diarrhoea.
Although diarrhoea isn’t uncommon, neglecting it can be extremely dangerous. The following treatments might be undertaken:
The first line of treatment is to drink Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) in order to mitigate the water imbalance caused by excessive water loss during diarrhoea. ORS contains both salt and glucose that can be easily absorbed by the intestine. During diarrhoea we need to make sure that the patient is fed ORS several times. According to WHO, 90% of diarrhoea can be treated with ORS.
Soft bland diet:
Sometimes people avoid eating while suffering from loose motion which can be further detrimental to health. So, in addition to drinking sufficient water, one needs to take foods rich in potassium, like banana, boiled potato, and soft rice.
Medication should be taken as per doctor’s advice
Probiotics have enormous benefits for people with diarrhoea and should be taken as per doctor’s suggestions.
It can happen for various reasons and therefore it is very important to diagnose the underlying cause. Once ascertained, proper diet and lifestyle modification can play a very important role in providing long term cure from diarrhoea.
Dosa is a very popular South Indian food. Chana Dal Dosa is a variety of the regular Dosa we eat. It is primarily eaten during breakfast. Chana Dal Dosa is a pure combination of health and taste. It combines cereal protein and pulse protein to improve the overall quality of protein that goes in our body. Chana Dal Dosa can be served with Sambar and Chutney.
Rice : 1/2 cup
Chana dal: ¼ cup
Urad dal: 1 tbsp.
Fenugreek seeds: 1/4th
Green chilli: 1-2 nos.
Salt as per taste
Soak rice, urad dal , chana dal and fenugreek seeds in water for 4-5 hours
Then put rice, urad dal, chana dal and fenugreek seeds in a mixer-grinder. Add water and grind to make a smooth paste.
Transfer the batter into a deep bowl and mix well. Cover the lid and keep aside to ferment in a warm place for 10-12 hours.
Once fermented, add 2 tbsp of water and salt. Mix well to make a smooth dosa batter.
Heat a non –stick tava in high flame then sprinkle little water on tava and wipe it off
Pour a ladleful of batter on it and spread it in a circular motion.
Smear a little oil over it and cook on medium flame till the dosa turns golden brown and crisp
Hummus is an extremely popular dip that is widely used all across the Middle-East. Hummus is made with chickpeas, sesame seeds and some other healthy spices. It is both healthy and tasty, and literally takes minutes to prepare.
Chickpeas : 25g
Olive oil: 2 tsp.
Sesame seeds:10 g
Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp.
Paprika powder: ½ tsp.
Garlic pods: 2-3 nos.
Lime :1 no
Salt as per taste
Soak raw chickpeas in water overnight.
Boil chickpeas and put them in a container. Also keep the water in another pot.
In a frying pan roast sesame seeds. Put the roasted sesame seeds and add a teaspoon of olive oil on a mixing bowl. Mix them well to make tahini paste.
Put tahini paste, boiled chickpeas, garlic pods, lemon juice, roasted cumin powder, olive oil (1/2 tsp.) and salt in a mixer-grinder. First mix them without water and then add water which was used for boiling chickpeas.
Mix well and serve adding olive oil (1/2 tsp.) and paprika powder on top.
Bhetki Paturi is a popular Bengali dish where fillets of Bhetki fish are cooked by wrapping them in banana leaves. This recipe can be prepared using other types of fish as well. To prepare Paturi very little oil is needed as the cooking is mostly done by steam. Bhetki Paturi is both incredibly delicious and healthy.
Bhetki fillet : 2 pcs (200 g)
Mustard oil: 1 tsp.
Poppy seeds: 1 tbsp.
White mustard seeds: 1 tbsp.
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp.
Curd: 1 tbsp. (Optional)
Green chilli :2-3 nos.
Lime :1 no
Salt as per taste
Banana leaf / foil paper (For covering the fish)
Marinate the bhetki fillets with 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice and salt for 15 minutes.
Mix white mustard, poppy seeds and green chillies well in a mixer-grinder with one teaspoon of water.
Add turmeric powder, salt, curd and mustard oil and mix until a smooth paste is formed.
Cover the bhetki fillets with the mixture evenly and add 2-3 drops of mustard oil on top.
Take a rectangular banana leaf and place one spiced up bhetki fillet on it. Cover the fillet properly with the leaf using a thread. If you are using aluminium foil instead of banana leaves, make sure to cover the fillet properly. Repeat the process with the second fillet.
Place both the covered bhetki fillets onto a pan and close the lid. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium flame. Turn them upside down and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Turn off the flame and leave them inside the pan for another 5 minutes with covered lid.
The mission of Food & Wellness is to help you achieve the possible whilst still enjoying the process of this life changing journey! We are driven by passionate and honest delivery of service to those looking towards making an everlasting change in their lives.
2020 | All Rights Reserved | Meenu Agarwal Nutrition and Services Pvt. Ltd. | Designed and Maintained by Subrata Dey
Disclaimer: Food & Wellness does not claim to cure any disease. Results may vary from person to person, depending on each individual’s age, gender, genetics, disease condition (if any), surrounding environment, and lifestyle.
Get more of the goodness delivered to your inbox.
No Spam - No Ads
Would you like to receive notifications on latest health posts & recipes? NoYes