- World Health Day is observed on 7 April each year
- Add enough protein to your each meal
- Combine iron-rich foods with vitamin C for better absorption
It is often advised to makes changes but making even a small change can be difficult. Before the pandemic struck, the main reasons to make dietary and lifestyle changes were either to lose weight or to tackle a specific medical issue like high cholesterol, blood sugar or other disease. In the wake of the pandemic, the interest in improving one’s diet to boost overall health and immunity is at an all-time high and here lies the opportunity to make a change and stick to it. Making a change now might be easier than ever.
Talking about diets, the traditional Indian diet has been quite balanced and nutritive, but over the years, the quality of the Indian diets is wanting on many counts. Usually these diets are lacking in protein, both in quality and quantity, confirmed by many surveys. Another big problem is that a large part of the Indian population (women and children) is anaemic due to lack of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12.
World health Day 2021: Here are some tips that can help ensure a healthy diet
1. Make sure every meal includes a source of good quality protein. Go easy on the carb content. Add enough protein sources like dals, soya, milk, curd, nuts and seeds. This will ensure satiety and help you meet your daily requirements of protein.
2. Iron absorption from vegetarian sources is limited, so you can enhance your iron absorption by pairing the iron-rich food with a source of vitamin C sources (fresh chutney, citrus fruit or adding lemon juice to dal).
3. A conscious effort to include some veggies at the very start of a meal will ensure that we get to eat enough of them. For those who do not like veggies, some unconventional preparation methods like making a dip or adding it to breads works well.
4. In addition to nuts, their less decorated cousins – seeds (flax, watermelon, sunflower, etc.) are worth your attention. They provide adequate zinc, magnesium and omega-3 fats. Make these a part of the snack menu.
5. Use fresh ingredients and avoid the ready-to- eat, ultra-processed foods.
6. Fermented foods are also great additions in the daily menu.
Despite all good intentions, there are likely to be roadblocks in this process of change. Some of the commonly encountered ones are:
1. Not having enough time
Piggyback the desired new activity into your already existing routine. For instance, if you need to prepare a healthy snack, boil channas while you are working in the kitchen so that the snack preparation effort is not a separate allocation of your time.
2. Healthy foods are boring
Many lament that eating healthy foods is boring and unappetising, thus not sustainable. In such cases, don’t simply eliminate the unhealthy favourites from the menu. All you have to do is substitute healthier ingredients into the recipe. If you love bread, there is no need to cut it out altogether, but you could look to substitute mayo with hummus or a yogurt dip in your sandwich. Reducing the portion size of the not-so-desirable foods can help achieve the goal.
Boosting health through diet modification is easy and doable with minor changes in the daily routine that don’t take a toll on your time and resources.
(Neelanjana Singh is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant & Author of ‘Our Kid Eats Everything!)
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