How to help your folks fit into their posh Dasara outfits!

Last Updated 15 September 2011, 17:53 IST

You hear a scream from the bathroom one morning and when you rush to see if anyone has suffered a:  1) Heart attack, 2) A concussion after slipping and falling on the wet tiles, or 3)  A close encounter with your friendly bathroom cockroach. But it’s none of the above. It’s just your mother or father, on the weighing scales, expressing their shock at how many kilos they’ve managed to put on.

That’s the problem with this time of the year. Ramzan and Gowri-Ganesha occur almost simultaneously. Both festivals involve food! So between gobbling up the vegetarian delicacies and sweets made for Ganesh Chathurthi, and tucking into large helpings of non-veg biriyani at night, a lot of kilos get added on.

And this is just the beginning of the season. There’s still Dasara and Diwali to come! And your parents (both of them are equally to blame) have put on so much weight that kurtas cannot be buttoned, nor flowing dupattas hide the extra inches.

It’s time to get to work. Roll up your sleeves, don your chef cap and banish your parents from the kitchen for a week. You, yes YOU…sitting there in front of the TV with your hand in a ½ kg packet of potato chips! You decide to pack the lunches.

For everyone. And it’s only going to have sprouts, fresh vegetables, maybe some pasta, meat only if it’s grilled, khakhra, micro-waved papad and so on…no oil, but you’re still going to make it yummy, and your folks will soon be able to slip into their silken finery, when Dasara Habba arrives!

After which you might have to repeat all these steps, because over 9 auspicious days of Navratri, a lot more inches mysteriously get added on to waistlines, so some quick deft moves in the kitchen will be required from you, pre-Diwali!

God bless Khakhra!

This yummy, roasted, wheat, chapati-sized ‘taco’ comes in many flavours, and is a must in your grand plan to shrink your parents.

Cut up 2 tomatoes into small pieces; do the same with one capsicum; add green gram sprouts (available readily in supermarkets); the juice from half a lime and mix everything together. Then crush 2 jeera-flavoured khakhras and mix into the salad. For spice, add black pepper, black salt and just a little more jeera powder. Taste this now! It’s yum! You could pack the khakra (broken or crushed) separately, for your Ma or Pa to mix into the salad, just before eating it at office…that way, it’ll remain crisp.

A date with Papad!

Salads with a sweet touch are interesting. Cut up one tomato; thinly slice about 5 leaves of a cabbage; about 3 serving spoons of fresh corn (the type you buy refrigerated, like ‘Safal’); the chopped up pieces of 5 dates (without the seed, please!); the juice of half a lime, one teaspoon of puliogere masala power and mix them all together. Into that tiffin dabba, pack in 2 masala papads that you’ve gotten crisp by spiking them in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. This can be crumpled and tossed into the salad just before it’s eaten. The verdict is going be, ‘Yummy!’

Experiment every day. You’ll come up with more yummy ideas of your own. And after a week of this, measure both parents. They’re bound to have lost weight!

Remember, wash all veggies well before chopping them up. Also, veggies alone can leave your poor Pa ravenous by the time he reaches home in the evening. Tossing in a few spoons of sprouts, corn, boiled pasta or boiled chicken into you chaat salads will make the tiffin box you pack more filling. But make sure you keep things interesting. That’s the only way adults can stick to their diets!

(Published 15 September 2011, 17:53 IST)

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