Healthy eating? Step this way

LIVING IN THE KITCHEN

Healthy eating? Step this way

For someone who loves to snack on burgers or pizzas, the idea of  eating ‘fruit  salata’  or fruit salad may not be appetising. However, as  I dug into a huge bowl of fruit salad, dressed with sugar  syrup on a Sunday afternoon, I was reminded of the time when a bowl of simple fruit  salad, with  its  essential   vitamins, high  dietary  fibre, proteins as  well  as  minerals, was ‘the’  popular way to end a meal — at home or in a fancy restaurant.

Some foodies may scoff that a fruit salad is possibly one of the easiest desserts one can whip up but few remember to select  fruits that go into the salad with a  scheme in mind.
For  example, the Macedoine Fruit  Salata, which  was  popular in Alexander’s Macedonian  Empire, is said to have just the humble banana  and the apple. It was eaten to boost energy levels of the soldiers during  the war.

On account  of  its high  potassium  levels (approx  358 milligrams  for  the  banana  and  195 milligrams  for  the apple) and good protein (3.1 grams  for  the  banana  and  4.4 grams  for  the  apple), it was seen as an instant wonder food. You can add orange segments and sliced pears to this combination for essential  vitamins and safeguard against the common cold.

To make a healthy mixed  fruit  salad, you would  require 3  apples, 2  bananas, 2  oranges, 2  pears and 3 tablespoons of  honey. Peel and core the apples and the pears, slice the bananas and  divide the oranges into segments. Spoon the honey over the fruits and serve.

 The papaya  fruit salad is another winner. In fact, the papaya was described as ‘Fruit of the Angels’ by Christopher Columbus as it is a  powerhouse of nutrients.

 With  the presence  of  antioxidants  like  vitamins  B1 and B2 and   dietary  fibre,  the  papaya promotes good  health  of  the  cardio-vascular  system. More  importantly, it  helps  provide  protection  against  colon  cancer. 

The  papaya  ensures  a  healthy  immune  system  as  it contains reasonably  high  levels of vitamin C and vitamin A. In addition, it  has  certain enzymes, such  as  papain, which aid digestion.

To prepare a simple  yet  nutritious papaya  fruit  salad, you  would  require  a  papaya  weighing  about  200 gm  and  100 gm  of  fresh  cream  or  thick curd. Wash and peel  the  papaya  and  halve it. Next, scoop  out  the black  seeds, chop  the  papaya  into  medium  pieces and  put   the pieces in  a  bowl. Add  the fresh  cream  or  the  curd  and  freeze. Just  before  serving, add  a  dash of powdered  sugar  to  this fruit salad.

To prepare a  fruit salad  rich in antioxidants, one would require 1 dark  red  plum, 1 cup of   dark purple grapes, 1 pomegranate and 100 gm of  fresh  cream. Peel  the  red  plum, halve the fruit, cut it into ½  inch  squares and  put the pieces into a bowl. Next, add the dark  purple grapes. Halve the  pomegranate and  bash out  the  seeds  with  a  wooden  spoon over the chopped plum and grapes. Pour the  fresh  cream over the fruits, mix well and serve.

Have you heard of a fruit platter that corresponds to the chakras (energy centres) in the body?  According to ancient ayurvedic  texts, there are colours specific to each chakra. A mélange  of  fruits, in a variety of colours, ayurvedic physicians say, help each chakra  work efficiently.

Take 1 cup fresh, sliced  strawberries (aids muladhara chakra),  2  oranges (svadhistana  chakra), 2 bananas (manipura chakra), 1 green guava (anahata chakra), 1 cup dark purple  grapes (sahasrara chakra). Peel the oranges, the bananas and the guava. Cut the fruits into bite-size pieces and keep them aside  in  a  bowl. Add thoroughly  washed dark  purple  grapes and washed, sliced  strawberries. Top with 3 tbsp honey and  toss gently, making  sure the fruits are well coated.  Enjoy! You will agree that a  fruit  salad  is  the perfect way to unite flavours and fibre.   

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