Eat right, light, add zing to your summer dinner

healthy options

After a day spent running from one chore to another, taking care of home and work, you look forward to that one hearty meal of the day – The big fat Indian dinner.

You drool over the four-course meal – the white rice, the paneer and the chicken rounded off with gulab jamuns – and devour it like the most famished person on earth. 

But soon after, sets in that queasy feeling of gas and acidity and the inability to sleep. The morning after, your stomach is still heavy and you again skip breakfast. And the vicious cycle goes on...

With this kind of a lifestyle you are sure to put on pounds equal to the weight of your dinner and be in for stomach problems soon. 

But how does one resist the temptation of a ‘full-dinner’ after a day spent only nibbling.

Nidhi Sahai, chief dietician, Max Hospital, Noida, says, “Granted that all of us work through maddening schedules these days, but your health is in your own hands, and for that, you must take timely meals. First comes the breakfast which, in fact, should be the king-size meal, followed up with a mid-morning snack and then lunch. Post that, take two snacks at least, comprising healthy alternatives like poha, upma or sprouts, before dinner time.” This would control the urge to have a heavy-duty feast at night, she adds. 

Dinner, like the proverb goes, should be a pauper’s meal. “Strictly avoid white rice, pakore, poori and bhature. Legumes like rajma and chhole are also a big no-no as proteins are thermogenic which make the body release heat,” says Deepika Aggarwal Katyal, a dietician. Instead, “go for brown rice with bran added or else roti or chapati. Team them with large portions of vegetables, baked or sautéed. Even whole wheat noodles or pasta is fine as long as you pepper them with veggies, though, keep away potatoes.”

If you have a sweet tooth and can’t do without desserts after dinner, there are sufficient healthy options. “A fruit chaat is a good idea but not fruit juices,” cautions Sahai, “Best would be lightly sweetened nimbu-paani, coconut water and buttermilk.” 

Looking for more innovative and appetising alternatives? “Go for sugar-free jelly made of water and fruits, chhena (cottage cheese) sweets and ghiya (bottle-gourd) mithai,” suggests Deepika.

Surely, a healthy dinner does not spell boring anymore!

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