As soon as the monsoon leaves us the festival season kicks in with a lot of joy and gaiety. Festivals bring about a break in the monotony of life and allow us to bond with our loved ones and share our home, heart and soul with them.
Households come alive with the sounds of festivities and rich decadent food being cooked in the kitchen with positive vibes all over the place. From traditional, to fusion and to continental, a festival spread could be whatever you want it to be, so how adding a new twist this time, how about adding health to it.
Even when the festivals are over, stick to some healthy tips for daily homemade food
Totally avoid cold drinks and the sugary fruit juices and instead use fresh coconut water for a refreshing drink. Mix coconut water, lemon and honey with pink salt, mint and rose water to make a healthy drink full of electrolytes. Various smoothies can also be made using soybean and coconut milk with pieces of fruit and chia seeds thrown in.
Try out this recipe for a delicious smoothie:
1 apple, 1 kiwi, 2 small coconut pieces, 4 mint leaves, 1 tbsp chia and flax seeds, 1 cup coconut milk, water and ice.
Blend all these together and use stevia instead of sugar. Vaniila-flavoured whey protein powder can also be added for a protein addition.
Another good option for making a healthy smoothie can be cold coffee with unsweetened cocoa, whey protein powder, stevia and almond milk.
It is very easy to make snacks which are wholesome and tasty too. Amaranth and buckwheat seeds can be used to make vegetable cutlets. Multigrain flour can be used to make small uttapams or mini pizzas with the toppings made of vegetables, tofu and feta cheese.
Multigrain flour can also be used to make small rolls and idlis which can be eaten with coconut and mint chutney. Flax seeds powder can be added to the flour.
In non festival times, try some boiled eggs sprinkled with cinnamon, sesame seeds and chaat masala. Chicken and fish can be grilled or sauted together with a side of grilled or steamed vegetables.
Try this recipe for mini home-made pizzas:
Make a batter of multigrain flour with flax seeds powder. Add almond flour to it and 1 tsp baking powder. Add egg whites to this batter.
I would suggest usage of Egg-On which is ready to use egg white and is very convenient.
Bake mini pizza bases from this in the oven. Set temperature at 200 degree celsius for 15 minutes. Add toppings of choice with feta cheese layered for the crust and dust with almond flour. Grill it till the cheese turns brown.
Vegetarians have the option of utilising paneer, tofu and soya bhurji. Add carrots and corn to it for a wholesome dish which can be eaten with multigrain rotis and brown rice. For the non-vegetarians, chicken and fish dishes can be made in several ways by grilling and baking. Coconut milk and various herbs can be used for a twist in the taste.
One pot meals and stews using cholla (chickpeas) and channa (black gram) are easy to prepare and tasty with a lot of nutrition. Bread can be baked at home using almond and coconut flour. A simple south Indian meal of sambhar, rasam, idli and dosa is a good idea too.
Avoid fried food and remember that it is all about portion control
Mushrooms are another healthy dish to prepare and grilled mushrooms with tomatoes and baby corn is an easy dish to make. Add chicken to this and bake it with a layer of feta cheese and almond flour.
A variety of dishes can be made using quinoa; such as salads or even quinoa made in a Chinese fried rice manner. Quinoa is a seed not a grain so has a good amount of protein. Chia and other seeds can be added to raita to increase the nutrition content.
Coconut Fish Curry is a healthy option for a good Sunday meal
For desserts, dark chocolates are a great idea. Multigrain flour can be used for baking muffins using bananas and eggs. Cookies can also be made using amaranth and almond flour using stevia as a sugar substitute. Traditional Indian sweets like rice kheer can be made by using stevia, coconut milk and skimmed milk. Buckwheat seeds and amaranth seeds can be utilised to make delicious sweets.
Try this recipe for a healthy dessert:
Take 500 g whey protein powder, add 500 g dry roasted amaranth flour. Add 4 tbsp seeds with grated coconut, 4 tbsp almond and walnuts grated, cinnamon and cardamom powder, 2 eggs for binding, 2 tbsp ghee and 1 tbsp olive oil.
To make the batter soft, you may use Greek yoghurt and use stevia or honey for sweetness. All these together can be moulded into laddus or baked into cookies.
Let us celebrate health because that is the best gift we can gift ourselves and to our siblings. Let us utilise food not only to give us happiness and comfort but also to give us health and wellness.