Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fitness Series: Diet Plan I

"Diets higher in protein and moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise, have an excellent potential to help weight loss," says University of Illinois protein researcher Donald Layman, PhD.

In my previous post in the Fitness Series, I talked about few general fitness tips but today we will be diving deeper into evolving our food habits. I would like to clarify beforehand that all the content of this post is out of my own experience and they all worked for me. And I am sure, if you follow these tips, you will lead a much healthier lifestyle. 

To begin with, you need to understand the basics of nutrition which comprises of six elements:
1. Good Fats - Peanut butter, nuts, fruits, olive oil, egg yolks, etc
2. Carbohydrates - Whole wheat, cereals, whole wheat pasta, rice, oatmeal, apples, etc
3. Proteins - Chicken, sausage, egg whites, sprouts, cottage cheese, etc
4. Vitamins - Veggies, skimmed milk, supplement tablets etc
5. Minerals - Salt, bananas, veggies, pistachio, almonds etc
6. Water

So, your body needs a mix of all these six types of nutrients throughout the day in order to regulate metabolic processes, build and repair tissues and provide energy. But, you need to take these nutrients in the right way or to be more accurate, the right mix...


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I know a lot of people who skip breakfast just because they do not have enough time to eat in the morning. In fact, I used to be one of those people. But with time, I have come to realize that it is very important to have a hearty breakfast. I will give you two reasons: Firstly, your body needs food to process and energize your body after 7-8 hours of sleep and secondly, if you eat your breakfast, you will not feel so hungry all the time throughout the day and you will have the energy and enthusiasm to make your mornings more productive. 

Your breakfast should ideally include all the six nutrients: good fats, proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals and water. A few breakfast ideas to help you along:
1. Oats, milk and bananas - While buying oats, look for the one which says 'no added sugar', add skimmed milk and bananas(or strawberries) and you have a perfect ideal breakfast.
2. Brown Bread Sandwich - My personal favorite! Take two slices of brown bread, spread a little mayonnaise (made with olive oil, and yes, they are available in the market), add slices of cottage cheese (cottage cheese is NOT paneer, it has 20% less fat than paneer and is easily available in the market), few cucumber, lettuce and tomato slices and you have a yummy yet healthy sandwich!
3. Omelette - Well, spanish omelette is my favorite but the easier version could be made just by whipping up few eggs with finely chopped tomato, onion, spices, capsicum and salt. 
4. Sprouts - Sprouts are full of proteins and they taste just as good when you add chopped cucumber and tomato with a hint of lime juice.
5. Pancakes/Waffles - You do not need to refrain from pancakes all the time and you can give in to your pings of cravings a few times. If you absolutely refrain from food you love to eat, you will never be able to be on a healthy eating habit for a long time. So, once in a while indulge a little. 


We all know that we need to drink 3-4 litres of water everyday but you can always spice it up and drink it in the form of green tea, juice, etc. right? So here are a few easy and yummy drinks that would keep you healthy and glowing from within:
1. Water - no explanations necessary!
2. Green Tea - Green Tea is most effective when taken with lukewarm water and no sugar but if you like, you can add a hint of lime juice and honey to make it taste better! Or you can make green tea and then let it cool down a little and put it in your refrigerator for few hours. Chilled green tea is sooooo good, I tell you and especially with a hint of cinnamon powder!
3. Fruit Juice - Fruits are best if you eat them directly as your body gets the fibers needed but juice can be the next best thing too! Just don't add extra sugar, the sweetness of the fruits is enough. 
4. Milk - I have been drinking 2 glasses of milk everyday throughout my childhood till I turned 18. I have started drinking milk again now but only skimmed milk. It provides you with various vitamins and keeps your bones strong. Drinking 150-200ml everyday with your breakfast is more than enough. Or the second best thing could be lassi or spiced buttermilk.
5. Coconut water - I love love love coconut water! I try to get natural coconut water whenever possible but if not, I always have a stock of packaged ones in my fridge!
6. Green Smoothie - The formula is - 1 cup leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc), 1 cup liquid (water, coconut water, milk) and 2 cups fruits (banana, mango, berries, avocado, apple,etc)
7. Fruit Smoothie - I personally love blueberry smoothie. They are so filling that I can just have a smoothie for breakfast!


The nutrients are all the same as breakfast but you need to cut down on carbs and increase protein content. Few healthy lunch ideas:
1. Chicken+veggies roll - These are easy to make and they taste good too. Just chop your chicken and green veggies in small pieces and cook them with a little olive oil and salt. roll them up in whole wheat chapati and serve with green chutney or hummus.
2. Boiled seasonal veggies + Roasted or Grilled chicken/cottage cheese + whole wheat bread/ whole wheat rice
3. Whole wheat chicken/mushroom pasta  + boiled veggies 
4. Sushi - Veg or non-veg, they are always delicious!
5. Roasted chicken or cottage cheese main dish + half cup brown rice + Black beans
6. Plain Dosa + Sambhar

To be continued...