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Stop counting calories! Eat well to stay fit

By Brinda Sapat
September 23, 2015 10:09 IST
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Here’s how to create a healthy relationship with your food.

Let's compare your body to a top notch luxury car- a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin, a Ferrari... take your pick!

Now think about this: What sort of fuel would you use for your car? Will you settle for adulterated, cheap fuel?

Obviously not! And why so?

Because it will end up damaging your car.

In order to maintain it, you will not only have to take good care of it but also opt for the best fuel available.

Now think about yourself. Do you pay as much attention to your body?

Like the car, you must also consume good quality food items to keep your body healthy and yourself happy. Best quality does not mean expensive food, but local, natural, fresh produce that helps your body work beautifully. This means, home cooked meals. They are lighter and fresher than restaurant/readymade food.

Your body is a complex machine and needs food to function.

It needs vitamins and minerals to help in functions like producing blood cells and hormones, strengthen bones and teeth. A correct proportion of fat helps in insulating the body and transport vitamins. Protein-rich foods initiate repairing and building muscles. And water helps the body to absorb and transport oxygen and nutrients to the organs.

In order to make your body function properly, intake of certain food items on a regular basis is important.

It is simple, Good food = Good performance.

This is the reason why athletes are always on a strict meal plan.

How do you feel when you have eaten unhealthy foods?

Apart from the mental guilt factor, your body responds by getting sluggish, slowing down all the functions inside, resulting in a drop in energy levels.

Your body craves for a wholesome, well balanced meal. Then, why deny it?

Every time your body signals that it is hungry, it needs the right kind of fuel function in the right way. If you choose to eat right, you won’t put on weight.

Let's take a look at what can you eat in a day to keep yourself fit. Bear in mind you want to eat fresh, nourishing food items that are wholesome and satisfying. They should be freshly cooked and negligibly processed. Plan a good, mouth watering menu for yourself.

Breakfast

After a long duration of sleep and no food, your body wakes up hungry. The body requires a good source of energy and nutrients. So let’s plan for a rich source of carbohydrates.

You can either opt for a bowl full of oats, wholegrain bread, whole wheat pancakes, or chapatti.

Add more carbohydrates in the form of fruits. This will also give your body a good amount of vitamins and minerals.

Don’t miss out on having fibrous food items like dry fruits.

An egg or unprocessed cheese also gives the body the necessary proteins. Enjoy it with your tea or coffee.

Mid Morning

As you go about your morning routine and energy gained from your breakfast starts getting used up, you need to refuel to keep going. Pick a fruit, a handful of nuts or a cup of yoghurt along with your tea or coffee.

Lunch
Our Indian thali is actually a very well balanced meal and makes for the best lunch -- chapati, veggies, dal and rice. Yes, you can eat rice. Opt for brown rice to make the meal healthier.

You can also have a sweet dish (desert), but only a small portion of it.

Evening Snack

Tea or coffee, along with fruits, nuts, raw veggies with a dip like hummus or yoghurt.

A slice of banana bread or wholegrain bread with a spread of your choice.

Dinner
Round of your day with a warm, hearty bowl of lentils, chicken or fish along with a serving of salad and some chapati, bread, rice or pasta.

Finish off with a good dessert like poached pears or apples, a serving of fruit and custard perhaps.

Now think about how you eat your food.  Eating should be an enjoyable process. Always relish your meal.

Once you start following a healthy food chart, both your gut and your mind will be content and cravings for unhealthy food will also reduce gradually.

Do note that nowhere in the meals is ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’ food written. That is because your body doesn't need it when you eat a balanced meal. Isn't that great?

Just as you have to keep the car running every day, you also need to do the same with your body.

But given how sedentary our lifestyle is, compensate by walking whenever possible. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to work, walk for your errands… get the drift? The idea is to get at least half an hour of intense physical activity a day.

Photograph: Stratman/Creative Commons

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Brinda Sapat