Healthy eating: Diet mantras for working people
Most working people have the same complaints -- no time to eat, rushed office time, long hours and inadvertent eating out leading to acidity, gas, bloating, nausea and obesity. Many woefully complain that they hardly eat and yet they are gaining weight. What could be going wrong?
The problem is that the food, instead of energizing, is sapping away all the energy. Here are a few diet mantras that can help you stay healthy and feel energized:
Don't skip the most important meal of the day (breakfast)
Missing the most important meal of the day tends to set a trend for the rest of the day. People skip breakfast for various reasons. It could be due to eating late at night therefore they don't feel hungry in the morning or because they don't have time because they're running late. Some even believe that skipping breakfast will keep them slim. Whatever the reason, the problems one faces are ten times worse. Out of the many reasons to eat breakfast in the morning, some are:
1. Eating breakfast first thing in the morning is very important for the brain and the body. For people on the go, a ready to eat cereal topped with fruits and yoghurt is one of the many easy options.
2. Breakfast is the first chance the body has to refuel its glucose levels (also known as blood sugar) after eight to 12 hours without a meal or snack.
3. Breakfast is also important for weight loss and management as it helps curb your hunger and prevent binge eating later in the day.
Montage illustration by Dominic Xavier
Eat at regular intervals
Our body needs food (that equals energy), at regular intervals. Denying food to our body is like not greasing a piece of machinery. How will it function? Here is why meal timings are important:
1. The best way to avoid acidity, gas, bloating is to eat small meals several times a day. Frequent mini-meals supply a steady stream of insulin to preserve muscle, but less of an insulin release (and thus less fat gain) over 24 hours than if you ate three big squares.
2. Along with sleep and coffee, food has a huge impact on how energized you feel during the day. So keep handy some healthy snacks if you're going to have a late lunch/dinner. When you finally get to your meal, just eat a small potion instead of gouging on it.
3. Regularize your eating patterns so your body knows there is steady supply of food, this in turn, will ensure that it does not store fat.Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
Pay attention towards healthy food options
When hunger strikes, you eat chocolates, chips or fried foods. All these are contributory factors towards obesity, constipation etc. Some things to keep in mind:
1. Read up on healthier options such as dry roasted nuts which taste great and yet pack 1/3rd of your daily needed calories. Keep them with you when you're on the go or even in your office drawers.
2. Breakfast should consist of fruits and milk products e.g. papaya, apples, bananas, oranges, cottage cheese, yoghurt etc.3. For lunch/ dinner, make sure there is a balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Dals, vegetables and lean meats are a good option as well as non starched rice and wheat roti's etc.
Photographs: Peggy Greb/Wiki Commons
Avoid eating outside food
With a busy and long day at work and other commitments, we tend to take the easy way out and end up eating a lot of junk food. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Don't leave home with a satisfying breakfast under your belly.
2. Carry fruits and nuts with you, instead of cookies and chips.
3. Pack lunch as and when possible or get the famous dabbawallas to send you a home cooked meal.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
Reduce intake of aerated and caffeinated drinks
Feeling thirsty? With all the choices available in the market, we end up consuming lots of fizzy drinks, which in turn kills our appetite.
Fizzy drinks of any brand cause excessive bloating, palpitations, inability to concentrate and can lead to reverse hypoglycemia. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Always keep water on your bedside and on your work station.
2. Choose packaged coconut water, nimbu pani (lime drink), fruit juices or herbal drinks.3. If you need to have coffee or tea, restrict the amount you drink in a day to not more than 2/3 cups.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters
Avoid stress and long working hours
High stress jobs, late night parties, alcohol, fizzy drinks, smoking etc. accelerate the side-effects of poor dietary habits. Some ways to alleviate the harmful effects are:
1. Intake of foods that cool your system such as yoghurt, cucumbers, tomatoes etc keep us hydrated.
2. Intake of high-fibre foods such as oat bran, woody vegetables etc. keep your energy levels high.3. A balanced diet and regular meal timing will ensure good health and help you cope with such physical stress.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters