It's the season of leafy greens and our grocery stores are teeming of various different types of nutritious vegetables. Some of the most common ones abundantly used in Indian kitchens are palak, methi, bathua, mustard greens, radish leaves etc. Be it curries, stuffed parathas or dry mixed vegetables, there are numerous dishes that are made from winter greens. Greens can also be added to salads to lend some seasonal nutrition to your diet. They can also be made into soothing soups that are just perfect for winters. Spinach is widely used as an ingredient in creamy soups that can be enjoyed as meals during winters. We give you some delicious spinach soup recipes that can help you brave the cold outside. But let's look at the rich nutritional profile of this quintessential winter green.
Spinach Nutrition: Facts and Benefits
Spinach is very low in calories. In fact, it is one of the most nutritious negative calorie foods out there. A 100 gram portion of the vegetable provides just 23 calories (as per data by the United States Department of Agriculture). It is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, most notably beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 (folate) and Vitamin K, as well as iron, magnesium and manganese. The leafy green is known to help maintain eye health and improve the health of bones. Spinach is also said to regulate blood pressure and fight inflammation in the body.
Winter Diet: Spinach Soup recipes
1. Spinach Cauliflower Soup Recipe
Two nutritious low-calorie vegetables come together to make this amazingly nutritious recipe. Spinach and cauliflower florets are simmered in a stock with onions, until the vegetables are soft. The veggies are blended together and mixed with seasonings and skimmed milk.
2. Spinach Soup With Spicy Chickpeas Recipe
This unique combination of spinach and chickpeas is filling and sumptuous. Onions are cooked along with chickpeas and then further cooked again in water that chickpeas were soaked in. Once this is done, all the ingredients are allowed to cool down, blended together and then garnished with cream and black sesame seeds.
3. Chicken Spinach Soup Recipe
Add some protein power to your spinach soup meal with this simple recipe. Minced chicken is mixed with green onions, ginger, garlic, shredded carrots, an egg for binding and some seasoning, to make balls that are first chilled in the fridge and then boiled with the soup stock until they are cooked. You can then add vegetables of your choice, along with spinach leaves and cook everything together for a satiating meal.
4. Spiced Spinach Soup With Paneer Croutons Recipe
Bread croutons are passe. Paneer or cottage cheese is used as a healthier substitute in this recipe. The recipe uses three important winter greens- spinach, dill and fenugreek leaves to prepare this wholesome soup that is nutritious and delicious.
Stepping on to the healthy bandwagon can be an overwhelming affair, both mentally and physically. In order to keep healthy and fit, it is essential to monitor body weight and keep it maintained. For those looking to shed those extra kilos, it is important to strike a balance between regular workout regime and balanced diet. When it comes to weight loss diet, protein-rich foods could help you go a long way in meeting your weight loss goals. This is primarily because protein has the tendency to induce a feeling of satiety, which helps keep one full for a longer spell. While there's no dearth of protein sources out there, we bring to you a low-calorie and high-protein recipe that is a perfect combination of taste and health. Wondering what it is? We're talking about roasted green peas chaat. Made using green peas (matar) as its prime ingredient, this healthy chaat is high in protein-quotient.
Apart from being rich in protein, these edible pods as a whole are a powerhouse of nutrition. According to the book, 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing House, "Peas are rich in vitamin K, manganese, and vitamin C, and are a good source of folate and trace elements. Their insoluble fibre content is good for the gut and also helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Since this chaat is devoid of oil content and is completely roasted, it saves you a lot of calories and further facilitates weight loss.
Here's How You Can Make Weight-Loss-Friendly Green Peas (Matar) Chaat At Home:
Green Peas - 200 grams
Tomatoes - 1 small, chopped
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Carrot - 1 medium, grated
Green Capsicum - 1 small, chopped
Rock salt - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Cooking Method to Make Matar Chaat:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile place a parchment paper on a baking tray. Now place the green pea pods over the sheet and bake them in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
Once they have turned all crispy and crunchy, transfer them to a bowl and add all the chopped ingredients to it along with rock salt.
Mix well and drizzle lemon juice over it. Your crunchy and healthy chaat is ready to be served and savoured.
If you were thinking all this while that all chaats are greasy and laden with oil, then this healthy chaat recipe is sure to change your perception. Make this a part of your daily diet and tread through your weight loss journey in an effective manner. Apart from following a healthy and balanced diet, pair it with a regular workout regime and watch out for results.
The usage of onion and garlic in an Indian kitchen is indispensable - thanks to the exceptionally amazing flavour they offer to curries, stir fries, stew, soup and what not. Both the ingredients, belonging to the allium family, not only add to the flavour, but also have numerous health benefits to offer. However, Ayurveda suggests that one shouldn't consume excessive amount of onion and garlic. Ayurveda defines nutritional properties of food based on six tastes that include sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent and astringent, and their qualities namely, sattva, rajas and tamas. While both onion and garlic are considered excellent foods, they still are not favoured by Ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda expert from NirogStreet, Ram N Kumar, "Ayurveda is not against eating onion and garlic; in fact, garlic is deemed as an important medicine in Ayurveda. However, onion is considered tamasic (makes people irritable) and garlic is known to be rajsic (disturbed sleep and drained energy) in nature, which means both these ingredients produce heat in the body. While body needs some amount of heat, excessive heat may only lead to increased risk of health problems."Undoubtedly, Ayurveda prizes onion and garlic as powerful medicines and do not recommend avoiding them. Ayurveda principles are generally confused with spirituality and yoga that recommend a no onion and no garlic diet, as they both are believed to distract an individual's focus and attention.
Health Benefits Of Onion And Garlic
Both the ingredients have a long list of health benefits. Garlic has often been considered as a wonder drug. It has been used to prevent infections due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, and it is also known to reduce chances of cancer; thanks to its anti-carcinogenic properties. Onions, on the other hand, are known to reduce inflammation, remove toxins, normalise digestion and reduce cough. These are just a few health benefits attributed to the two humble kitchen ingredients.
So, go ahead and add these two foods in your daily diet; just remember anything in excess is bad for your health and moderation is the key.
Diwali is finally here and it's time to catch up with family and friends. While the festive vibe is in the air, a lot of us have already indulged in all things decadent and sweet. Diwali celebrations and sweet treats are quite synonymous to each other, which often end up giving us a sugar overdose. Bingeing on the traditional delicacies of the festival may wreak havoc on your waistline as most of the Diwali delights are loaded with sugar and fat that only adds to the calorie load. However, you can steer clear of those extra calories by following few cooking and eating tips that won't make you go looking for a diet post the celebrations.
Here Are Few Diet And Cooking Hacks That May Help You Stave Off Excess Calories:
Ditch The Deep-Frying Method And Opt For Baking Instead
Snacks like mathis and samosas can be baked instead of frying, which would further cut out on a lot of extra calories. To reduce the calorie count further, you can skip the regular potato-based filling and stuff your samosas with veggies instead as they are rich in fibre content. Kebab, cutlet, tikka masala can all be baked with full seasoning and very less oil. Alternatively, you may also bring to your rescue the air-frying method that reduces the oil consumption to a considerable extent without compromising on the taste. Pakoras, fish, chicken; all of these can be cooked using this method.
Swap Butter For Healthy Oil Alternatives
Home cooking allows you to choose the amount and type of ingredients. For instance, if you are making butter chicken at home for Diwali party, replace the butter with some healthy oil and use it in moderation. You can also swap the heavy cream and use skimmed milk instead to get the same texture and taste.
Instead of snacking on deep-fried stuff, bring protein-rich snacks to your rescue as they may help you stay satiated for long. For dinner, you can choose vegetables of your choice and a small serving of carbs.
Avoid Intake Of Excess Sugary Sodas
Alcohol packs in a lot of calories and if you add a sugary soda or juice to your drink, the calorie load would only end up increasing. First of all, drink in moderation and have a glass of water or flavoured water between your drinks as it will prevent dehydration and help you avoid a hangover.
Make Judicious Choices
When you're at a Diwali party, walk around the table and see what is laid out from end-to-end. Avoid eating everything that's present on the buffet table and be judicious in your choices as it will help prevent calorie overload. Other than this, wait before you reach out for the second helping. It takes about ten minutes for your stomach to register what you have eaten; wait and then decide if you really need the second helping.
Start Out Full
Eat before you hit the party circuit. During the festive season you may have to head out every day or very often. Therefore, it is better to eat your meal before you leave and stick to munching small amount of non-fried snacks. You can munch on a snack, preferably a protein-rich one, before you leave so that you don't hit the party empty stomach. You can also consider a handful of nuts, an apple or cucumber, a tablespoon of peanut butter, or just one whole grain toast or roti.
Dance Till You Drop
Make the most of the festive season by dancing to your heart's content. Dancing is a form of exercise that may help you manage your weight by burning excess calories.
Stay focused for the rest of the day. Keep yourself hydrated and eat lots of vegetables and fruits. This will prevent exhaustion and keep you energised through the day.
Superfoods load a big punch of nutrition in a small crunch. Dietary substances that provide large proportions of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants etcetera are referred as 'superfoods'. They are a vital part of a truly balanced diet. Superfoods have gained quite a popularity in the recent days as the food trends evolve rapidly over the social media. They may perhaps not fulfil your gluttonous cravings, but they will definitely fulfil your body's nutritional requirements in a rather small quantity.
In addition to being a powerhouse of nutrients and providing all the essential ones, they have various other health benefits as well. Some superfoods have specialised benefits as well, such as tomatoes, which contain high amounts of potassium, fibre, and vitamin C. They also make your immune system stronger and resistant to countless other major and minor diseases.
As the term evolves and more and more people come to know about its benefits, the term 'superfoods' has been exploited so much by packed food manufacturers and global food brands alike. The food industry labels its regular products as 'superfoods' and charges an exuberant sum of money from its consumers. The labelling is not even supported by any scientific research or claims. The European Union has banned the term 'superfoods' in addition to other health claims on packaging unless supported by scientific evidence.
In order to counter this ban, giants in the food industry are spending thousands of dollars on academic research. This is being done in order to support the health claims mentioned on the packaging and make their product a 'superfood'. Some have even been successful in doing so. But the problem yet prevails as the researches are more than often conducted on concentrated extracts of food. Thus the claimed benefits may not be found in the natural state of foods.
But you need not spend an exuberant sum of money to include these so-called 'superfoods' in your diet. Instead, you can find them lying around your house. Broccoli, oats, cinnamon, turmeric, tomatoes are a few to mention. You can find these items for a rather cheap price in any supermarket.
Superfoods may appear to be a new concept as the trend evolves via social media. But if we contemplate our past, we'll realise that superfoods are around for a rather long time.
If you look back a couple of hundred years or so in the modern history when medicines, as we know them now, were yet a fantasy, you'll find mentions of these superfoods. If a person fell ill, he'd be medicated by a variety of herbs, roots and other parts of a plant. Examples of such superfoods with medicinal properties include turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and almonds among countless others. These age-old medical herbs and vegetables evolved into what we refer as 'superfoods'.
The ancient Indians were aware of these superfoods long before the knowledge spread to the western world. The Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, had mentions of these superfoods. The Ayurvedic superfoods also form an important part of Indian festivals and festivities. Almonds, ghee, honey, saffron etcetera form a crucial part of the offerings offered to Gods and deities in the festivals all over the country. These Ayurvedic superfoods occupy an important part of the Indian taste palate. Here are few of the most important superfoods according to the Ayurveda.
1. Ginger: Ginger is a well-known ingredient that is found not only in a majority of Indian and western dishes alike, it's something that it is commonly available in our houses. It is known as the 'Healing Spice of Ayurveda'. Fresh ginger could provide relief from nausea and dried ginger is useful for joint pains.
2. Turmeric:Turmeric, the superfood that is gaining international popularity day-by-day, has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It may provide relief in symptoms of various skin conditions and could also regulate the blood sugar levels. It plays a vital role as a medicine in Ayurveda.
3. Ghee: Ghee or clarified butter, as it's commonly known, is a gem of Ayurveda. It is, in fact, healthier than butter or refined oil and is known to even control cholesterol, thanks to its content of omega-3 fatty acids. According to Ayurveda, it must be consumed daily in order to maintain a healthy eyesight and radiant skin.
4. Cinnamon: Cinnamon, the "super spice", was more expensive than gold in the ancient days. It improves digestion and blood circulation, removes toxins from the body, and was originally used in the effective treatment of respiratory and sinus congestion, bronchitis, colds, and the flu.
The Ayurveda is filled with an exuberant amount of such superfoods. Dates, almonds, honey, saffron, basmati rice are a few to mention. Ayurveda encouraged people to inculcate these superfoods in their daily and regular diet in order to lead a healthy lifestyle and prevent falling sick.
In fact, our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves, given that it is not lacking a healthy supply of essential nutrients. Superfoods, as mentioned before, are nutritionally very dense and are loaded with the nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy.
Nature itself wants to eat superfoods, thus it has blessed us with abundant of superfoods that can serve as our staple diet. Moreover, nature bestows upon us with the superfoods in specific conditions that are best for us in that particular weather, such as summer or winter, or geographical location such as the plains or the coasts. For example, root vegetables that are superfoods such as carrots, radish, turnips etcetera are abundant in nature. They have high mineral and nutrient content, which is essential in the winters since the nutritional requirement of the body increases in the winters. On the contrary, watermelon is a superfood that is abundant in summers. It has high water content, which is crucial for summers. It is low in sugar and high in vitamins A and C.
In fact, if you niche down the fruits, vegetables and other dietary substances that flower in a particular season, it is a superfood that nature itself is begging you to consume.
Yet, there are superfoods that must be consumed throughout the year to maintain a healthy body. Below are some superfoods that you can easily include in your daily diet.
Eggs: Eggs are superfoods that are available throughout the year and have high nutritional values. Moreover, they are very easy-to-cook. They are a powerhouse of potassium, folic acid and vitamins.
Broccoli: A handful of broccoli has way more calcium than a glass of milk. The superfood also has an abundant quantity of minerals and vitamins.
Oats: Oats are a rich source of fibre, magnesium, potassium, and phytonutrients. The fibre in oats may lower blood sugar level. It is a superfood with which you should start your day.
Salmon: Salmon is a healthy superfood that is packed with a great amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Almonds: Almonds are one of the most nutritious and healthy nuts, with large amounts of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron.
Millets: Millet is a gluten-free superfood with high amounts of vitamins. Various studies have proved that it may be even healthier than whole wheat.
As essential as it is to make superfoods an integral part of your diet, it's equally essential to stay away from artificial superfoods. Instead, try to consume those nutritionally rich foods that are abundant in nature.