By Dr Dana nutritionist for India Gate, KRBL
While we can’t be happier to say good bye to 2020, we have to admit that this year has taught is quite a few lessons, the most important being – valuing our health. Washing hands, eating right and working on the wellbeing of ourselves and our families has taken the front seat. So, as we move into the New Year hoping things will get better and back to normal we should not forget the importance of living a healthy life and eating the right food. Let’s resolve to eat healthy and exercise daily and most importantly stick to our resolution.
Dietary resolutions are difficult to maintain and the main reason for this is our diet plans are usually not feasible in the first place or aren’t incorporated smoothly into daily routines.
Both dieting and healthy eating, require a certain degree of planning, discipline and effort to follow sincerely and throughout the year.
A very effective way of doing so is to prepare a practical ‘Food Plan’. The intent is to create a personalised Food Plan that would set realistic goals and action steps, making it easier to stick to the prescribed diet and achieve health goals.
Dr. Dana Al-Hamwi of India Gate, a renowned dietician and nutritionist, shares insights gleaned from over 2 decades of experience and learning.
An ideal Food Plan should above all be holistic and feasible, in terms of including the staple food items of the region, taking into consideration climatic conditions, dietary and social restrictions. This will ensure that healthy eating becomes a part of daily life, followed the whole year round – establishing a path to physical fitness, mental well-being and an overall healthy lifestyle.
In the Middle East, given the region’s hot and arid climate, adequate intake of water is imperative. The diet should incorporate leafy vegetables and fruits, and other ingredient with high water content such as rice, chia seeds, quinoa and more. Avoid food high in salt and caffeine content as these ingredients dehydrate the body.
Along with the content, the frequency and timing of meals is also important. It is better to have small meals at regular intervals rather than having 2 big meals a day. The old adage of ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’ is more than just a homily, containing the distilled wisdom of our elders. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should never be skipped. Try and have your meals at the same time every day.
Exercise is the other pillar of a fit and healthy body. People aiming to lose weight often make the mistake of focussing on their diet, without engaging in any exercise or fitness activity. This approach doesn’t yield the desired results because when you ingest a lesser quantity of food, your brain automatically goes into starvation mode, slowing down your body’s metabolism rate, as a result of which your weight remains at the same level. Starting a physical activity concurrently with your diet will provide the dual benefits of lower calorie consumption and boosting your metabolism rate, enabling you to reach your weight targets faster. Also, muscles require more calories to function, wherefore the more muscle mass you gain, the faster you lose weight.
30 minutes of daily exercise of any activity or form that you like is sufficient. It is important that the activity be regular and moderately intensive.
Have a positive and optimistic outlook towards life, which will help in reducing stress. Meditation or indulging in your passions are good stress-busters.
Some do’s and don’ts when it comes to dieting are:
- Limit intake of salt, sugar, soft drinks and sweetened drinks.
- Add healthy fibre sources to daily diet, such as Quinoa and brown rice.
- Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables.
- Eat fish twice a week, especially oily fish.
- Cut down on saturated fat.
- Add 1 table spoon of Flax and Chia seeds to your daily diet.
- Try healthy cooking habits using basmati rice. Basmati rice has a low glycaemic index rice compared to other rice types, which means once digested it releases its energy slowly keeping the blood sugar levels stable.
- Particular foods support a healthy lifestyle, like spring artichoke (Folic acid-Vit B+C) which is good for liver health, Berries summer (Lycopene-rich in anti-oxidant), Watermelon (Carotene water), Yoghurt (Probiotics), Autumns whole grains, Quinoa (high in proteins), Broccoli (high in antioxidants), Winter oatmeal (healthy fibre), Cauliflower, Pumpkin soup, Sweet potato.
Particular care must be taken during the seasonal transition months, such as the advent of summer in May and September, when summer transitions into winter. During such times, regulate your water intake to remain sufficiently hydrated and eat high protein foods like Quinoa.
The holy month of Ramadan – a time for both fasting and feasting – is another period when people need to be very particular about what they eat and when. Dr. Dana has some tips to remain healthy and safe during the fasting month:
- Hydration – water intake is very important to avoid headaches.
- Cut down caffeine and sugar.
- Break your fast with dates and yoghurt.
- Include a bowl of soup in your iftar meal.
- Don’t skip suhour.
- Include bananas in your suhour meal (high Magnesium content).
- Avoid having too many plates in the table.
- Avoid fried food, juices and sweets.
- Try to include healthy sweets such as quinoa cookies, chia seed pudding etc instead of Muhalabieh and dry fruits.
- Avoid Salty food.
- Try to move around and be more active after iftar, prayer.
- Avoid high intensity exercises during fasting.
- Include chia seeds in pudding to avoid constipation.
We hope you find these tips and information useful in designing your personalised Food Plan 2021. Here’s wishing you success in meeting your health and dietary objectives in the New Year.
About India Gate and KRBL Group:
India Gate, a benchmark in quality food standards, is a KRBL Group flagship brand. As a global food brand, India Gate continues to earn respect and patronage among consumers world over.
Apart from the newly introduced Quinoa, Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds India Gate also specializes in brown rice and is known in the region for its highest selling India Gate Classic Basmati rice.
KRBL’s journey started over 129 years ago as a company that engaged in grain marketing and agro processing. It was later incorporated in 1993 with the objective of processing paddy and with its vast experience and expertise, the miller is now synonymous with basmati rice – favourably positioning Indian basmati on the global food map.
As the world’s largest basmati miller and exporter, KRBL is currently present across all the basmati eating regions such as Asia, Middle East, Europe, USA, Canada, and Africa. KRBL is known for its seed development and farmer engagement program and the trust it has earned by implementing the fastest- scalable lab-to-market Public-Private Partnership project with the synonymous 1121 grain.
KRBL has won many accolades throughout the years with its most recent award being the awarded the coveted APEDA Award Golden Trophy for the largest exporter of Basmati rice. Additionally, it has received in 2016 Guinness World Records for the heaviest bag of rice. In 2015, it received the prestigious NAAS India Silver Jubilee Award for Basmati rice trade development.