Nutrition Q&A: Eating to maintain an ideal weight

Nutrition and Dietetics expert, Parvathy Radhakrishnan answers readers’ questions on nutrition. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Wednesday.
This week’s answers:

1. Hello Parvathy. Your article on carbs for weight loss is very useful. However, I have a doubt. Traditionally, we use barley only for fluid removal. Is it safe to use it like other cereals? Pl advice.
Yes it is perfectly safe to use barley in your cooking. In fact Sify’s Bawarchi site itself have published some good recipes with barley as the ingredient.

2. madam, can I give my 4 month old baby sprouted ragi kanjee? Is it ok to mix fruits with it and milk?
Yes you can give your baby ragi kanjee. I hope you are still breast feeding your baby. Mix it with milk. Fruit like banana may be mashed and given at a different time. It is always best to introduce one food at a time.

3. how can we keep a tab on the calories we are eating daily? It is not possible to keep in mind the calorie content of all the items. Please share your valuable tips on this.
You are right. It is not possible to keep tag of calories of individual dishes or foods. The simplest way to see if you are eating right is if you are maintaining ideal weight constantly.

But there are couple of things you could do to not become overweight.

You can remember to avoid groups of foods like deep fried foods and snacks which add extra pounds to your weight if eaten regularly and are unhealthy.
Also eat sweets sparingly.
Eat all other foods as you need but try to keep them wholesome for eg use whole grains instead of refined, fruits instead of juices and vegetables cooked with minimum oil.
Check your weight monthly

If you are aware of what foods are fatty or use refined flours then it makes avoiding them to eat healthy easier. It is to create this awareness that the food pyramid and the food groups are used as educational materials.

4. I have dry, brittle hair. Can this be corrected with diet?
Dry brittle hair could be a result of unhealthy eating. But there are other reasons also that you may need to rule out like sun damage, excessive chemical (hair) treatments, hypothyroidism.

Drink plenty of water. Eat lots of fruits. Include milk and nuts in your diet. Take a multi vitamin pill for a while until you feel there is improvement.

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