Tips to make Indian sweets nutritious: Ms. Priyam Ahuja

crop3_240x240_8sep14Ms. Priyam Ahuja is an award winning anti-obesity expert and a passionate diet and health consultant. She is also a corporate health coach and a renowned sports nutritionist. She is often featured on national television and is cited as an authentic source of nutrition information.

Priyam’s clientele includes highly renowned television actors, national level sports players, esteemed corporate executives, businessman, housewives, adolescents and children. She runs an online diet clinic called ‘Diet of a Dietician’ where she not only counsels her clients but also provides healthy recipes and nourishing tips.

Ms. Ahuja answered Sify readers’ queries related to the above in an exclusive chat. Read the transcript below.

I like to ask you how to maintain the balance diet in daily routine. Iam Hari now i weight 75 with 5 feet 7 foot. i want to reduce the weight to 5 Kg. how to do in my routine?
Follow the QQD Approach: Quantity, Quality and Distribution and stay Healthy and Fit. Take care of the quantity of food that you consume at a meal. Portion Control ,have small meals avoid large meals. Take care of the quality of food, have fibre, aoid starch. add in complete protein like fish or chicken if you are a non vegetarian, and milk, curd panner, nuts, soya if you are a vegetarian.

Avoid ghee and too much of butter or oil. Add walnuts and flaxseeds as healthy fats in your diet. Add in fruits and veggies as antioxidant and vitamins minerals source. Have atleast 3 litres of Water in a day. And finally discribution, how do we distribute it in a day, have 5-6 meals in a day in a gap of 2-3 hours. Stay Nourished, Stay Healthy!

atta noodles or oats noodles .which are good for health?
Noodles are generally prepared with Maida, refined flour and hence arn’t very healthy due to the presence of starch. With the addition of other grains like whole wheat or oats we try to add in fibre to it to make it slightly healthier than the traditional one. Both the varieties are very much available in the market however, please be aware that it still has the major proportion in its ingredient list as refined flour. I would recommend you to instead add in a handfull of oats while preparing noodles along with loads of veggies to get all the nutritional benefits and stay Fit!

What is the right time to eat cheese/ paneer? And which is better?
You can have it as a Paneer stir fry, or Sauteed Paneer, Panner frankey or wrap , Tandoori Panner, Panner tikka, Paneer gravy like Panner butter masala or palak panner or panner pakoda. The key is to have the healthier cooking method to get it nutritional benefit. So avoid the paneer pakoda and butter masala and enjoy palak panner, stir fry, sauteed, tandoori, roasted, grilled or barbequed. Coming to Cheese, Paneer is a kind of cheese which is fresh, other cheese which are aged are high in sodium and hence a concern.

Also the fat content is a concern. So whenever you buy paneer or cheese ensure it is low fat and made of cow’s milk rather than buffalo’s milk. And stay Fit with the goodness of Calcium and Protein!

Is there a difference between cheese and paneer?
Cheese can be classified as Fresh cheese and Aged cheese. Panner is a type of fresh cheese, and is also termed as cottage cheese.

Also please suggest some drink or food to overcome morning sickness?
Never skip your meals, ensure that you keep some crackers by your bedside, if you are awake at night have a bite. Simply avoid the foods that makes you feel nauseatic. Have small frequent meals throughout the day. Try cold sandwiches and salads avoid too hot and spicy foods.

What should be included in our everyday diet to increase our metabolism?
To increase your metabolism, kick start your day with Aloe vera juice (30 ml with 30 ml water) , Have fibre, protein and omega 3 in your diet also called as thermogenic foods. For example add oats, add soya or chicken , add flaxseeds or fish. Never skip your meals and have 5-6 meals with a gap of 2-3 hours. Also in include physical activity in your daily routine to help increase your BMR basal metabolism rate.

What kind of foods- cooked or uncooked are best for the heart?
Heart loves fresh fruits and vegetables. Be in love with them and see how your heart loves you back

Besides garlic what can be added in everyday food for better digestion?
Include curd in your diet for gut health and proper digestion.

Is there a way to get rid of the pesticides found on fruits and vegetables?
Have a Kitchen Garden. Grow fresh seasonal vegetables at home or buy organic which should not be using pesticides in crops.

Is soya very good for women health? In which form it is the best, chunks, milk or powder?
Soya is said to have phyto estrogens which mimic the female hormone estrogen. You can have soya is any form that you prefer.

Roasted soya flour added to your roti flour is a good option to have it everyday. You can make soya nuggets, chuncks or have soyabean or tofu. You can also switch to soya milk.

pl name some low fat healthy recipes for lunch and dinner..
Indian Diet has varied healthy options, its just the way we cook. Roti and Sabzi along with curd or daal is an ideal meal however, we generally end up adding some deep fried bundi to the curd to make a raita, or switch to deep fried poori instead of roti.

Sometimes we add in too much of ghee and tadka to the daal and sabzi. Sometimes our sabzis have deep fried karela or potato, deep fried koftas and this is where we go wrong. Indian thaliwith roti 2-3 , sabzi with minimal oil, dahi or chaas and daal is ideal.

My father has this problem of burping a lot after meals? Can it be controlled by diet ?
Burping usually is associated to swallowing food. Ask him to give him some time to sit relax and eat food slowly. He needs to thoroughly chew his food. When we swallow food as we are in a hurry to complete our meal and get back to work, we end up swallowing some air along with food leading to burp. Also if he consumes fizz containing beverages, sometimes beverages like lemon soda when consumed with a straw might lead to incorporation of air along with the drink leading to Burp.

As spicy foods increase acidity, what foods help in curbing acidity?
I have been giving interviews on the miraculous Alkaline diet which helps cut down on your acidity all together. Acid is being produced in your stomach throughout the day, this acid is required to help the food to get digested when you do not eat for long duration this acid production further enhances. Also if you have acidic food then this acid increases. So we need to make two alterations in our diet: one is to ensure we avoid long gaps between meals and have small meals within 2-3 hours. And second have food stuff which are alkaline like cucumber, carrots, some green leafy veggies. I often add in Wheat grass powder in the diet routine of my clients who have frequent episodes of acidity. Have a tsp of wheat grass powder in 50 ml water early morning, it is the perfect alkaline food

Any specific additions in the diet for senior elders to improve their bowel system?
Have the traditional triphala OR Add aloe vera juice in the diet. Early morning have 30 ml aloe vera juice along with 30 ml water. OR Overnight Soak figs (anjeer) in water and have the anjeer next day. OR grate carrots cucumber as salad to enhance fibre in diet

Proteins should be included in which meal of the day?
Protein should be equally spaced in your meal. If in breakfast milk was your protein source, have mid morning nuts,make curd your source for lunch, smoothie for evening, and dinner have panner, soya, daal, or chicken ,fish as your protein source.

Which has more caffeine.. tea or coffee and which is more healthier beverage?
I do not consider either of the two as healthier

Our family is very habituated to the milk tea. No one likes green tea. How many cups of tea is healthy for both males and females on daily basis?
I do not recommend tea as it has tannis and caffeine. I consider them as toxins for your body. Have green tea with cinnamon or with lime I am sure you will develop a taste for it. Green tea not only detoxifies but also helps increase your BMR

Some say that coffee is good for headaches but some say its bad. What is your advise?
I do not recommend caffeine if you have headache. It might act as a trigger to severe headache

Is peanut butter, the best for breakfast?
Peanut better is better than butter as the type of fat in peanut butter is healthy as compared to butter which is rich in saturated fat and cholesterol. I wont call it best but yes better substitute for butter

How can I stop my cravings for chocolate? Is there a healthy substitute?
Do not keep a stock of chocolate around you. When you buy chocolate buy the smallest portion size. Share it with friends. Once the stock is over do not refill it. It is not the chocolate but anything that you keep on chewing as its readily available to you in you purse or around you. Start keeping dried apricots and dried kiwi in your purse and see the transition from chocolates to fruits.

Which is the best oil for cooking or frying foods?
SFA: MUFA: PUFA ratio is generally taken into consideration. We prefer more of MUFA, some amount of PUFA (omega-3) and less SFA to ensure its nutritious. Groundnut oil, Olive pomace oil, Rice bran oil, mustard oil are healthier. You can keep on changing the type of oil in every 4-5 months. As per frying I would say, fried foods do you no good, Avoid them

I am 31 yrs female very fond of stuffed parathas and even pooris. Can I have 2-3 parathas everyday?
You can have parantha prepared in olive pomace oil instead of ghee and butter. Try using minimal oil required. Have it with curd and not pickle as curd shall add on to the protein in your otherwise carb based meal. Also pickle is generally accompnied with parantha however, due to too much oil and sodium in it, I would recommend you to mitigate it. Poori is deep fried and not really nutritious, you can have it once a fortnight

My elder sister aged 39yrs is breastfeeding her 4 months baby. Can you please suggest some diet tips for her?
Congratulations! Ensure that she takes care of herself equally while she is taking care of the baby coz generally we tend to be so busy taking care of the baby that we forget ourselves. Ask her to have a balanced diet, have good calcium sources: milk, paneer, curd, rasgulla, ragi are all great sources. Have iron rich foods,have ample of antioxidants to keep your immunity levels high with the help of fruits and vegetables. Drink good amount of Water. Have small frequent meals as and when comfortable. Avoid deep fried and too hot and spicy food. Take rest and sleep while your baby is asleep. Also ensure that your sister exclusively breastfeeds the baby for six months and only after six months start with complementary feeding
Any healthy suggestions for home cooked sweets?
Alternate the ghee with olive pomace oil Instead of condensed milk use slim milk use slim milk powder for a creamy texture Substitute dates as a source of sweetness in your recipe instead of sugar or sweetener try making sweets using carrots, beetroot and other vegetables, they give good colour and are nutritious. You can find several recipes on my site.

Why is it that I feel sleepy after meals? Is there something wrong in my diet?
If you consume too much of simple form of carbohydrates like sugar and sweets. Or have starch based diet like bread, rice,potato, maida rich roti you shall have a tendency to fall asleep. Try having more fibre in your diet, have whole wheat flour, and cut down on the sugar consumption. If you have fruit juice have veg juice instead or eat a fruit. Whenever you feel sleepy try having green tea instead of coffee or tea

What are the best foods that help in controlling diabetes?
Fibre and B Glucan both are present in Oats and works well to help control diabetes.

Please suggest a healthy snacks recipe for diabetics.
I always tell my Diabetic friends to just add in Oats to any and every recipe to make it healthy and B-Glucan rich which shall take care of blood sugar and cholesterol levels can have Oats upma, Oats poha ( have 3/4 poha add in 1/4 oats to the recipe) , Oats porridge.

What is a healthy diet according to you for any normal individual who has crossed 30yrs of age?
5-6 meals in a day with a gap of 2-3 hours. At least all 3 basic meals Breakfast lunch and dinner should have a perfect blend of protein and carbs. Have at least 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies and a minimum of 3 litres of Water in a day.

What is your opinion on ready powdered soup packets and sauces?
Preservatives and Sodium, Not good for your Heart. If you are healthy and consume it once a while, can have it

Are dairy products not so healthy because of the lactose present in them?
Our body has an enzyme called lactase which digests lactose , which is basically a milk sugar. Some individuals lack the enzymes to digest this sugar and cannot tolerate milk, they can switch to soya milk , almond milk or sometimes curd might be fine for their gastric system but not milk. However, if you do not have lactase enzyme deficiency,milk is a very good source of calcium and protein and should be consumed twice a day

Is it necessary to have gluten free diet everyday?
Only if you have gluten intolerance and feel nausea , vomiting or distress after eating a diet rich in wheat, rye, barley or Oats.

What are gluten free foods?
Gluten is a protein present usually in higher amount is the following cereals : WRBO Wheat, Rye, Barley and Oats. Those who have gluten intolerance due to absence of certain enzymes are suggested to have foods which do no have the following cereals present in them, called as Gluten free

How is it to have sweeteners once in a while?
Sweetness is the essence of Life, Keep it sweet with homemade desserts. Prefer milk based desserts over the one’s which demands too much ghee and fat. You can replace sugar with natural sweeteners like fruits , especially dates. Or can use natural stevia leaves in sweet food preparation instead of artificial sweetener

Now days we also get mithai sweets which have less sugar as claimed by them, but then they taste the same as the usual mithai, is it advisable to have it?
I always encourage my clients to Control on the portion and keep it sweet. I do not vouch for the artificial sweeteners, also sometimes to limit the sugar the fat content is increased to maintain the consistency and taste of the dish. I do not ask you to totally let go the sweetness from your life, so have portion control and keep it sweet.

Is sugarcane juice also bad for our health? Can we have it once in a week?
You can have sugarcane juice. However,if you are overweight or diabetic, because of the excessive sugar it has, I would ask you to avoid it. If you are a sports player or workout at a gym, you can a small glass of sugarcane juice post workout. Ensure it is prepared in hygienic conditions.

Hello Priyamji, I have this very strong urge for sweets everyday, especially after lunch and dinner, how can I overcome this?
Drink one glassfull of Water after meals. If your stoach is totally full you wont feel the urge to have sweets. Secondly, you can have roasted saunf after your meal, that would give you slight sweetness. thirdly, If you want to have sweets, try having a spoonfull of homemade icecream with seasonal fruits, it will give you proteins and not the unnecessary fats and you can limit sugar as well.

How many times in a month can one have fast food to maintain good health? (I AM ADDICTED TO FAST FOODS BUT NOW AM WORKING ON CUTTING DOWN ON IT)
Fast food can also be healthy provided it is prepared that way. A frakey or a wrap if prepared with whole wheat and has perfect veggie and paneer / chicken stuffing is a healthy option. A 6″ honey and oat bread subway with veggies along with herb dressing instead of mayonnaise is healthy.

How to get rid of any kind of food addiction? Any tips?
Stop thinking about that food and switch your mind to things more important in life, like playing around with kids or doing house hold chores or focus on working, the less you think about that food the more you want it. Also try to keep your stomach full with more fibre in your diet. never skip meals and chew on carrots when you feel a fod craving,it helps.

Do food cravings result out of the absence of that particular food in our daily diet or is it food addiction?
Food cravings can sometimes be a signal by your body due to deficiency of a nutrient present in that food, however, most often food addiction also leads to craving for that particular food, it happens when you think a lot about that food, especially when you are fasting or have thought of limiting that food from your diet without a concise reason

Is it very important to keep a check on our daily calorie intake also?
An Fruit plate might give you around 100 calories. A slice of cake might also give you the same amount of calories. If I end up checking the calories consumed in a day, I might miss out on the nourishment. So always check for having food rich are nutritious over the not so very nutritious rather than checking the daily calorie requirement. Leave the calculations on the Dietician, for you all I wanna say is enjoy being Healthy!

Pl guide on a way or method by which we can keep a daily check on our nutrition intake.
I always say remember three things – Quantity, Quality and Distribution. Check on the quantity of food that you are eating in a particular meal. Check for the type of carbohydrate, is it starch or fibre, the protein is it a complete protein source or not, check the fat is it deep fried or saturated or is it omega 3 rich or MUFA rich fat. So check the Quality. And finally the distribution of meal in a day, have 5-6 meal with a gap of 2-3 hours.

What should be the right intake of flax seeds on per day basis by both males and females?
A minimum of 1 tbsp and maximum of 2 tbsp of powdered roasted flaxseeds is ideal to give you the miraculous results

Is it better to consume flax seeds raw than in the powder form?
Flaxseeds if slightly roasted and powdered are better over raw as its absorption is increased.

Please suggest some diet or foods that are good for menopausal women?
Menopausal Woman should eat a balanced diet and take care of portion control, as their are weight fluctuations. Secondly, Calcium levels needs to be checked, developing Osteoporosis is the highest risk during menopause, try to overcome this by having Calcium supplement if your T score for Bone mineral density is not normal. Thirdly Stress is highly elevated try having 5 servings of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Fourth check your Iron levels. And finally ensure that you drink good amount of water.

How important is the intake of B12?
Vit B12 is actually stored in your body (in liver ) for years so you need not worry unless you have a deficiency. It is required for metabolism, proper functioning of CNS central nervous system and formation of Blood.

Hi.. I am 45yrs vegan female. I want to know about B12. Is B12 available only in non vegetarian foods?
Vitamin B12 is present is yeast which is used for bread making. If you have Vit B12 deficiency, yeast is a very rich source of it, you can add on bread in your diet provided you do not have any other ailments.

Noodles are very much available multigrain, and yes, if consumed with lots of seasonal vegetables along with them they do become healthy. Its the refined flour/ maida that is tradionally used to make the noodles which gives them the unhealthy stamp. Just add in some white oats while preparing the noodles. Have it loads of stir fry veggies and done. Stay Fit !

Please advise how good are ready to cook meals? I am a bachelor staying away from family so usually buy ready to cook meals from Supermarket?
Ready to cook meals are no doubt convenience meals however I wont call them a nutritious meal. I would suggest you to have may be cereal with slim milk / slim milk powder , or oats upma, oats porridge as your breakfast. So that atleast the first meal of the day is taken care of. Stay Fit!

What should be the right intake of bread? Can we have it everyday?
Bread is a baked product and has high amounts of sodium (baking soda and baking powder) along with starch as refined flour. try cutting down on the quantity of bread to 2 slice once or twice a week. If you have high blood pressure I would suggest you to avoid bread

Which is the best bread to buy M’am?
Bread is basically a carbohydrate source. This Carbohydrate can be 100% starch as in case of White bread or a mix of starch and fibre. Now, in market you would find brown breads and multi grain bread suggesting they have whole grains in them hence fibre rich. Just ensure that when you buy bread you are clear about the thought that it is made up of refined flour along with approx 40% other grains. Also remember that baking soda and baking poowder are generally used in baking hence if your family member has high BP try to avoid having baked products.

Is besan (chickpea flour) and maida (white flour) really bad for health? Why?
I love Food and I never call any Food as bad. But definitely as Maida is a refined flour it does not acts as a source of fibre rather is starch based and is a concern as it is generally very fast absorbed and if un-utilized this sugar is stored as fat and leads to obesity.

You can have it but in minimal quantities occasionally. As per besan, it is a very good source of protein.

Why is it better to have raw fruits rather than having fruit juices?
Raw fruits adds fibre in your diet which is missing in fruit juices. Also if I ask you to consume Orange you might consume one or two. But when you have a glassfull of Juice, you might need to have 4-6 Oranges to get a glassfull of Juice. Now if you are looking in for weight loss or are Diabetic, this juice will have ample of fruit sugar which we need to restrict, while fruit will have fibre which we want. However, If you are a sports player or are working out the same glass of juice is ideal for you post workout as your body demands sugar

What is the best to have in the breakfast by a normal person? Some suggest heavy breakfast so does mean we can have fried foods also in breakfast?
Breakfast should be a perfect combination of fibrous carbs and good quality proteins along with minimal healthy fats and that is exactly what we as Dieticians mean when we say Breakfast should be heavy, remmeber its not just the quantity but always the quality which is more important. Cereal and Milk, Parantha with dahi, Oats porridge is a perfect blend of Carbs with Protein.

Please suggest some foods which can reduce headaches.
Dear Araadhani, Headache is more often a symptom by your body that something is going wrong within your body. Stress and Sleep deprivation are the most often quoted reasons for Headache however, it has been identified that the reason can be certain foodstuffs in your diet which whenever consumed in quantities above your threshold might lead to a shooting pain called as the headache. try avoiding aged cheese, Ajinomoto, processed foods with high sodium content and red wine along with other alcohol. to reduce the episodes of severe Headache try to have more fruts and vegetables and prefer alkaline foods over foods with high acidic content especially those which are spicy.