Raise your hands if you or anyone you know is suffering from Vit D/ Vit B12/Calcium/Iron or any other deficiency or from Blood Pressure or Diabetes?
Looks like we all know a few people like that!
Most of these are what are called Lifestyle Disorders and can be checked/managed by having a balanced diet and a fit lifestyle.
As people responsible for running/managing our kitchens and deciding what food to serve the family, we have an immense responsibility on our shoulders to ensure that the meals are nutritious, healthy and meet the diet requirements of family members.
We also have to ensure that all meals are tasty, interesting and are as per the preferences of the family members.
And these are just a few of the total set of considerations! This is alongside all the other responsibilities that one is shouldering on an everyday basis!
While we pay a lot of attention on taking care of making food that everyone likes, we do not take into equal consideration the need for having healthy, balanced and well-rounded meals every day. Our families also do not make it easy for us, as they are difficult to please and not willing to change or adapt.
Most of us thus fall into the groove of familiarity (for various reasons) and churn out least resistance meals again and again. This is what usually makes home food predictable and a trifle boring and in some extreme cases unhealthy too!
Home food has become the butt of jokes on social media with Lauki and Tinda jokes doing the rounds! What also makes matters difficult in this age of social media is all the Food influencers and Foodies posting delicious-looking well-plated delicacies from restaurants or street vendors and tempting our taste buds beyond reason.
Having said that “Ma ke haath ka khana /ghar ka khana” still evokes strong sentiments so all is not lost!
It is a known fact that what we eat everyday, decides how healthy we are going to be.
Research shows that a majority of us eat more number of times at home as compared to eating out/ordering in.
It is thus logical that our family’s health is defined by what is getting cooked every day in our kitchens.
The pandemic has made all of us realize the importance of having good health and strong immunity. This can only be built with healthy food and good eating habits.
Lifestyle illnesses and deficiencies etc are becoming way too common. Every time we hear of an unfortunate incident involving someone we know we all feel insecure about the vagaries of life.
Healthy eating cannot be mood-based – here today, gone tomorrow. It should not be seasonal. It definitely should not be a short-term goal-oriented task. Eating healthy food is a lifestyle. If we are able to plan for it, we will be able to do it consistently.
An active lifestyle is important but nutrition comes first.
Eating balanced meals consistently helps us to prevent lifestyle diseases and avoid deficiencies of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
A balanced meal contains optimal portions of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, proteins and fats and that is not difficult to achieve in our daily meals. Another point that may be of interest is that the nutritional requirements change as per the stage of life we may be at. It will therefore not be amiss for us to educate ourselves on the optimal nutritional requirements for each of the family members so that it can be catered for efficiently.
Sadly, we have been taking our kitchen and its role in maintaining good health for granted.
Home food can be made interesting, have variety and be healthy– it just requires some thought to go into the planning and organizing accordingly.
To create variety in the meals, one can try making a different recipe from the same ingredient, bring new ingredients into the menus, try dishes from other cuisines, and switch the dish combinations to bring novelty to the menu to name a few strategies.
It is a good idea to plan what you are going to eat for the next few days in advance rather than plan on a meal-to-meal basis. This will enable you to be prepared with the recipes (in case you are trying something new), groceries, time and would conserve your efforts while cooking while also saving on stress.
All said and done, Meal Planning goes a long way in making healthy eating sustainable so you may want to give it a serious try.
It may be worthwhile to get all family members involved in planning the meals. It makes the experience more inclusive and everyone takes ownership of what is cooked and served.
Just remember that the next time you don the thinking cap to decide the menu or the apron to start cooking, you may as well be donning the white coat that the health practitioners wear!
You are your family’s CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER!
This article has been written by Shalini C Goyal
Shalini is a GurgaonMom and an entrepreneur. She has recently launched AMIYAA: What’s Cooking App, which is India’s own App for Meal Planning & More!
AMIYAA is specially designed for Indian homes and is versatile to include all cuisines and foods. So, whether you want to plan for a dal-roti-sabzi meal or want to have Pasta, Chowmein or Falafel, you can plan for it all with AMIYAA. Shalini is married to Mukul who is an acclaimed Product Designer and they have two children – Gauri & Vir.