International Women’s Day 2021: Five food habits for every woman to challenge herself with

Protein deficiency is a huge problem in our country, especially among women. (Representational photo)

I have always believed that if we are going to celebrate the women in our life, then we must do it every day rather than on only one day of the year. However, this Women’s Day’s theme- Choose to Challenge- is extremely crucial for us all. When we choose to challenge the status quo, we break free from norms and habits that do us no good. And yes, you’d be surprised to learn that this applies to the way we eat as well!

They say you are what you eat. So this Women’s Day, I’d like to encourage all women to pause and reflect on how we eat and I challenge you to make more impactful dietary choices such as switching to the Indian way of nutrition.

To help you do this, I am listing five simple food challenges that you need to set in motion- starting this March. Go on, raise the bar for yourselves, and begin making a big difference to how you function with the Sampann benefits of Indian food wisdom.

Challenge 1: Focus on Immunity with Turmeric

Why: Turmeric is incredibly purifying. It is loaded with antioxidants, purifies the blood, is anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and boosts immunity and our ability to keep infections at bay. It also keeps your skin acne blemish free. All these benefits are thanks to the curcumin compound in it.

Maximize its Benefits: Source only good quality turmeric with a 3% curcumin guarantee

Challenge 2: Focus on Gut Health with Red Rice Poha

Why: Red rice poha is an easily digestible carbohydrate that powers us with energy and high-fibre for the gut. Ensuring gut health is the best route to ensure good overall health and better immunity, as 70-80% of our immunity is centered in the gut.

Maximize its Benefits: Opt for good quality packaged poha from a trusted source that is without unnecessary additives and waste matter. Prepare it with vegetables to boost its high-fibre content even further. You can even pair the poha with sprouts or eggs, then it makes for a complete meal with protein and carbohydrates.

Challenge 3: Amp up your energy with Besan and Unpolished Dals

Why: Protein deficiency is a huge problem in our country, especially among women. This can be tackled by focusing on lentils and besan (made from chana dal) – two of the best sources of protein, especially for vegetarians. It is best to eat all types of dals in rotation as different dals have different things going for them

Maximize its Benefits: Source unpolished dals and try to have at least one serving daily. Again, source packaged besan from a trusted source and made from unpolished chana dal. Begin you day with a besan cheela to give your day a protein-packed start.

Challenge 4: Catch-up on sleep with Khichdi

Why: What’s khichdi but a smart one pot dish that is complete in itself! In fact, this simple, humble dish which derives its name from the Sanskrit word ‘khicca’ has all the benefits of a “good-for-us” meal. It is low in fat, high in fibre, and loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, it is calorie-balanced too and delivers a decent amount of good quality protein. This carbohydrate and protein combination is a brilliant snooze inducer too, so have it for dinner to sleep well.

Maximize its benefits: Opt for multigrain khichdi to reap the manifold benefits of multiple grains and always go for a packaged khichdi from a trusted brand.

Challenge 5: Focus on Happiness with Chickpeas

Why: They are loaded with fibre, which fills us up more with less quantity and curbs that urge to snack. Secondly, they are packed with antioxidants – vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene (that gets converted to vitamin A in the body), and have loads of difficult-to-find manganese too. But a lesser known benefit is that they are a high tryptophan food, so they can help calm your mind and keep you happier.

Maximize its Benefits: Always source unpolished chickpeas that have all the nutrients intact to score all the benefits.

So here’s wishing you all the best as you choose to challenge your food habits for the better!

The columnist is Nutrition Expert, Tata Nutrikorner. Views expressed are the columnist’s own.*

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