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LOW CALORIE COOKING
It is important to have a set of non-stick pans to cook various dishes. You would require a very small kadhai or wok for tempering, a larger wok, a shallow frying pan and perhaps a deep saucepan for curried dishes. (Remember non-stick pans are generally not put on high heat, as they are thinner and heat faster.) A pressure cooker is essential to cook food fast and preserve vitamins.
For instance, instead of frying foods, you can dry roast or braise them. When tempering dals/beans you can either dry roast the tempering ingredients or use upto 1 tsp. oil to stir-fry them. Similarly, while making curries, onions may be braised - just add a sprinkling of water or stock to lightly brown them, or cook them in a microwave oven, or even boil them to prevent a raw onion taste in the dish. Alternatively, onions can be fried using very little oil in a non-stick pan. If you do not use onions in your cooking and are following recipes that use them, try tomato puree or roasted plain flour to thicken curries and gravies. Coconut should not be used because it is high in saturated fats. So are items like nuts, malai, cream, poppy seeds etc.
To turn a high-calorie dish into a low-calorie one just requires you to think differently. Usually dalis boiled and then tempered (vaghar, tadka, etc) with fried spices. Instead of doing this, add your onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic (whatever you generally use) to the dal when you are about to boil it. Then the tempering can be made with very little oil, whether it is jeera, rai or even just red chilli powder.
All kinds of koftas, which are fried, can be baked instead. Either you can bake the item in a pan and, when done, cut it into squares and put the curry on top or you can make roundels of the mixture, put them on a baking sheet or tray and bake.
The microwave oven also makes for easier fatless cooking in many cases. Some dishes are more conveniently cooked in a microwave. In addition, of course you can make dishes in larger quantity and freeze them for later use (if you have a deep freezer). These can then be thawed and reheated in the microwave oven.
There are some products available in the West that can help you reduce the fat in your food. For instance, a cooking spray is handy for baked dishes and dry cooked dishes. Non-fat milk, fat and sugar free foods, low-cal margarines, egg substitute and other diet specific foods may add variety to the diet.
Try and use skim milk if you don't like the taste of reconstituted powdered skim milk. Heat whichever milk you get (cow's milk has less fat content than standard or whole milk) and refrigerate it for 24 hours. Remove the malai from the surface, strain the rest of the milk and use. Curd, too, should be made from this milk. If you find the curd is on the thin side, thicken the milk with some skim milk powder.
When making sweet dishes, use artificial sweetener wherever possible. Or use part sugar and part sweetener. You can use the product you are familiar with, saccharin, aspartame, either liquid or tablets. In any case, it is better for health to avoid sweets: substitute with lots of fresh fruit which are healthier and lower in calories than say for instance halwa, ice-cream or other high calorie desserts.
Remember the greater the variety of food you eat, the more balanced a mix you will get and the healthier you will be as well.
Reeta, thats a very good idea . although there is problem of electricity in India but we dont have problem in Delhi and more so i live in Defence establishment we have uninterpreted supply of electricity.
i generally keep frozen food in the home
Rekha - I totally agree that it is the small changes that will add up. Not only are they easier to incorporate but before long, they become the norm instead of something new :-)
One thing that I have been doing is cooking larger quantities of food (e.g. dal, cholles, rajma) in my slow cooker and then I freeze half of it. Then if I am not in the mood to cook on some other day or something comes up, then I can just pull it out of the freezer and defrost in the microwave. Not sure that this would work in India since electricity is not as reliable but it definitely helps to avoid eating take out or going to restaurant and eating potentially unhealthy foods or paying more money and saves a lot of time!
Power up your walk
It improves athletic performance and eases lower back pain, according to a 2008 review from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. You can easily slip in a little core conditioning while you're walking, says Michelle Demus, program director at New York's Pure Yoga studio. Take a deep inhalation, then, with a strong exhalation, pull in your navel toward your spine; hold for a count of five, and release. Do this 10 times while you're walking, take a short rest, and do two more sets. Another way to add core conditioning to your walk is to throw in a few lunges: Keeping the spine long and abdominals engaged, step about 3 feet forward with the right foot; the knee must stay directly above the ankle; and draw the left foot up, so you're balancing on the right leg for a moment. Repeat with the other foot.
we all have heard that small changes over a period of time can bring big results. here we can write what are the small changes you have made to bring big results.
i am very fond of paranthas so instead of stopping to eat them i have started eating stuffed chapatti with vegetables(no potato)which saves total 150- 200 cals in breakfast .
Edited by: REKHAKAKR at: 2/23/2009 (23:41)