Now that the Kerala government has imposed a 14.5% fat tax on unhealthy food items sold in food chains to raise awareness as well as money for preventive healthcare; here are a few healthier substitutes for all the foodies to keep your weight in control, while giving you all the pleasures of a sumptuous and delicious meal. So, why wait until the fat tax on junk food becomes an official mandate in Telangana and burn a hole in your pocket?
Fatty is not tasty
First things first; we have to stop believing that only fried, fatty food is delicious. “A bowl of oil or ghee is far from tasty. What we enjoy is the taste of spices. Cooking smart will ensure that you don’t compromise on your favourite flavours,” explains nutritionist Liza Shah. Everything that is fried can also be roasted in air fryers, so you do not have to miss out on those bhajiyas or dahi-vadas.
Follow a food time-table
“It can’t be stressed enough that you should start your day with a balanced breakfast which consists of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products to ensure fullness for the next three to four hours,” says dietitian Sohini Shah. Planning your next meal also ensures that you stick to more home cooked foods and avoid cravings. “The key is to eat healthy snacks so that you are able to nourish the body rather than adding empty calories,” she adds.
Use healthier alternatives
Nutritionist Liza Shah suggests substituting khoya with skimmed milk powder and making sweets like gajar ka halwa. “Pani puri can be baked and you can make whole wheat pizza base. White sauce for baked dishes can be made with skimmed milk and adding wheat flour instead of maida,” she adds. Healthy beverages also helps to avoid unnecessary calories. “Choosing seasonal vegetable juices, buttermilk, coconut water, low-fat milk shakes, green tea over extremely sugary coffees, aerated beverages, full fat milk mochas (which is also laden with a lot of sugar) helps keep extra fat and sugar under control,” says Sohini.
Get rid of myths and labels
‘Fat-free’ foods that are available in the market are not necessarily low-fat or fat-free, but reduced fat. “Often these low-fat items are high in sodium — which is unhealthy. Also, sugar-free chocolates are not low-fat,” opines Liza. One must never consider nutrients in isolation, but in totality. Anything available in tetra-packs is high on preservatives. Another thing to keep in mind is that no fruits contain natural fats. “Fruits are made up of sugars and are much healthier compared to white sugar, jaggery or fried foods,” says Sohini. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pinenuts, and seeds like flakes, chia and sunflower provide the healthy and essential fats.
Watch out while eating out
Always carry dry fruits and nuts with you to munch on, if you feel hungry. Avoid gravy when dining out as it is high on preservatives in most instances. “Go for clear soup without corn flour, dry vegetables (without gravy), dal made in ghee, roti instead of naan. Order just one dessert and share it between two or three people,” advises lifestyle management expert Binaifer Lalkaka. She adds that it is also a good idea to drink more water to avoid over-eating.