Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nutrition For A Fast Paced Life

For my next post,I thought I'd invite someone to write a "Guest article" for Bonne Nutrition. So ladies and gentlemen,please welcome Ms.Smitha Suresh, a very good friend and also a former colleague of mine who has a pulse on the current situation (I am afterall on a "mommy-break" from active consulting) .
Ms.Smitha Suresh
Hello everybody. Let me introduce myself.
Having completed my MSc in Food Science and Nutrition from Mysore University, I did my Dietetic internship at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore. After that I worked with a nutrition consultancy in Bangalore called NICHE, where I mainly counseled employees of the Software and BPO industry. Incidentally, Sweta Uchil-Purohit was the Manager at NICHE at that time.
In 2006, I made a choice to move back to Mysore, and am now working as a freelance Nutrition Consultant. I also consult at Flexcity-one of the most reputed and oldest gyms at Mysore.
Here's my take on Nutrition as I see it nowadays:
Nutrition For a Fast Paced Life
"Do you find yourself cutting corners when it comes to eating-time saving foods like Maggi for breakfast, a quick salad for lunch, a tasty bite in the evening for your growling stomach, ready-to-eat foods or fast foods (pizzas or burgers) for dinner?
Even if you have any of these foods only once or twice a week,it negatively impacts your body.
Sure,these save time and energy,but what is not obvious is that these foods are draining your health. Your health seems "OK" now,but have you given a thought to the quality of your life even five years from now? Being even five kilos overweight,having a waistline in excess of 34 inches for men and 31.5 inches for women,increases risk of developing Heart disease, Diabetes and even some forms of Cancer.
So,how do you fit in a nutrition plan into your busy schedule? The good news is that it's very simple.
Breakfast is a must-right from your school going kid to your in-law's at home,everyone needs a healthy breakfast! If you skip it, you'll experience a dip in your energy levels by mid-morning,loss of concentration and productivity and also drowsiness. Habitually skipping breakfast can also lead to weight gain. Oats, plain cornflakes, plain wheat flakes or muesli with low-fat milk and fruits are great,fast,easy and healthy breakfast options.
Sweta has already covered everything that I would say on what to eat at each meal and for snacks in her previous posts. The only thing I'm adding is, if you are packing lunch then, try kichidi with veggies or a vegetable pulav with either channa or egg. Or,be creative and try a combination of vegetables with whole or split grams/lentils(like cabbage+channa sabzi or palak +moong curry) along with phulkas or dosas. Add a raitha to any of the above and you have a complete,balanced meal. Pack a carrot,tomato or a fruit for more fibre.
Dinner needs to be lighter than lunch in terms of the amount or quantity of the cereal item(rice/chapathies) and should be eaten at least two hours before going to bed.
If it helps, try planning your day's menu starting with the timings for the meals and what you are going to have at each meal. You could even plan a week's menu in advance and shop accordingly. That way,you don't have to think too much about what to cook and what to buy,but please remember, never,never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach!!You'll just end up sorely tempted by(and picking) all the junk food on the shelves. Try shopping after you've had a good meal and then you'll be able to congratulate yourself at the end on your power to resist!!
Carry a bottle of water to work,that way you'll be aware of how much water you drink. Make sure to drink at least 1.5-2.5 litres of water in a day.
Tea or coffee twice a day won't harm you,but if you are taking more than that-the stimulant compounds in these beverages will add to your stress levels,not bring them down and remember to keep the sugar to just one teaspoon/cup.
Lastly, EXERCISE-it should be vigorous and something you enjoy. In addition, be active throughout the day.You could take a quick brisk walk around your office building before lunch or in the evening, use the stairs whenever possible or even hit the gym during your free time.
30-45minutes of vigorous exercise at least five times a week will help to keep you at your normal weight, energy levels balanced throughout the day, and also reduces stress and risk of developing lifestyle related diseases later on in life.
Being healthy is a choice that you make. You can begin by simply being aware of the health related choices you are already making everyday. Become aware of what you are putting in your mouth-the experience of taste is fleeting. Your body has to deal with whatever you eat.
Don't take it for granted!!


sangeeta said...

wonderful words shwetha,
being healthy is a choice that you make.........don't take your body for granted......
quite inspiring.......

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