Will it be paranthas, muesli or eggs for breakfast?
Craving paranthas for breakfast but the calorie content scares you off? Or is rolling dough too cumbersome? For a generation on the go, breakfast considered the most important meal of the day, has been lost in a flurry of ‘expert tips’ doled out by health magazines and videos. It has no fixed timings and no fixed palate. If it’s muesli one day, it’s poori-subzi the next. With so many do’s and don’t where do you look for advice? Although the preferred palate for breakfast remains Indian, inertia and health fads let convenience take precedence over health benefits. We know the awful things a skipped breakfast can do to our body, but the question is of rustling up the ideal morning meal. One quick tip say, nutritionists, is to ‘strive for five.’ Include at least five grams of fibre and five grams of proteins in every breakfast. Here your options are many. The markets are flooded with a variety of canned and packaged, from readymade poha to frozen hams and sausages. There’s nothing that you can’t have. However some wise judgement on your part will help. Most fitness experts and dieticians vouch for the goodness of a freshly chopped and cooked morning meal over packaged food. Says, Honey Khanna, nutritious, Max Health Care,’ Packaged cereals have sugar granules, which can harm diabetics or weight watchers. Though Indians generally prefer to drink tea or coffee with the first meal of the day, a glass of canned juice is fast replacing traditional drinks. Packaged juice, according to Dr. Sunita Ray Chowdhary, chief nutritionist, Rockland Hospital, has empty calories; it consists of just sugar and water. Go for freshly squeezed juice. Even better is a bowl of freshly cut fruits because fruits lose their fibre content when turned into juice. If you are a hardcore muesli and oats person, take a cue from actor and fitness expert, Rahul Dev. His mom believes in serving homemade porridges which she roasts and grinds at home. When it comes to the traditional Indian breakfast, the general consensus is that it’s time consuming, oily and fatty, but tasty. It has been found through survey that Indians love to fill themselves. And not many can live without a hearty traditional breakfast, Indian or English. The newfound craving for cornflakes and sprouts is a fad created by the with it generation. Smart marketing by FMG companies can be one reason why interest in traditional Indian breakfast meals has dwindled but when it comes to the ideal breakfast, south Indian snacks of idli, dosa, upma win hands down in the fat battle. High in protein and carbohydrates, while a morning breakfast of idli-sambhar-chiku and coffee has 9.3 protein content in it, the dosa, chutney, papaya tea has 6.7 per cent proteins. Other suggestions are a glass of lassi with a bowl of sprouts or dalia. A healthy breakfast or nashta has been historically considered important to people in India. For ages, north Indians have had roti and paranthas for their nashta, accompanied by pickles and curd whereas people of western India eat dhokla and milk. South Indians mostly have idlis and dosas, generally accompanied by various chutneys served on a banana leaf. In the eastern parts, flat rice mixed with curd or milk and a dash of jaggery have been a staple diet. There are also many myths around breakfast. A common belief is that carbohydrates and proteins should not be mixed. But experts say a balanced meal must have a combination of both. Rahul Dev bursts another myth. Carbohydrates are not evil. They are harmful if taken at night when the body rests but as the only food for the brain, carbs are a must for breakfast. Balancing carbohydrates (preferably from whole grains like chapatti, bread, oats, dalia, sooji, poha, fruit and vegetables),with some protein (milk, curd, sprouts) and a little fat will do a better job of staying off hunger until lunch. Another mistake most Indians make, observes food expert, Rupali Dean is to have cereal with bread. They do not realize that cereal is bread too. This increases the load of carbohydrates in the body. Also two slices of bread do not make for a healthy Indian breakfast. It’s wholesome only if you have two slices of brown bread, egg poaches, sausages and milk, she says. Beware of low quality brown bread which actually bread coated in caramelized sugar. Try variations. Make stuffed chapatti instead of paranthas. Use five grams of white butter or fresh cream instead of oil. Have it with dahi (protein) to balance the carbohydrate. For options, try cheelas made with besan, sooji and a lot of vegetables. Idli-sambhar, poha, vegetable Dalia and porridges are considered complete meals in themselves. The idea is to mix traditional and modern food for a calorie and time conscious generation. Chef Rajiv Variyath of Radisson, MBD, Noida, recommends recipes that are adaptable. Look beyond, idli, poha, dalia. Try Pongal (rice boiled with vegetables) from Tamilnadu, fluffy Appams (rice pancakes) with potato stew from Karnataka and Pesarattu (moong dal dosa) from Andhra Pradesh. It’s time to make room for experiments in kitchen.