March 2011 eRecipes

Blog: Cooking with Madhu

March 2011 eRecipes

 

March 2011
National Nutrition Month

Dear Madhu,

March is one of my favorite months, primarily because it should be the end of bad weather. The skeptics argue with me and remind me that it can snow as late as April. And I remind them that “it can” but the snow won’t last; basically the worst is over. Maybe I am delusional or it’s just the power of positive thinking but a little optimism works for me. After being cooped up all winter I am looking forward to longer days, daffodils and long walks in the park. Have a great spring!

Color Your Plate Healthy:
March is National Nutrition Month, an annual education and information campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The 2011 theme is “Eat Right with Color.” The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Your body needs a variety of nutrients and the best way to get them is by eating a variety of foods everyday. The colorful vegetables and fruits provide you with a “pot of gold” in terms of nutrients. If you consciously eat purple eggplant, blueberries, green leafy vegetables, red tomatoes, oranges, and yellow squashes, you’ll easily supply yourself with full range of vitamins and minerals, as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants. Many of these vital nutrients are only found in plant sources. Do you eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables everyday, as recommended? Be mindful and eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables everyday.

The Magic of Breakfast:
I am sure you’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast, as the word says is breaking the overnight fast. Eating a good breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day for both adults and children. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast do better in school and adults feel and perform better at work. Adults, in quest of weight loss often skip breakfast, but studies have shown that skipping meals, especially breakfast, actually makes it difficult to lose weight. Eating something within couple of hours of waking up revs up your metabolism and thus helps you feel better and lose weight more effectively. Here are some of the most common statements I hear from my breakfast skipping clients, “I’m not hungry when I wake up,” “I don’t like breakfast foods,” or the most drastic statement “I will puke if I eat so early in the morning.” All I can say is eat or drink something within couple hours of waking up and try to make it as healthy as possible. It can be as simple as a piece of toast with coffee, a bowl of cereal, or even left over lasagna if that appeals to you. For more breakfast ideas and a cereal recipe see Power Up with Breakfast,” from ADA.

March Recipes:
The majority of mornings, I’m in a hurry and pretty much eat the same breakfast, something easy and quick. But then on weekends, I love to make a different and more substantial breakfast. I love Indian breakfast foods. They are invariably savory and spicy. This month I am sharing three of my family’s favorite breakfasts. I make Uppama (Cream of Wheat Snack) when I am in a hurry, it is easy to prepare and filling. Aloo Paratha (Potato Stuffed Flatbread) requires more time but are fabulously delicious. And when I have company and want to impress them with my culinary skills, I make the Bharva Cheele (Stuffed Mung Bean Pancakes). They take some planning and time but are well worth the effort. They look and taste gourmet and are sure to wow your guests. I will typically serve any of these dishes with beverages such as tea and/or a milk/yogurt shake (lassi).

Cream of Wheat Snack (Uppama)

Potato Stuffed Flatbread (Aloo Paratha)
Stuffed Mung Bean Pancakes (Bharva Cheele)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Sincerely,
Madhu Gadia
 

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