Posted on 08/16/2011 at 05:53 PM by Madhu Gadia
My favorite way to de-stress is to hang out with friends on the weekend. The other day as soon as I walked into a party and saw all familiar faces, the sitcom Cheers song, “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they are always glad you came,” started ringing in my head. I love that song; it says it all. We spent the evening just talking, laughing and eating. Nothing memorable, nothing worth repeating, and we did not solve any world problems; it was just pure fun with only one intention—to have a good time. I have to admit, my friends keep me sane. I hope you, too, have a special place or friends who energize and get you ready for the upcoming week.
Of course, having fun with friends always involves food and as always it is important to make healthful choices. My most important goal is to make sure we eat 3 meals per day, even on weekends. It’s just too easy to avoid meals and fall into the snack-trap, as observed in The Institute of Food Technologists study, see the findings below.
Eat Your Meals First:
The Institute of Food Technologists recently reported that over 25% of our daily calories now come from snacks. Between 1977 and 2006, snacking in the American diet has grown to constitute “a full eating event,” or a fourth meal, averaging about 580 calories each day, according to Richard D. Mattes, Ph.D., professor of foods and nutrition, Purdue University. Unfortunately, most of these extra calories come from sugar and fat (empty calories) in the form of sugared beverages and pastries. With all the emphasis on eating better and making healthful choices, why are we eating so many snacks? Based on my professional experience, one of the main reasons for increased snacking is skipping meals. People often skip meals to lose weight. But that strategy rarely works. If you want lose weight or prevent weight gain, eat 3 meals per day and 1 to 2 snacks—only if hungry. Meals make you physically full, emotionally satisfied, healthier, and leaner in the long run.
During hot summer days, pay special attention to hydration. Water is the number 1 thirst quencher and is essential for all bodily functions. Drink water before, during and after exercising or spending time in the sun. And if you’re playing sports, drink 4 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes of activity. But if you are engaging in moderate or intense physical activity for one hour or longer, you may need fitness waters or sports drinks to replace electrolytes lost through sweating. The majority of the time water is the best beverage to replenish body fluids.
Ice cold beverages such as flavored coffee, soda, and fitness drinks can be very tempting on a hot day, but they can be loaded with calories. A blended coffee or a sweetened beverage can be 200 to 500 calories (based on the size and toppings). Be calorie prudent as these calories will add up quickly.
Last weekend, I went to the farmers market and bought eight different vegetables. And that evening, I made pasta primavera with fresh garlic, onions, basil, carrots, zucchini, green pepper, and tomatoes, and served it with grilled corn-on-the-cob Indian style.
As much as possible, I like to buy my vegetables (and some fruits) from the farmers market in July, August, and September. They cost a little more but are well worth the price. Not only do the fresh-picked vegetables taste better they are also higher in nutrient content. Do you know that the longer the produce sits the more nutrients are lost? The further the produce travels the longer it takes to get to the table. So, as often as you can purchase produce locally—good for you, good for the environment.
In The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking, you will find a variety of recipes for most summer vegetables. Try these quick and simple vegetable recipes and have fun testing and tasting. This month, I have also included the July recipes for your convenience.
Okra with tomatoes (Bhindi Tamatar Ki Subji)
Coconut Green Beans (Sem-Nariyal)
Seasoned Zucchini (Sukhi Lauki) (This recipe was featured in O, Oprah Magazine)
Grilled Corn (Bhutta)
Grilled Vegetables (Bhuni Subji)
Indian Ice Cream (Kulfi)
Happy and Healthy Cooking!