How to create a heart-healthy Indian diet plan during the holidays


New Delhi: It’s that time of the year again – perhaps, a special time for all of us to spend with loved ones and indulge in some mouth-watering Christmas feasts. It’s also a time for overseas workers to head home for holidays. But, the festive season can pose a huge challenge for individuals concerned about maintaining their heart health. Yet, you can make holiday feasts happy and healthy – and yes, you can do it without a lot of effort.

It would be wise to assess the heart health value of what’s on your plate, especially around the holidays when most of us are more likely to overeat. This would mean planning well-ahead of time, enjoying festive treats in smaller portions, and make healthy substitutions where you can.

So, how do you plan your meal to keep your heart healthy?

To help you stay fit and mindful as you spend holidays with your family and friends, talked to Dr D Prabhakaran, an internationally renowned cardiologist and epidemiologist, director, CCCI and vice president (Research and Policy), Public Health Foundation of India. One may use this Indian diet sample plan, designed by Dr Prabhakaran, as an example of heart-healthy eating. This nutritionally balanced meal plan (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) contains 1,600 calories a day, and is suitable for both men and women who want to keep their heart healthy.

Sample menu: Northern India

Vegetarian Non-vegetarian Bed Tea 1 cup tea/ coffee 1 cup tea/ coffee Breakfast 2 rotis.(wheat, bajra, maize, missi) with 1 cup vegetable curry/ dal OR 2 stuffed roti. 1 cup tea/coffee/milk 2 rotis (wheat, bajra, maize, missi) with 1 egg white OR 2 stuffed roti. 1 cup tea/coffee/milk Mid-morning 1 fruit 1 fruit Lunch 2 rotis (whole wheat), ½ katori rice, 1 katori dal, 1 katori seasonal vegetable, 1 katori salad, 1 katori low-fat curd 2 rotis (whole wheat), ½ katori rice, 1 katori dal, 1 katori seasonal vegetable, 1 katori salad, 1 katori low-fat curd Evening 1 cup tea/coffee 1 cup roasted snacks 1 cup tea/coffee 1cup roasted snacks Dinner 2 roti (whole wheat), 1 katori dal/ paneer curry, 1 katori veg curry 1 katori salad 1 seasonal fruit (100-150gms) 2 roti (whole wheat), 2 pieces of (baked/ roasted) fish/chicken, 1 katori veg curry, 1 katori salad, 1 seasonal fruit (100-150gms) Bedtime 1 cup low-fat milk 1 cup low-fat milk

[1 Katori = 150 ml. The above diet gives Calories: 1615 Kcal, Proteins: 56 gms, CHO: 257 gms, Fat: 40 gms]

Foods that fuel your cardiac diet

Breakfast options: Sweet/salted dahlia, porridge, wheat bread sandwich, chidwa, roti, paratha made with minimum vegetable oil with (any dal/vegetable curry), sattu roti/ panni.

Salad options: Onion, cucumber, tomato, radish, cabbage, carrot, sprouted dal flavored with lemon juice, spices and condiments, low-fat curd instead of oil/cream-based salad dressings.

Snacks options: Nuts like groundnut (roasted/soaked), almonds, walnut, dried figs, dates, puffed rice (bhel puri), roasted chhana, any fruit, and baked samosa/patties. Fried snacks like homemade pakoras, potato chips, samosas, kachori, litti, fried namkeens can be taken occasionally.

Sweetmeat options: All sweets to be made in low-fat milk without using condensed milk. Sweets made with ghee to be taken occasionally. Sweets made with vanaspati to be completely avoided.

We hope the above-suggested tips would be of great help to you and your family in creating a heart-healthy meal plan.

Happy Holidays!

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