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Breakfast is the first meal of the day, typically consumed within 2 hours of waking up. It has been labelled as the most essential meal of the day by health professionals the world over as it provides energy and nutrients, after a long period of overnight fasting. Eat a healthy breakfast for better weight control, diabetes control, greater energy levels, protection against non-communicable diseases and more.
A traditional Indian breakfast in North India is roti or parantha with vegetables and a side of pickle and yogurt. South Indians prefer idli, dosa, uttapam and upma, the East of the country takes rice with some fish or dal, or lucchi and vegetable while Western India eats poha, dhokla, khandvi, or roti. Phew. The variety of cuisines and food choices in India is mindboggling.
Nutritionists suggest that a healthy breakfast should typically contain:
1. A whole grain cereal source: It can be incorporated to replace refined flour breads and sugary breakfast cereals. Roti can be made with whole wheat, barley, ragi or multi whole grain flour. Try a ragi idli or amaranth cheela. Make poha with flattened red rice for a change. Daliya of not just wheat but maize, ragi and barley is also available and adds variety to your bowl. While choosing ready to eat breakfast cereals, read the labels. Look for whole grains so that you get about 5gms of fiber per serving, it should not have more than 5gms of sugar/ serving ideally and no more than 200mg of sodium. Muesli makes for a better choice as compared to single grain flakes.
2. Proteins: Get yours from egg, besan, paneer, tofu, and sprouted dals. Mix 6 tsp of besan/person into the roti flour. Idli is a combination of cereal and pulse while a raw piece of paneer (30gm) can be eaten on the go. Sprouted dals can be made on the weekends and refrigerated for a convenient breakfast option. 3 eggs a week are fine, even if you have cholesterol goals to achieve.
3. Milk and milk products: All adults need at least 600ml of milk. Breakfast is a good time to drink one glass or to consume 1 bowl of dahi. These are ideal accompaniments for muesli or a multigrain breakfast cereal. Chaas is another soothing dairy drink which is great for digestion.
4. Whole fruits: Easy to eat fruits like banana, papaya, apple and other seasonal fruits should be a part of your breakfast. If you are short on time, carry it with you to eat on the way to office.
Some quick and healthy breakfast ideas:
1. Omelette with lots of vegetables like spinach and mushrooms
2. Moong dal cheela
3. Amaranth granola with fruit
4. Upma with asparagus
5. Sattu parantha(less oil)
In todays fast paced living, breakfast is a casualty because of paucity of time. Health is wealth, we shouldnt spare any effort to attain and maintain it. Eating three major meals at fixed times daily also ensures more efficient digestion and boosts digestive health. So eat your breakfast, it will keep you energetic and happy all through the day.
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