Nutrition! - Rachna cooks


This is undoubtedly one of my favorite topics. Today, I am going to talk about women’s role in nutrition. In my mother’s generation, most women were homemakers and were brought up to be good wives — great at cooking, sewing, knitting and housekeeping. In our generation, I was brought up just like my brother, concentrating on my studies, being career conscious. It wasn’t drilled in me that I should learn cooking or housekeeping. But luckily, after marriage due to my husband’s love for food and my own passion in cooking, I did take on to cooking in a big way. Channels like Food Network and the internet helped a lot in culling recipes, and I also read a lot about nutrition.

Cooking is often left to maids or eating out due to lack of time. In our career priorities, looking after kids and doing sundry other things, kitchen often becomes an area of neglect. Plus, the tantrums thrown by kids who demand yummy food like street food or junk food and refuse to touch bland home food drives us up the wall.

Despite these constraints, I believe that a woman is responsible for the health of her family. She must find time and invest time in planning healthy, nutritious meals. If she cannot cook herself, she can employ a cook and then teach the cook how to cook nutritious, tasty food. To make tasty food, it is not essential to use too much oil. Use good seasonings and fresh spices and non-stick cookware please. You can replicate most of the chaats on the streets at home and ensure health and hygiene. I make bhel puri, panni puri, aloo tikki, chhole bhature, pav bhaji etc. all at home. Pastas, pizzas and noodles made at home taste as good if not better and are much more hygienic and healthy when done at home. Instead of fried chicken, try baked chicken strips. Substitute the cream with milk in dal makhani and butter chicken. Put kasoori methi for added flavor. Trust me all these recipes don’t require too much of slogging just a little bit of good planning and innovation. And, no matter what, please provide variety in your food. The best food made the same way everyday is unappetizing. Indian cooking has so much variety, utilize it.

While packing food for my children for school, I remember that when eaten it will be cold. Hence, I prefer packing roti-sabzi, poori-sabzi, idlis as compared to rice-dal, dosas which taste awful when cold. Kids can afford to eat home-made fried stuff like pooris, mathris, homemade laddoos etc. We did that while growing up. Unless your kids have a weight problem, they will do fine if served such stuff one or two times a week. What we do at home is to make pooris only for kids as we wish to protect our waistlines. Also the pooris are made out of wholewheat flour and not maida, even pizza bases can be made at home with whole wheat flour. Cooking parathas in ghee make them very flavorful for kids so go ahead and give it to them. Try vegetable raita made with curd and grated veggies like carrots and cucumber. Most kids like them spiked with chaat masala, jeera powder, and black salt. I have noticed that they enjoy tangy chutneys like the tomato chutney I make with dosa. Now that spices up foods like dosa or idli for them. I for one don’t like sending sambhar to school. Stuffed parathas are another hit with my children especially the gobhi, aloo and methi ones. It doesn’t take much time if you have the stuffing and dough ready at night. I also like sending cheese tomato wholewheat sandwich that tastes good cold. You can put mayo-mustard or cheesespread or whatever your child enjoys. A bit of planning can make mornings stress free and also give nutritious dabbas tasty for kids.

I hope these tips are of some use to all of you. There are many such twists we can incorporate in food, which keep it healthy yet yummy.Β  Go for it, then!

PS: Pic courtesy: Suad Eman/

23 thoughts on “Nutrition!

  1. My thoughts exactly !! I sometimes wonder why I even went for a PG program when I absolutely belief that a child needs his mother first and secondly homecooked food.For a home to be running smoothly what is required is good home cooked balanced food which gives energy and …also satisfies the taste buds.BTW the other day I was getting bored and so looked into ur earliest posts. My God your writing has evolved so much. I am not saying that it was bad, it was always good but now it has a finesse.

  2. @bbsearchingself So, we agree on the nutritious food that is tasty too :). Hey and am glad that my posts perk you up when you are bored :). I actually haven’t gone back and read my posts, but I am sure that with passage of time and the fact that I have been writing professionally too, must have made my writing better. Thanks for the compliment, btw.@Talha Thank you. I hope I have not increased her work by this :).

  3. I have to admit that I have always loved cooking and cook our meals from scratch every night. I have always paid alot of attention to good fresh ingredients … Lent starts next week and we always give up eating meat for the six weeks – it means alot of extra effort but its worth it.

  4. I agree with you, we only have to instill good eating habits, especially children should be given good wholesome food, which are also tasty, so that they can continue eating right even when the grow up.When I make panner butter masala there is no butter in it, and yet it taste very good. I have also started making cakes without eggs, because being a vegetarian I can’t stand the smell, and I don’t substitute it with condensed milk too, I make cakes with multi grain whole wheat and olive oil, honey and lots of fruits and nuts, they come out really yummy. Luckily I found a food site that specialises on good healthy tasty food.You can send dosas and idly to your children, because we south Indians love dosas and idly packed with oil (sesame)and chilli powder, which is basically a powder with dhals,groundnut, sesame seeds and kadi patha. It is so yummy,once you know the recipe for that make it and brush it on the idlys an dosas liberally, so that when they have it in school it will be really soft and soaked in the oil and the powder. Just writing about it is making my mouth water.And using hand pounded rice , red rice and brown is also very good for health,one can mix a little white rice with these if the color is not liked by some people.How things have changed, in our younger days we used to eat anything without worrying about weight, and eat as much as we wanted, but now we have to restrict so much, and yet are losers in the battle of the bulge.Sorry for such long comment, but your post is so good, that I couldn’t resist writing.

  5. @Talha I agree soch hi badalni hai :).@Bikram You and I have to eat healthy and exercise. But the chances are that if you cook at home instead of eating out or eat packaged food then you are, in fact, doing wonders for your weight and other parameters. That is why, I said that the heavy-duty calorie dishes could be tweaked to not compromise on the taste and yet be healthy. There are so many such recipes available these days.

  6. @Jane And, that is so wonderful. I am sure your kids must be raving about mom’s wonderful food just like my son’s tell me :). Good job, keep up the good work.@Rama You and I really think very similarly. You are doing a wonderful job at innovating with your recipes. Do share with me the recipe of your chutney powder and I will try it. My sons cannot eat too much chilly, so can we cut down on the chilly quotient. I would love to try it with dosas. Idlis, I do send to school but with coconut chutney, which my husband makes really well :). I heard that using whole urad for idlis really ups the nutrition, but the color and taste altered, which was rejected by kids :).Sambar due to the concern of spilling is avoided being sent to school. Yes, we have to avoid eating a lot of calories and make sure that we exercise a lot. If we are conscious about healthy eating and tricks to reduce the calories keeping the taste and health factor intact, then half the battle is won :). Remember to exercise regularly! I love long comments and especially your comments because you always add so much value with your words. Thank you!

  7. I have been trying to include nutritious food items into my food, and the blogging world.. esp the cookery blogs do a great deal in helping me get there without much effort.

  8. Very practical point – selecting school snacks that would taste good even cold! Stealing it!I grew up with a significant amount of fried food, especially in the Summer season, but it was always well balanced with fresh veggies and yogurt! The last bit is the key! Bottom line – I can’t wait to try your cooking! πŸ˜‰

  9. @Aathira yes, you need to be extra careful now that you are expecting. I remember that I was really pampered and let go and piled on so many kilos on my slim frame when I was pregnant the first time. It took me more than a year to get rid of it. Obviously, I was wiser the second time around :). And, you are right, there are so many wonderful resources available these days that make the job of cooking easier.

  10. @IGBG And, we Indians are so heavy on fried stuff. It did not matter when we were growing up because we were slim. But, now we have to be careful :).Sure, it is a deal. Whenever we meet, I will cook for you :).

  11. I just love good food, it’s one of my biggest turn ons. For now, my mother makes me yummy dishes, dishing out twists and innovations every time. I always wonder how she does it. The day i step into the shoes of a mother, I’ll keep all what you said in mind. Thank you Rachna πŸ™‚

  12. Thanks for sharing these tips. Infact, ur mention of homemade foods make makes me homesick. Nowadays, I mostly depend on the junk foods available in hotels..

  13. @sm Yes, everyone longs for home food and mom’s food in particular.@Tomz Thanks! I had to suffer that as well when I was doing my MBA surviving on canteen food or junk food sold on the streets.

  14. @Jon Yes, of course, the taste in food is all related to your talent of being innovative, cutting down the unhealthy elements and yet keeping the food tasty.

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