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. Go for it, then!
PS: Pic courtesy: Suad Eman/freedigitalphotos.net