Lockdown Nutrition: Keeping Healthy during the COVID19 pandemic

Lockdown Nutrition: Keeping Healthy during the COVID19 pandemic

Your body needs nutrition during the lockdown

In these times of uncertainty, when we are locked down ,we tend to binge eat ,either out of boredom or out of stress .Keeping ourselves fit is of utmost importance to prevent any untoward infections affecting us .Remaining hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet and boosting immunity should be our goals 

A Balanced Diet

Now coming to balanced diet -since we are locked down our activities are limited, carbohydrate requirements therefore  need to be restricted. Complex carbohydrates in the form of  whole grains,  cereals ,corn, root vegetables will provide you with the necessary energy and fibre and keep you full for longer time. Combining these carbs along with pulses will take care of a major part of the macro requirement of the day. Now isn’t this what are traditional Indian meals have always been?  Dal chawal (rice and tur dal or moong dal) idli -dosa (rice and urad dal), Rajma chawal ,Chole parathe – has been our traditional cuisine. 

Going a step further ,since we do not have domestic help at hand -a pot meal is an interesting twist which will make our life easy .With limited resources at hand , pot meal is not only easy to prepare ,requires less preparation time and we will also have lesser utensils to wash and lesser serving plates to clean later .

We are all aware of the humble mung daal khichdi which we normally have during an illness -easy to digest and served with a teaspoon of desi ghee it enhances the nutritional value multifold .Variations of this khichdi from various regions could be tried like the pancha kuti style Himachali khichdi or the Bengal style khichuri aar labra .Alternately one could get creative and make use of split moong ,matki or masoor sprouts and combine it with white rice, brown rice , broken wheat ,Bajra ,Ragi or barnyard millet .Make it more flavourful by adding whole spices and vegetables like spinach, carrot, green peas ,cauliflower , mushrooms and you have your daily bowl of wholesome nutrition .

Kid’s Nutrition 

With kids at your heels, involving them in kitchen activities will be more fun for them. Further stretch your imagination and explore more options -paneer matar masala khichdi ,methi matar pulao ,bisi beli bath ,Mexican rice (with rajma and corn) or thai rice with coconut milk and vegetables will surely have your kids smacking their lips.

 Adding vegetables into the pot will not only add micronutrients and fibre but will also negate the need for raw salads.  Raw salads are best avoided for now to lower the risk of infections. Garnish the khichadi with a dallop of ghee and serve it piping hot along with fresh dahi or kadhi ( yogurt based gravy) or buttermilk  and you have your daily quota of probiotics .

Vegetables could also be added to the dosa batter – not only will it enhance the nutritional value but also make it more colourful .Spinach dosa, beet dosa are in great demand at my place .Idli batter could be stored for a couple of days in the fridge and provides a quick option for mid meal snack-  uttapam ,appam or  paniyaram ,chilly idli or idli chaat are all time favorites, irrespective of the age of your kid.

 Speaking about chaat, have the date and tamarind chutney as well as the mint chutney ready in your fridge. Puffed rice or dry roasted poha provide a quick base for an instant bhel. Toss in some  steamed sprouts steamed corn along with chopped onions and tomatoes and your chatpata ,mouth-watering bhel is ready . 

Thalipeet is another healthy wholesome option . Adding grated carrot / beet / bottle gourd / cucumber enhances it’s taste as well as nutrition .

A mixture of whatever ata is available at home , including soaked poha , besan or oats can be tried .

Hygiene and it’s importance

One cannot help but overemphasize the importance of hygiene now than ever before. Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before storing or refrigeration and  frequent hand washing should be meticulously followed .Opt for fruits whose skin can be peeled like oranges bananas and melons. Apples, Chikoos and Grapes can be thoroughly washed and added to kheer or Shera or any other desert .This will not only lower the risk of contamination but also decrease the need for additional sugar . Beat the heat with fresh fruit juice popsicles made of watermelon ,orange juice  or limbu sharbat and your kids will not ask for any icecream! It will also ensure their daily Vitamin C requirement.

It is natural to feel stressed and anxious with the uncertainty of these testing times .Food is a natural stress buster especially sweets – keep a stock of bite-sized chocolates ,dates ,raisins or Rajgira Chikki to take care of sweet cravings at the same time one can easily control the portion size. 

Sipping luke warm water frequently will keep us hydrated as well as relieve any throat soarness. Squeeze  in a lime or add amla or kokam extract to boost immunity. Daily home exercise and adequate sleep will ensure we sail through this comfortably. 

Let us all  stay home , stay healthy and stay safe .