Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Nutrition Basics



Proper nutrition is arguably the most important factor in good health. The body requires vitamins and nutrients, which are the building blocks for energy, growth, repair and reproduction to function properly. In this day and age, we are bombarded with new information on nutrition each day. Fields of diet and nutrition are areas of evolving research but there are some basic concepts you can keep in mind. By knowing these basics, you will be better equipped to sort through nutrition research and dietary advice.

Basic five food groups are:

Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Protein (Meat/ fish/beans), Milk and milk products.

Health is a result of cumulative effect of variety of foods in diet from every level of the food pyramid. Each of the basic food group supplies different nutrients, vitamins and minerals, provides optimal nutrition needed. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, eat whole grains, be physically active for 150 minutes per week, reduce salt and refined carbohydrates, and decrease saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, trans-fatty acids, in diet.

To make it simple, let’s look at the Idaho plate method, which ideally is for diabetic patients but it can be used for weight loss and optimal nutrition as well.

Take a 9-inch plate and divide the plate in half and two quarters. Vegetables should take up half the plate, starch one quarter and protein one quarter. Dairy and fruits are cup-sized portions on the sides.

Veggies are eliminated for breakfast. Vegetables for lunch and dinner (variety of non-starchy vegetables such as cruciferous vegetables and green leafy veggies).

For starch portion, whole grains, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, and oats is recommended.

Fruits (seasonal, locally grown firm and deep/dark color fruits are powerhouse of vitamins and phytochemicals).

Meat, fish and beans (plant-based protein source is recommended like tofu, legumes, pulses).

Milk (skim milk, 1 or 2 percent).

Your ticket to good health is based on whole food plant-based diet, proven to show reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes type II. The Idaho plate method teaches you portion control and incorporates a variety of foods in your meal. At any given instance, for maintaining weight and optimal gut health, eat food that fits in two palms cupped together.

It is often possible to substitute wheat flour or rice for oats or any other healthy substitutes without altering the taste in traditional cuisines and increasing the nutrients and protein content of that particular dish. Let’s take an example of the traditional all-time favorite dish khichri (khichdi). Use quinoa instead of rice.


Quinoa ¼ cup
Yellow mung lentil ¼ cup
Oil 2 tsp
Curry leaves 5-6
Mustard and cumin seeds 1 tsp
Turmeric ½ tsp
Salt 1 tsp or per taste.
Ginger 1 tsp
Green chili diced 2 tsp
Veggies carrots, corn, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, or broccoli, diced ½ cup.

Mix quinoa and yellow lentils in equal proportion, rinse the dry mixture with water, add 1cup water, set it aside and let it soak for about an hour. Heat oil, temper mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves, then add ginger and green chili. Add any veggies of your choice like carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, bell pepper and sauté. Pour the tadka into the quinoa lentil mixture and cook it in a pressure cooker for about 1 whistle or 7-10 minutes.

Quinoa khichdi has approximately two times more protein and twice as much fiber than traditional khichdi.

To our health!

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at swarayog@gmail.com

homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontact uscontentclasses/places of worship newseditorialhealthimmigration
Real ESTATEfinanceayurvedatechno cornermoviesfashionmusic/dancebooksyogascene to be seenhome improvementastrology
Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Getaway Motoring Cuisine Astrology Home Improvement Books Yoga Music and Dance Fashion Movies Techno Corner Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Classes/Places of Worship Content Find us on Facebook!