What to eat when
1. Need to be alert
If your energy levels plummet in the mid-afternoon, a quick snack can help revive you.
Fruits contain sugar which gives you a quick boost. Various studies have shown that Potassium and Magnesium packed fruits like Bananas are a great snack choice before exams due to their ability to promote concentration.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts enhance focus while dark chocolates are packed with all the punch required.
Green tea, Water and Fish also have energy boosting qualities to help us avoid sluggishness and make us alert
2. Ready to work out
Before hitting the gym, you can have
- Oats- Oatmeal is known to settle well and a great source of energy too!
- Bananas- Again this low cost, whole yearly available fruit!! They contain fructose sugar to provide enough energy.
- Peanut butter sandwich- A whole-wheat bread and peanut butter sandwich can be a great choice if you are working out on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Yogurt- Because of its probiotic value, curds are a great option to consume before an intense workout. However, you can make your own meal by adding fresh fruits, honey and nuts to give you a quick energy boost.
- Scrambled eggs and veggies- Go ahead and use the whole egg. They are packed with good quality protein to boost muscle building
- Energy bars
3. Hungry after exercise
If you want to think about fueling up while you are cooling down, the below mentioned foods can be of a great help.
- Water- Hydrate yourself with enough water to avoid those muscle cramps.
- Quinoa- Toss on some quinoa salad (Can use leftover quinoa too)
- Whole grain wraps- Add all greens and beans, roll up and enjoy
- Power smoothies- Blend in some curd, fresh fruits, ice and your favorite nut butters.
- Scrambled eggs- Easy one-skillet meals with whole egg, veggies and few spices sprinkled.
- Brown rice- Brown rice with your favorite salsa or even chicken curry
- Banana with 1 tbsp nut butter
- Foods like Sweet Potatoes, Low fat Chocolate Milk, Fruits or Fresh fruit juices
4. Need to hydrate
Always remember, fluids from fruits and veggies are more hydrating than plain water.
- Watermelon and muskmelon –1 cup fresh watermelon contains about half a cup of water, in addition to vitamin C, A and magnesium too.
- Oranges- They contain 88% water. The water and fibre content of oranges promotes feeling of fullness
- Soups- Soups and broths are very nutritious and contribute a decent amount to your daily hydration needs.
- Buttermilk- Buttermilk is very hydrating and great for your Gut health
- Coconut water- Along with rehydration, coconut water can be helpful for exercise recovery due to high electrolyte content (Mohamed Saat et al. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002 Mar.) Coconut water contains almost 95% water
- Cucumbers- Cucumbers are made up almost entirely of water along with Vitamin K, Potassium and magnesium.
- Other foods like Lettuce, Zucchini, Celery, Tomatoes, Bell pepper, Cabbage, Cauliflower
5. Want to stay calm
From balancing hormones to fueling your body, below mentioned foods can help your body calm down and deal with stress and anxiety head-on.
- Yogurt and berries- Not only an easy to make breakfast (Yes, I mean 15 min of that extra sleep), but yogurt helps get a dose of brain benefiting probiotics and help balance mood levels.
- Green tea- Beat those morning “Stresses” with a cozy cup of green tea.
- Almonds- Heart healthy almonds support brain functioning by balancing neurotransmitters, nixing stress and making ourselves calm.
- Dark chocolate and chamomile tea- Chocolates have plenty of feel-good hormones. Chamomile tea is also known to reduce stress and calm you
- Omega 3 rich foods like Flax seeds, Rajma, fish- These foods are associated with decreasing inflammation and are anxiety fighters
6. Busy day ahead
Many people have a hectic schedule and often lack time to sit down and have a proper meal.
As a working woman, I myself used to rush through meals, eat processed foods to save on my precious time.
These poor eating habits lead to a feeling of tiredness, increases stress and weaken the immune system too!!
If you are among those who have a busy day ahead, you can pack some fruits, vegetables or nuts to eat during the day hours.
Some quick and healthy snack ideas can be whole-wheat bread peanut butter sandwich, an Oatmeal with fresh milk, rolled oats, fruits, nuts and a drizzle of honey.
7. Under the weather
When you don’t feel well, food might be the last thing on your mind.
While you shouldn’t force food down, it is important to stay hydrated and encourage healthy foods when possible. Some ideas for what to eat if you are under the weather-
- Hot soups (vegetable or chicken broth) - Yes, these hot beverages are soothing and a nutritious way to stay hydrated.
Disclaimer- Soups I mean here refer to Home made fresh ones
- Ginger- Not only flavor, but Ginger can also be anti-inflammatory. You can add fresh grated ginger to Soups, milk and not to forget, the traditional “Adhrak wali chai”
- Garlic- Yes, Garlic helps you to both avoid illness and recover faster when sick. You can add garlic to soups, Hot sabji, Dal, or even khichdi’s.
- Bananas or Apple- Easy to eat, bland in flavor and decent enough in calories, Bananas are a part of BRATCK diet to treat diarrhea or nausea. Apples even are mild, high in fibre and provide electrolytes when sick.
- Turmeric- Turmeric have great anti-inflammatory properties and great for cough and cold. You can add turmeric to hot milks or herbal teas
8. Feel bloated
- Cucumbers- At 95% water, these refreshing green vegetables are one of the ultimate ways to eat your way to avoid bloating. Cucumbers help flush the GI tract, thus increasing the passage of food thus avoiding constipation, gases and bloat.
- Yogurt- Rich in Probiotics, yogurt helps improve digestive health. It is also rich in Potassium, thus helping combat bloating.
- Bananas- This high potassium fruit has great bloat reducing appeal!
- Green tea- green tea is known to reduce inflammation in your digestive tract by keeping your gut health in a fine form
- Coriander and mint- There is a good reason why our grandmas might have told us to switch to peppermint tea to settle an upset stomach. Coriander also rich in potassium helps throw away excess water from the stomach.
- Ginger- I am sure, you all must have heard of Ginger ale/kashaya to ease stomach aches!! This is because of its ability to help stomach release gases and cut down the unwanted bloating.
9. Before a night out
Eating a meal rich in protein, fats and carbohydrates helps fill you up and makes alcohol get absorbed more slowly.
- Bananas- Again the high potassium content of bananas is required to refill the lost potassium after alcohol drinking. Also, foods like Spinach, potatoes, avocado, milk, lentils and yogurt are great to snack on before drinking.
- Water- Alcohol is a diuretic and makes you feel dehydrated. So, sipping on a few glasses of water is very important before drinking
- Eggs- Eggs again slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol.
- Sweet potatoes- sweet potatoes are ideal to snack before you head out for a few drinks. Also, research has shown that sweet potatoes prevent swings in blood sugar, which can prevent the overeating caused by drinking.
- Milk- Milk keeps us hydrated and is also rich in potassium, which your body tends to lose when you are drinking.
10. Hope to conceive
If you are trying for a baby, make sure you consume a healthy diet rich in leafy greens, citrus fruits, pulses and nuts.
These all provide folic acid important for the baby’s neural tube development.
Also do not forget to stock your cupboards and refrigerators with pulses and dals, soyabeans, nuts and veggies like spinach, broccoli and asparagus, fruits like oranges
Fibre rich beans and whole grains keep the bowels healthy; help flush away waste, thus increasing the chances of getting pregnant.
You don’t have to wait until you are pregnant to start eating well. Following a healthy diet before you conceive can help boost fertility, lower the risk of birth defects or even reduce the chances of developing pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.
11. For clearer skin
Always remember, what you put inside your body is equally important as what you put on your face and skin.
The foods you can include in your clear skin diet include Orange/yellow foods (oranges, mangoes, pineapple or carrots) which have skin glowing effects.
Dark green colored veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli contain carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin which are skin antioxidants.
Red foods (Watermelon, tomatoes, papaya) and Blue/purple foods (Blueberries, beets, plum)
Both green tea and white tea are rich in antioxidants for a glowing skin.
You can also include cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and turnips.
Not to forget, ample water for good skin elasticity
12. When you have diarrhea
The BRATCK Diet is widely followed in case of diarrhea.
A- Apple/Anar juice
T- Toast/ Black tea
C- Chicken soup, coffee, curd
K- Khuskhus, Kanji
Along with this diet, you need to hydrate your body with enough fluids and electrolytes.
An ORS or electoral powder drink, Coconut water or buttermilk with jeera can work wonders.
It is always advised to avoid Milk and Gluten (wheat) for a day or two post severe diarrhea to avoid bloating and give your stomach a good rest!!
TO SUM UP
A healthy wholesome diet always helps to get some relief or get some required energy or improve immunity levels.
Fortunately, many foods have benefits that go beyond providing your body with nutrients.
The above-mentioned food guide can be of a great help for you. If you would like to add any tips or home remedies, don’t forget to leave a comment!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids .
She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.