Most of us busy working girls, working moms and busy stay at home moms who are taking care of their little munchkins rarely get the time to take care of themselves or their nutrition needs. The result is either spending a bomb on meals out or going to the other extreme and not getting enough nutrition.
Sticking to a diet is hard work! If you have access to a cook or have meals made for you, it’s not that difficult and needs mainly the will power not to indulge. But, if you do not have help with the cooking and have to fend for yourself, it can get challenging. Also if you have to cook mainly for your family, it’s not feasible to put them on a diet as well or cook a separate set of low calorie meals for yourself. Mother’s tend to put themselves last!
Over the years, I have tried to improvise with street food to try and eat healthy without spending too much
I visited a dietician once and the first thing I told her was that I was not going to spend all day cooking low calorie meals. I wanted to lose weight but it had to be with food that I don’t have to spend time cooking or too much effort over. I think whatever she came up with was so fuss –free, I have been sticking to this diet for close to five years now. I don’t follow it all the time, I just follow it when I am feeling a bit heavy and need to lose some weight.
Breakfast is the most important and crucial meal of the day. Whatever you do, don’t skip it! You can even eat a brunch or have a full meal in the morning before beginning your day and then do a light lunch instead.
- 3-4 Marie Biscuits + 1 Cup of Tea – Rs (You don’t need to skip the sugar if you can’t live without sugar. Just try adapting to having less of it. A teaspoon of sugar won’t do you any harm. Avoid aspartame. Sugar can be burnt off but chemicals are plain unhealthy ) Cost: Rs 5
- ½ cup of oats cooked with milk or Masala Oats Cost: Rs 10
- Two medium sized Idlis with Sambhar (avoid the chutney) – Rs 18 – 20
- A Boiled Egg Cost: Rs 6-7
- Fruits – Apple, Pear, Papaya – Rs 20-30 (yes, fruits are expensive but don’t skimp)
- Granola Bar Cost: Rs 35
- Fruit -apple/papaya/watermelon. It’s easy to carry with you or can be purchased from any fruit seller near your office. Cost: Rs 20 – 25
- A Handful of nuts – 4-5 almonds, walnuts, cashews (these are expensive but worth the health benefits it will provide) Cost: Rs 20-25 per serving
- 3-4 Dates. These are a rich source of fibre Cost: Rs 10-12
If you eat small meals frequently, there is no need to eat a lot at lunch.
- Vegetable/ Chicken/ Paneer & Veggie Sandwich – Rs 30. The easiest street food available is the humble vegetable sandwich and quite customisable to keep out the butter and sauce and potatoes. The sandwich vendors have even started stocking brown bread! Cost: Rs 30 to 40 for a club sandwich
- Two chapatis, vegetable and salad (if you have access to it) – Cost: Rs 30 to 40
- A vegetable paratha with a bowl of curd Cost: Rs 30 to 40
- A plate of fruit salad. If you are in Mumbai, this is easily available at stalls Cost: Rs 25
- Chole (without the greasy kulcha). Have a double serving if you like. Chickpeas have protein and fibre Cost: Rs 30 to 35
- Idlis or Dosa with Sambhar Cost: Rs 20
- A glass of buttermilk Cost: Rs 12-15
Image from here
This is the hardest part of any diet – avoiding greasy snacks like samosas, burgers and whatever junk you get at the office canteen. If you eat well for lunch, you will find that it’s possible to avoid the evening snack
- Roasted Gram/ Peanuts – Cost: Rs 10
- A bowl of plain unsweetened Yoghurt Cost: Rs 20
This can be your one proper meal of the day, if you don’t get the time to have a proper lunch. But make sure you eat before 8pm.
- Soup, preferable homemade. Avoid packaged soups as they are full of sodium. Some options here are Tomato Soup, Mixed Vegetable Soup. You can just throw some veggies in a pan with water and let it boil. Puree and season! Have it with whole wheat bread sticks or plain toast Cost: Rs 20 per serving
- Curd/Lassi Cost: Rs 20
- A bowl of plain dal Cost: Rs 30
- A glass of milk and a cheese or peanut butter sandwich. Cost: Rs 40
I started writing this post trying to keep a budget of Rs 100 a day But after breakfast I realised that it was just not possible to keep it to Rs 100 daily. Though I quite often stick to Rs 100 a day on street food, I realise that prices are not uniform across the country and my experience is limited to Mumbai where street food is easily available and not very expensive. There are some days when your food budget could be more or less depending on what you eat.
Buy a few more lipsticks but don’t compromise in this area!