(1) Eating in a timely fashion: It is best to eat six small meals through the whole day with an interval of about 3 hours between the meals. You should keep a gap of 3 hours between your last meal and bedtime. Pre-packaging meals is one solution to avoid skipping meals.
(2) Healthy preparation techniques:
a) Frying is the commonest cooking method in South Asian diet; to avoid the health risks associated with this method – use olive oil instead of butter/ghee and smear the pan with just enough to avoid sticking. Even better, use healthier techniques – steaming (as done in the southern parts for dishes like “idli”/”kothu roti”) and tandoor oven.
b) For dishes that require milk, use low fat alternatives; try to avoid cream and coconut milk. A healthier alternative to paneer is tofu.
c) You should not add salt during the cooking process – you may be satisfied by the natural salt content in some of the foods. Keep the salt shaker on the table for those who may want to add the extra salt to their plate.
(4) Water is the best liquid for our system. Decrease the intake of caffeinated drinks (including tea) and juices because these tend to dehydrate the body. Popular South Asian drinks like tea and lassi have healthier varieties – green tea and lassi drinks made with fruits instead of syrup and made without added salt/sugar.
(5) Most snacks in the South Asian diet are fried; so, limit portions. Even better, use the baked alternatives that are available now.
(6) You can enjoy desserts if you control portions and limit eating these to only 1-2 x per week.
(7) It is important to have at least 3-4 servings from each group throughout the day – milk/alternatives, grain products, vegetables/fruits, and meat/alternatives. It is important to have 2 items from the same group at one meal. If you are interested in further details, EatRight Ontario (www.eatrightontario.ca) is a good resource.
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