Articles on meals

How to Control In-Between Meal Snacking

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
We ensure that most of our meals are healthy. The problem comes when we crave food in between meals. If you feel hungry so often then you certainly need to watch out as eating more food whether healthy or junk leads to weight gain.The biggest trouble with in between snacking is that one craves something that is satisfying and ready to eat. Unfortunately we don't find having salads or fruits as snacks satisfying enough. While junk food or fattening foods manage to hit the spot, instantly satisfying the hunger pang. Gradually these small food breaks stop having the same satiating effect. After sometime the portion size increases  giving way to more food cravings and constant need to eat something Most of the times this snacking is psychological, as in we condition ourselves to feeling hungry even after having proper meals. Here are some reasons and tips to keep the hunger pangs in control, making you eat less.Untimely Meals: Not having meals on time is a big factor in making you feel hungry at odd times . The body follows no patterns and gets used to giving a call at random times which pushes us to eat more than a usual meal. Time your meals and eat food with high fiber and protein to keep you feeling fullerBreakfast: People who don't have a balanced and satisfying breakfast often find themselves binging at odd time. The dissatisfaction of the previous meal  makes the mind want for more and eating unhealthy. Have a good nutritious breakfast with satisfying foodPsychological Factor: Sometimes its a psychological hunger and not real hunger. Read here to know how your brain might be making you fat. Next time you feel hungry right after eating a meal try drinking two glasses of water. The water will work just as well in taking care of your hunger just like any snackWater: Often the lack of water in the body sends the message of hunger to the brain making us want to eat more. Drink some water and see if you are still feeling hungry or  notLoneliness: Sometimes people look at food as a substitute for boredom or loneliness. Maybe instead of turning to food you can look at various activities or hobbies to get you involved and keep you busyUnderstand your body and know when it is actually hungry or just craving food for comfort. This will help you binge less. Also sometimes not having a set routine  pushes you to consume more calories. Get some exercise and ensure you are getting enough sleep.  Consume less of junk food and sweetened soda as it also makes you crave for more food and increases appetite.

6 Meal Ideas to Stay Fuller

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Eating nutritious food is important, but how much and when to eat is vital too. Staying fit is easier than its perceived to be. Eating the right food at the right time will not only meet your daily nutrition requirement but keep you fuller through out the day keeping you away from all the junk and empty calories we binge on otherwise.Research shows than men who ate meals with higher amounts of protein than the average meal, when they were trying to lose weight felt fuller throughout the day; they also experienced a reduction in late-night desire to eat and had fewer thoughts of food. This is especially important with regard to the Indian vegetarian diet that can be extremely carbohydrate heavy, with little high quality protein, to ensure long term satiety that protein provides.Proteins can make you feel fuller for a longer time but this doesn't mean that you only consume protein. The body requires a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fats.Few sources of protein for your diet:Eggs: Eggs are highly satiable and makes you fuller for a longer time and proving vital minerals and vitamins with fat and provides the energy for basic functioning. It takes care of the calorie intake and is healthy for the body.Fish: It is not only rich in omega fatty acids but provide ample amount of protein to make you feel longer. Some salmon in lunch or dinner or your desired meals will help you stay away from hunger and nourish the body as well.Sprouts or Beans: For veggie lovers sprouts and beans can be a part of your diet. Eating sprouts in your diet will fill you up and keep irregular food cravings away.Soy Products: Soy milk offers outstanding nutrition, along with their health benefits. They provide balanced nutrition of high-quality protein and carbohydrates, low in fat with no cholesterol and very low in saturated fat.Dairy Products: Dairy Product vary to milk, cheese, cottage cheese, butter, cream, yogurt, buttermilk etc. Dairy products tend to be good sources of calcium, protein and healthy carbohydrates.Meat & Poultry: Meat and poultry products rank one of the highest for proteins. They contain ample amount of protein and help keeping you feel fuller for a longer period of time.Add some protein to your diet to keep you feeling a little fuller for a longer time. But ensure that you eat a balanced meal.

Worst and the Best Lunches You Could Pack for Your Kids

Ms. Nisha Singh, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Before you say Bon Appétit to your little ones as they munch on the mid-noon snacks at school, we would ask you to open your eyes and read this very important information on what the lunch box holds. That small lunch box could be an invitation to a plethora of illnesses and sicknesses galore; true to every word we have read and heard! Mommies, it is time for you to gear up and give your kids the healthiest of meals. Here are five lunch boxes that are actually doing more harm than good to the kids, and we have provided alternatives too. Please read on, we want your little ones to be healthy and eating well too!Say no to those juice boxesSo the ads have managed to seduce your kiddies with the fine packaging and glossy talks; but wait right there, are your sure as what the companies claim to store ‘real fruit juice’ in those snazzy boxes- are they real? What about amount of sugars in it?Preservatives and the empty calories? Wouldn’t that bring in more harm than good for the kid?Healthy Alternative: Your child should have freshly squeezed and brewed juices for breakfast or a whole fruit each morning,or as a mid-day meal as a snack if need be.Baked not friedHow often do we allow our kids to munch on a packet of fries or chips? Pretty often isn’t it? Guilty as we are, kids love them and we really have no choice but to allow a bite or two of the salted flavor crispies to enter their bodies. Remember, chips are a processed bunch of empty calories, and every time the tasty snack is devoured,the little ones would want more. This is junk that goes into their bodies, and the addiction remains well into the teen days too.Healthy Alternative: Bake your own chips and cookies at home; there are many recipes online that show you how to conjure a box of them in less than ten minutes and with fresh ingredients so fine for the little one’s needs too.Sweets and candies have zero nutritional valueWe really cannot stop the sweet-toothed cravings, and we know the zero nutritional value in them too.Plus, there is so much sugar in them, which can lead to sugar spikes and cavities. Do you want that happening to your kids?Healthy Alternative: Pack a snack of fresh berries, watermelon and bananas. These are fruits that have natural sugars in them, plenty of antioxidants for the kid’s body to use and sodium too. Ready-to-serve meals can be REALLY harmfulParents these days area very busy lot, mommies are running around managing home and work. Who has the time to cook a ravishing lunch to pack for the kids; most moms opt for ready-to-serve meals, which are easily available at leading grocery outlets.But did you know how much harm such meals can do, especially with empty calories in them, preservatives and chemicals used to keep them fresh and more?Healthy Alternative: Pack turkey sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, potato sandwiches or a veggie sandwich with a cookie for the kid’s lunch. They would be fresh till mid-day and the child would have all the nutrients he or she needs!Presentation matters and this is what the companies out there play upon. Use this psychology to bring to your kids the best meals, and watch how they happily chomp your delicacies and not the commercial ones out there.

Do You Need 6 Meals a Day to Lose Weight?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
You've probably heard that you need to eat 5-8 meals per day to get fit and lose weight. it is everywhere: on TV, on the internet, in magazines, etc. Eating a large number of meals seems to be the secret behind the weight loss of many people.But is it really? Do you think they lost weight because of the number of meals that they ate? So, going from 3 meals per day to 6 meals per day will make you lose weight?This multiple meals per day concept has become a bit of a fad, so let's get real about this, and help you solve the mystery of multiple meals. Let's delve into this, to really understand the facts.Multiple meals per day are recommended for 2 main reasons:- Having long gaps between meals can lead to craving, and consumption of unhealthy foods. - The metabolic advantage: more often you eat, more calories you burn. We'll explain this in a bit.Let's talk about the metabolic advantage. Basically, your body burns calories trying to digest food. Now, by increasing the number of meals that we eat, we are trying to 'cheat the system' by making the digestive system work more, and thus burn just a few more calories.Now the question is how many more calories does your body burn by eating multiple meals per days. The fact is, not significantly more. Most people's daily calorie burn (by Basal Metabolic Rate) ranges between 1300-1800 calories per day. By increasing the number of meals from 3 to 8, you probably increase it incrementally. Let's be generous and say 5%. That is a total of 60-100 calories more per day.To lose 0.5 kg per week, your body needs to have a deficit of about 500 calories per day. So, in the bigger picture of calorie burning and weight loss, 60-100 calories per day is not enough to make a real dent in your weight loss!So, even if you do eat 6 meals per day for the 'metabolic advantage', the key to weight loss is to make sure that there is enough calorie deficit. So, one of the keys is that over a larger number of meals, you need to eat fewer calories. Doesn't that seem tougher? It might or might not be. The real key here is to control your cravings and your mind. Even with 6 meals a day, you could land up craving unhealthy foods, so its not a fool proof method to cut cravings & calories.The last point that we have about the 6 meals per day diet is somewhat cultural. We are Indian, and from the land of Yoga. From the latest research, it is found that Yoga principles seem to be  deeply scientific. Even Yoga recommends eating after an interval of 4 hours, which leads to 3 meals a day. The reason being the time your body needs to complete the full digestion process, before you start another one.We are not Yoga experts, but we believe that it must have some healthy relevance.So, is 6 meals too many? How many meals are you eating?

Healthy Breakfast for Good Health

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
In a way, breakfast is "breaking the fast" because after sleeping for eight hours and being without food during the night, our brain and muscles need energy and fuel to kick-start the body functions. The glucose in food (as well as the vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and protein) is how we get this energy. With this rush of nutrients and glucose to our brains, we are better able to concentrate, focus, are productive, and in better spirits. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it give you energy to start a new day, but breakfast is linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved performance. A healthy breakfast can also increase endurance and strength, especially if you have a very active job or if you plan on going to the gym after breakfast. A well-balanced breakfast will also increase mental alertness and concentration. Healthy carbohydrates are essential for this, since they provide the glucose that fuels your brain.Make the choice for health! Here is the list of healthy breakfast ideas that will get you going all day long.Oatmeal: Oats are considered as one of the most nutritionally balanced and healthy breakfast option. Use oats and skimmed milk to make your perfect breakfast, add some fruits if you want. This is a great way to start the day as oats have a low GI (Glycaemic Index) so they do not raise the blood glucose level very quickly, which is good as it can help stabilize the appetite.Upma: Upma is also a good option for a healthy breakfast. Upma is a great combination of semolina (suji) & green vegetables, which give you a nutrient-rich meal full of vitamins that will warm and fill you up. This light breakfast is very healthy and will give you the energy you need, just make sure to go easy on the salt and oil and incorporate plenty of vegetables for a balanced breakfast.Fresh fruit: Breakfast is not all about oats and bread & butter. Fresh fruit in the morning can also be a great & healthy way to start the day, as they are easy to digest and are an efficient source of raw energy for the day. If the water-based fruits are not filling enough, go with bananas. Besides, you can always cut the fruit up and add it to your other favorite breakfasts.Stuffed Parantha: Stuff Parantha could also be a healthy breakfast option. It's also a nutritious and filling breakfast. You can add green vegetables like methi, spinach, cauliflower or also you can stuff with low fat cottage cheese. Make sure you cook on a non-stick pan with minimum oil. This is not only a delicious option but it's also full of nutrition and keeps you full for a longer time.Smoothie: If you really can’t face breakfast try to have a smoothie instead. Just blend some fruits such as berries, apples and bananas with some milk. All those antioxidant vitamins in the fruit will help boost your immunity, apart from giving you a tasty blend of filling beverage.Eggs- Scrambled eggs in the breakfast is considered as a healthy breakfast. Poaching or scrambling eggs with a little milk is a good way to incorporate them into your diet — they provide valuable protein. Scrambled egg on brown bread toast is a much better choice over a fried egg sandwich, especially if you add chillies and tomato.Vegetables Sandwich: Vegetables can be a perfect source for all significant fiber and vitamins required by the body. Spinach, carrots, beetroots and other vegetables of your choice can be used to make a healthy sandwich.There are foods which we have only as a part of our healthy breakfast like cereals, fruits and milk. If you bypass your breakfast you might never get those nutrients. If you have been skipping breakfast and are in bad mood, you probably should know why. Not having breakfast makes you grouchy. So make each day a great day by starting your day with a sumptuous & healthy breakfast.

Do You Suffer From Vacay Decay?

Ms. Tehzeeb, Dietitian/Nutritionist
I am going to go out on a limb here and state that learning how to eat right through a vacation is an extremely important life skill! This is of course assuming (and hoping even) that you will be taking many vacations in your life. Knowing this, I often encourage new, incoming clients to not push back their counseling start date to post their vacation but in fact, be on the program with me through the vacation so that we could plan a vacation meal plan and some basic strategies to stay healthy and fit through it. However, the mere sound of a ‘vacation meal plan’ is enough to scandilize said potential clients to an alarming degree—as though I may have asked for an internal organ.But isn’t this true? Shouldn’t eating right be something that you’re able to do ALL THE TIME and everywhere—or at least know how to? Keeping this in mind, my this article is dedicated to all you readers of course but also to the many of you who will be making a phone call to me about potentially starting a program. Although this time, without the shocked tone of voice and the 5-7 minutes of convincing because you will have read this already.10 ways to avoid the vacay-decay:Plan. Plan. Plan. Yes, impulsive is fun but not when it has you leave in the morning without a half-decent breakfast and finds you in the middle of nowhere for 3-7 hours with no food to eat whatsoeverPack easy, portable snacks and carry with you (nuts, figs, dates, olives, kale chips etc.) so that if you’re ever in situation mentioned above, you have a rescue for your plummeting blood sugarDrink water! Restaurant meals are heavy on salt which is why you often find yourself bloated on vacations and your pictures make you look ‘puffy’ and ‘fat’. Keep sipping water as much as possible. It will help remove the excess salt and toxins and it will even make you feel alert and energized which means that you’ll be enjoying your vacation with greater awareness as opposed to being dull and tiredGet some sunlight in while you can. During your typical workdays, even if your daily commute does entail a small amount of walking, chances are that you’re fully clothed and there isn’t much room for the sunlight to seep through your skin. Thankfully, vacations are different. In fact, as mentioned in a previous article on Vitamin D, sunlight gets metabolized most optimally at the back of your thighs so put on some short shorts and you’re good to goWhat’s the point of going to an exotic location and ending up in a McDonalds or Subway or another chain? Here’s your chance at being experimental. Do some preliminary research; look for local produce and local foods and have those instead of your overdone chain foods. Fresher, more nutritious, tastier and if you’re smart enough, then cheaper even. Now isn’t that a win for everyone involved?Going to a bar/lounge for drinks? Okay. But schedule an early dinner to a local restaurant you discovered prior to your nightout. When out, have your drinks with 1-2 appetizers. Try and plan your fried food and sweet indulgences too so that you don’t feel guilty if and when consuming themSlow down. You’re on a vacation. You own time. Time doesn’t own you. Enjoy your meals thoroughly, savor them and chew each biteYes to breakfast in bed (sooner you eat it upon waking up, sooner your blood sugar stabilizes) but no to bed tea because tea on an empty stomach just isn’t a good ideaExercise. Don’t groan. You sit on your butt all day long back home. Here’s your chance to give your body some form of movement. If it’s a family vacation, you’re setting the tone for what things will be like for your children. Hike, bike, swim, skate, play a game of squash or badminton. Your options are ample—it is upto you to find something you enjoy and pursue itNote: Walking around the mall while shopping does NOT count as exerciseFinally, and I really can’t stress this enough — use vacations as an excuse to be more healthy as opposed to less healthy. If all you do is sit around, laze, sleep and stuff your face with greasy food and alcohol, you’re going to come back feeling more tired and drained out than before as opposed to rejuvenated. Yes, take afternoon naps and enjoy an indulgent meal or two—but also rise early, don’t overeat, drink water, partake in physical activity and you’ll feel fulfilled and happy and ready to come back to the grind of your everyday ritualsEnjoy your upcoming holiday and do write to us and let us know which strategies you were able to successfully incorporate!

5 Easy Things You Could Do to Keep Your Child Healthy!

Ms. Tehzeeb, Dietitian/Nutritionist
It’s almost time to celebrate our precious little babies. Although we may all be painfully aware that mere celebration itself is not nearly enough. We have got to care for our children and no, that doesn’t mean forcing them to drink glass after glass of milk or offering dessert if they finish their veggies. Round-up of 5 easy things you could do to keep your children (and yourself too while you’re at it) at optimal health:Tip # 1: Pre-plan breakfast logistics night prior and ensure that children never leave for school without having breakfast irrespective of how rushed your or their morning may be.How does this help?This will ensure that they are energetic and productive all day as opposed to tired, lethargic, dull and craving sugar. For instance, something as simple and easy as a peanut butter toast with bananas would ensure that the day starts with a punch of protein and energy!Tip # 2: Make a bi-weekly lunch schedule for your children and for yourself and post it on the fridge. Include options which are both healthy and easy.How does this help?Well, you don’t have to spend each evening obsessing and worrying about what to cook for lunch the next dayNote: If you’d like for us to share a bi-weekly menu with you, email us on info@scalebeyondscale.comTip # 3: Try exposing your children and yourself to at least 1 new fruit or vegetable each week.How does this help?For one, this would be a great bonding activity for the family. Secondly, this is a brilliant way to expose your children and your personal palette to an array of different nutrients. Remember that seasonal fruits + vegetables have a higher nutrient availability which amongst other things, helps boost immunity. Increased immunity=fewer sick days where they are at home instead of school pleading for your attention every second of the day.Tip # 4: Pack for your children easy fruits (apple, pear, banana) and tiny zip lock bags of nuts to nibble on during snack breaks.How does this help?Healthy options made easily available and accessible to them will significantly diminish the chances of them going out of their way to seek and procure unhealthy meal options. Even if it comes back untouched a couple times, don’t give up. Eventually, chances are, they will reach out and eat that fruit.Tip #5: Create a conductive eating environment at home free of television and other distractionsHow does this help?It’s common knowledge that eating in front of the TV skews our satiety signals and we tend to eat much more than the needs of our body. Besides, your children won’t be staring at commercials advocating consumption of carrot sticks or the latest local fruit. Nope, they will be looking at packaged chips or chocolates and will get influenced into wanting those foods instead.We have a lot more to say and share, but we will refrain. Go ahead and execute these first and set your children on a path to wonderful health as early in their lives as you can!Love and health,Scale Beyond Scale

How Protein Rich Breakfast Helps You Lose Weight?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Eating a high protein breakfast can be the secret to weight loss for many. According to one research, it was revealed that people who ate high protein breakfasts with low carbohydrate content, felt fuller throughout the day.Power of protein It is an important component of every cell in the body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. The body also uses protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is one the macronutrients required by the body in large quantities. Though it does not act as a reservoir like fats and carbohydrates do, but our body needs requires a certain amount of protein every day. The requirement varies depending on the amount of physical and brain activity the body goes through.Protein rich breakfast and weight loss Protein takes longer than other macronutrients to digest. This means that it vacates the system far later than the other macronutrients. This particular aspect of protein plays an important role in managing ideal body weight. In its connection with hunger, it has been found through various studies that those who eat a protein heavy breakfast feel fuller for longer periods of time and do not binge or crave for junk foods.The second reason given by recent research by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition with regard to protein, says that when we consume a protein based breakfast, this macronutrient stimulates the secretion of the gut hormone (called Peptide YY). Peptide YY triggers long-lasting feelings of fullness. In fact, in one Nutrition Metabolism study, dieters who consumed more than 30% of their daily protein intake at breakfast ended up eating nearly 450 fewer calories a day.Protein rich breakfasts should contain high quality sources of protein such as eggs, low fat paneer/cottage cheese, fish, milk and other dairy products. In order to lead a healthy eating pattern, one should always focus on the very first meal of the day. If that meal contains a bulk of the daily recommended amount of protein, then one can also manage their ideal body weight without bingeing on unhealthy food through the rest of the day.

5 Fitness Commandments for Every Man

Ms. Tehzeeb, Dietitian/Nutritionist
As a health counselor, one of the challenges I am faced with daily is how closely the profession is tied to our everyday lives. We all eat at least 3 times a day and have individual relationships with, and opinions about, our food. In social settings, when I am conversing with someone new, the minute they realize my profession I am accorded details about meal schedules, exercise routines, and with the less timid ones, even bowel movements.My job, of course, is to listen and listen I do. In fact, it does seem as though I may have heard most of it at this point. In most scenarios, when I meet women, they inevitably have questions about losing weight, becoming ‘skinny’, and so on and when I meet men, the cool ones ask about where to find protein, how to build more muscles, while the busier ones discuss effective strategies to incorporate healthy eating within the constraints of a busy day and back-to-back meetings.So here’s an ode to all kinds of men—5 very basic fitness essentials that should be applicable to all of you.1. Work on the legs:Most men I speak with are so caught up trying to build arm muscle and core strength that they forget to/deliberately avoid giving their legs some strength-training. Although it may not seem like it, but leg presses, leg extensions and leg curls are just as important as the rest of your workout! Don’t neglect one part of your body only because you deem it less important.2. Stop OD-ing on the protein:No matter how much you workout, excess protein does put a load on the kidneys and the body has to work extra hard to eliminate this protein from the body. This scenario is far from ideal so, instead of only eating egg whites, protein shakes, and steaks, ensure that your meals are wholesome and have complex carbohydrates too.3. Stretching and yoga won’t make you less of a man:Weight-training doesn’t make a woman masculine. If anything, it gives her body strength. Similarly, don’t ignore your pre and post-workout stretches. Flexibility is as important a fitness parameter as strength.4. Plan your dinner hour:Ever so often, you wish to just plop yourself on the couch and watch EPL. Fine. But at least have dinner prior to the match so that you don’t realize at half-time that you need to call your local fast-food place for a pizza delivery.5. Plan at least one daily mid-meal snack:Yes, we know you’re busy with a chock-a-block schedule and have just no time to think about food. But a quick mid-afternoon fruit at 3:00 pm will go a long way in avoiding the afternoon energy slump. Speaking of avoiding the afternoon energy slump, ensuring that you eat lunch at 1:00 pm (standard lunch hour) as opposed to 4:00 pm, or worse skipping it altogether, would also be a good ideaStart with these small tips and within a matter of a few weeks, you’ll find yourself feeling better and fitter.This article has been originally published here: