Hello, Health

Easy tips for a light and healthy dinner tonight and every night

Want to eat healthy tonight? Try these nine simple and super-easy swaps to make sure you eat a ‘good for you’ meal tonight.

 |  Hello, Health  |  4-minute read |   11-05-2019
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For the delicious, simple and very healthy meal, follow these super-easy tips:

  • It’s easy to cook almost any dish without oil — just add a dollop of dahi and cook over a low heat. You can make your regular curry masala like this – mix grated ginger and chopped tomatoes and onions with dahi, and simmer it all gently, stirring often, till they change colour. Dal ‘makhni’ can be delicious minus any makhan (butter)! What the butter or cream does is lend texture more than taste, so remove a quarter of the pre-boiled dal and whiz to a puree with the tomato masala; continue to cook as usual. The ‘buttery’ taste is easy to make up —  instead of simply sautéing chopped onions and garlic, roast them in the oven (or chop and microwave in a closed container with just enough water to cover) before you add them to the pan.

main_dal_makhni_-and_051119025225.jpgDal ‘makhni’ can be delicious minus any makhan! (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

  • Cold summer soups can be hearty meals too! Just blend in a potato and a handful of almonds after cooking cucumber, zucchini or tomato and capsicum in stock. The potato trick also works as cream replacement in broccoli, mushroom or spinach soups!

main_gazpacho_getty-_051119025402.jpgCold summer soups and gazpacho make for hearty meals! (Photo: Wikimedia commons)

  • Hate the wateriness of ghiya (lauki), tori and tinda? But these high water content veggies are summer’s best gift (after mangoes and melons). Instead of trying to disguise the blandness with rich masalas and deep frying, go subtle. Start with a jeera or saunf (and maybe dried red chillies and/or heeng) tempering in no more than 2 tsp oil, add your veggies and some ginger paste, give it a stir and quickly cover. Cook on low heat to encourage veggies to sweat and concentrate their flavours. When nearly done, uncover and cook till almost dry. Add a spoonful of dry-roasted maida, besan or rice flour for crunch, and give it a good stir on medium-high heat to coat well. Delicious with phulkas.

main_lauki-sabzi_051119025530.jpgLauki, tori and tinda are high water content veggies that are summer’s best gifts! Here is Lauki curry cooked in Andhra-style. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

  • Make dahi your family’s trademark frozen dessert. Freeze dahi either flavoured or sweetened (not both!) in kulfi moulds — chopped mangoes mixed in are always a favourite, but also try mashed bananas, chopped litchis or strawberries, pureed melons, a drizzle of honey and some toasted nuts, a dollop of jam, chocolate chips, or a crumbled cookie or two. Serve nicely garnished with mint leaves, and your family will spur the cart at the corner! (Beware, though – they might start bringing friends over more often!)

main_yoghurt-reuters_051119025704.jpgMake dahi your family’s trademark frozen dessert. (Photo: Reuters)

  • Now that you can get ‘Indian-flavoured’ masala bread, make yourself a more patriotic sandwich! Instead of those greasy spreads with hundred-odd additives, use baingan ka bharta, thick pureed dal, mashed chhole, sesame paste or nut butter, pudina chutney, maybe saunth. Fill with sliced cucumber and tomatoes, boiled eggs, sliced boiled potatoes, grated carrots, flame-roasted capsicums, corn kernels, and enjoy! Kachumber and raita on the side, please!

Also read: Five summer smart foods to indulge in this summer


Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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