The winter season is surprisingly the best time for eating seasonal foods. During this time, many fresh vegetables become available in the market like peas, carrots, spinach, beans, and tomatoes. They not only taste great, but are good for your health as well. In the winter, we feel hungrier, as the body requires more energy to keep warm. Thus, causing us to eat more. Despite the availability of these fresh vegetables, most of the time they are cooked in a way that they lose all their nutrients. If we change our cooking habits, we can derive more of a benefit. Here are few changes that can make your cooking healthier with our recommended winter meals:
- Avoid making single vegetables. Instead mix two or three vegetables together to make a more tasty and healthy snack. For example, you can cook carrots, beans, and capsicum together, or cook peas along with spinach and eggplant. You can also include some sprouted lentils. Another good combination to include in your daily “Dal” is spinach and green coriander tempered with green garlic leaves.
- Use soybeans as a vegetarian option for protein instead of always using “cheese, beancurd and paneer.” Soybeans have higher protein content, and have no fat. You can use soybean granules or chunks instead of panner or tofu cubes to make many main dishes.
- Tender corn is a good source of fiber. Corn can be cooked with other vegetables or can be mixed with wheat flour to make chapattis (Indian bread)
- Drink green or black tea instead of milk tea. You can add ginger, basil leaves, and cardamom for flavor. This works wonders against the common cold and winter coughs.
- As our digestive system usually functions better in winter season, many people opt to eat paratha (Indian Stuffed bread). Eating peas paratha, cauliflower paratha, or simple aloo paratha is very common. Eating paratha alone is not bad, but if you mix it with different vegetables like spinach, fenugreek leaves, coriander leaves it becomes even tastier and healthier.
- “Gajar ka halwa” or “Carrot Pudding” is a sweet dish made in nearly every household in India during winter. Use double toned milk and less ghee to make it. You can opt for jaggery instead of common sugar to make it healthier.
Eating fried fritters as snacks is very common during the wintertime. To make these healthier, avoid ghee or butter and use a low-fat oil, like soybean or sunflower oil. You can mix gram flour, soybean flour, and oat flour to make a healthy batter. Avoid reusing the oil, as refrying causes the amount of trans fat in the oil to increase. A better option is to make fritters in a nonstick pan with just a few strokes of oil applied by brush. Avoid using non-stick appliances in veryday cooking. Use it occasionally.