We Indians have always been accustomed to 3 square meals a day – breakfast, lunch & dinner. Of course we also tend to snack upon deep-fried vegetable pakodas(tempuras) every so often without even giving a second thought to our health and nutritional intake in all we eat. So what is all this fuss about 5 small meals a day, how can one get used to having 5 small cravings and resist the temptation to eat more and thus have 5 big meals a day and end up even more obese than before!!!
Diet experts believe eating five small meals a day, helps regulate blood sugar, control cravings and keep hunger at bay. As long as you choose the right food and and watch the portions carefully, “grazing” 5 times a day can actually help you reduce those few extra pounds of fat in unwanted areas and also keep you energized.
What Should You Eat?
Eating more frequently can actually lead to less nutrition and more calories intake if you do not plan your meals properly. The amount of calories that is required for a healthy nutrition in a day ranges anywhere between 1500 – 2200 calories depending upon the age, sex, amount of physical exercise, nature of job and the weight loss objective of the whole program.
For best outcome, plan each mini-meal so that you get a source of protein, fiber and a little amount of healthy fat. Each mini-meal can be planned upto 250 calories and thus maintaining your daily calories intake to keep you energized for the entire day.
How About Vegetarian Diet?
One can easily find 7 day meal planners when you google, but most of them contain meat for atleast 2 mini-meals a day. So how does a vegetarian substitute meat and with what exactly? That is also easy, you can find meat-substitutes like “Energy Star” products which are made up of Soy and considered to be a perfect source of your protein.
How About Us Indians who are Vegetarians?
Now that we know there are several resources online for vegetarians and even vegans to follow the 5 small meals a day program, let us drill down further and see how we can inspire an Asian-Indian like me, to take up this new form of diet. (I have to say here that being from the southern part of India, I would hate to give up eating rice!!!)I did look around but couldnt find much information pertaining to small meals or mini-meals as we call them where we can substitute with Indian food. So I thought why not put one together and get some insights from my readers as to what they think about it.
So here goes:
The picture is just to keep your hopes alive in what might come next!!!!
Morning Drink –
Early morning, start your day with lemon juice and honey, in lukewarm water, this will help detoxify those acids produced by your body.
No idli-vada or dosa here!!!! Choose any 1 or 2 from the following options:
1. Egg white omelet (2) + 2 slices of brown bread
2. Milk (Skimmed Milk) +Cornflakes/ Oats /Wheat bran
3. Fruit salad / Sprouts.
4. Vegetable Poha / Upma (hmmm….i can live with this one for sure!!!)
5. Skimmed milk cottage cheese + Brown Bread
Now, that wasn’t tough was it? We have one dish which is Indian and of course most of the others look good enough and I am used to having cereals every morning, so no biggie for me atleast.
I read about this while I was searching around, I think this fits well in our course as well – A cup of Black Coffee helps in boosting your metabolism. Lose the creamer and milk!!!!
Now comes the tough part, we are so used to having full lunches that when we think of a mini-meal we tend to give it up easily. Let us still see if we can come up with something interesting shall we?? Let us choose one from the 3 options that I can think of right now:
1. Boiled / Roasted Soyabean (200 grams) +Brown Rice (1/2 plate) / Chapatti (1)
2. Boiled Dal +salad + Brown Rice (1/2 plate) / Chapatti (1-2)
3. Vegetable Daliya or broken wheat flour made into upma.
Along with this, you may opt for some Probiotic curd (100grams) as it helps in digestion. I can substitute white rice with brown rice anytime ( i already do that whenever i visit chipotle these days!!). Chapathi and dal sounds really doable for me anyday. I still have to try out the Daliya which I read is also a good source of fiber, sounds like I can survive the first half of the day anyway!!
Early Evening Snack –
Again, no deep-fried items you lazy indian couch-potato. Instead how about some boiled channa with green tea and some Marie-Lite biscuits on the side. Add some citrus fruits to curb those hunger pangs and also improve your digestion.
You may also substitute channa with more fruits (avoid banana as they tend to be high source of carbohydrates), some nuts and avocados.
Update: One can even think of adding half a cup of vegetable (spicy pepper or the original) hummus with some raw vegetables like peppers and baby carrots.
If you are here, then you have made it almost through your day with good nutritious food and also keeping a tab on your calories. Choose any one from the following options for your dinner:
1. Boiled Soybean Nutrela/ soup + salad
2. Boiled Egg White (3) + Vegetable clear soup
3. Green Caesar Salad.
4. Boiled Dal
5. Vegetable Daliya
I know that we do not have our regular brown rice or chapathi here, but as far as my knowledge goes, dinner should be lighter and greener, so good luck with this!!!
Prior to Sleep – 150 – 200ml of skimmed milk.
In addition to all these, keep the following in your mind whenever you plan your meal:
• Avoid heavy dinner; maintain at least 3 to 4 hours of gap between meal and sleep.
• Replace cold drinks with coconut water, vegetable soup or butter milk
• Drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water everyday
• Fibre is excellent for weight loss , so consume more of raw vegetables and fruits
• All carbs are not bad; avoid simple carbs like sugar, sweet and processed food.
• Never skip meals.
• Avoid Bakery products.
Cheat Day – Choose one day of the week as your cheat day and treat your taste-buds with your meal of choice.
Over to You – So what do you think about this planner for a veggie-diet? Do you have any more ideas or food items that you can add to the list. I would love to hear from you. Do leave your comments below and I am sure my readers will love to read your thoughts. Happy Hogging!!!
Great diet plan Praveen!
I can well relate to this as my kids want something else, my hubby’s demands are something totally different and I just about manage to juggle between both of theirs 🙂
You put up some good facts and diet ideas for vegetarians, though at our end we don’t even have egg as it’s considered non-veg, but yes, there are various views about the same.
I guess what we usually indulge in having is something wholesome, nutritious, and a well – balanced meal. We do make it to 3 meals a day, though the other two are side snacks kind with just a cup of coffee with light biscuits as you mentioned in the evenings, and a bowl of mixed fruits pre-lunch. It’s a well known fact that your fruits should always be consumed before the meal, not after, so that you get all the vitamins and minerals from them.
Our breakfast isn’t all that heavy either, as kids take their breakfast to school and we have a normal kind of breakfast, often a variety between porridge, toasts, oats, or cornflakes. Yes, weekends are for upma’s, poha’s, dhokla’s etc. 🙂
Similarly, the lunch is a variety of things with curds always on the side, though dinner is the lightest, and just as you rightly mentioned 2 hours before sleep time.
Thanks so much for sharing – it’s a wonderful reminder to be careful about what you eat. 🙂
Harleena – Thanks for stopping by and giving this a thought and leaving your comment.
I think you are on the right track to keep your diet healthy and nutritious. I was inspired to write about this after reading about the 5-small meals per day concept introduced at our work by a fitness team.
But all they had on their diet plan was meat and also our Indian food is difficult to measure by calories. When i searched online too, there were limited resources stating the same.
Well, why not start one and maybe get more inputs from people like you on what else to add to the list…so hence the post. Glad you liked it.
Too much dairy in your breakfast for me – I often just eat a bowl of leftover vegetable soup (besides my coffee). But lunch sounds marvelous. Maybe I should hire an Indian cook (or read one of my Asian cookbooks).
Leora – Glad you liked the idea and hope it brings some change in your food habits, though I am pretty sure you are doing great.
An Indian cook will be hard to find for sure Leora!!!!
Oh, and I would love it if you post recipes – even if I look up “dal” (I made it once years ago) recipes are more memorable if they are described by someone you know.
I will keep that in mind and will surely share some with you. We do prepare dal almost every day at home, and it goes well with our bread and rice. You should really try it.
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Hi, I am vegetarian But I like your cakes varieties .
Really so simple to do this dishes. Surely I will try this in my home at weekend.Keep it up!Thanks for sharing this wonderful dishes.
Yes, it is a challenge for us vegetarians when it comes to nutrition and diet. I hope you find this post useful.
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