The global food industry has made dishing up a meal child’s play. No longer do families need to stress about time-consuming, skillful cooking and appetizing assembling of cereals, pulses, veggies, spices, and herbs to put on their tables to satisfy their palates. The array of packaged breakfast cereals that greet you in a supermarket have spoiled us for choice in terms of variety and taste. There’s one for each day of the week and a plethora to choose from for those special occasions when friends stay over too! Gone are the days when you had to slog it out in your kitchen – chopping, slicing, dicing, soaking, grinding, mixing, fermenting, steaming, and plating in a bid to not only satiate the hungry tummies but to also earn you a compliment on your culinary skills! Oats, muesli, wheat flakes, corn flakes, oatmeal, Weetabix, rice krispies, and the like have replaced uttapams, poha, upma, sabudana khichdi, theplas, appams, chillas, paniyarams, dalia, teezan and other wholesome delights in Indian homes.
Why Shouldn’t You Opt For Packaged Cereals?
While “time is of essence” is the mantra that dual income families trumpet in defence of their breakfast choice, long-term health is an unconscious sacrifice they make. The reasons why breakfast cereals may not deliver all that the package label promises needs a closer look:
- They are refined. Refining is an industrial polishing process that cereals undergo to extend their shelf life. It wipes away the nutrient-rich bran and germ portion of the cereal, giving you a naked grain stripped off essential B-vitamins, fibre, magnesium, and vitamin E.
- They deliver a sugar overload: The addictive taste of breakfast cereals is more often than not, due to the added sugar in these products. Take a peek at the ingredient list and you will notice that sugar is often the second or third ingredient on that list. Beginning your day with a sugar-laden breakfast is sure to bring your energy levels crashing down within an hour of your eat-and-run breakfast choice, making you reach out for an earlier-than-expected snack, thus leading to overeating, and weight issues.
- They lie! Low-fat, multigrain, added bran, fortified with vitamins, and whole wheat are misleading terms that catch the eye of an overzealous consumer. Each of these terms has hidden meanings that spell “stripped of nutrition and then minimally replenished”. Once again, a close look at the Ingredient List and Nutritional Label may disclose the fact that the “low-fat” delight is a “high-carbohydrate” disaster; the “multigrain” marvel is actually a blend of refined grains; the promised “whole wheat” wellness is way inferior to the “wholegrain” goodness of a traditional cereal.
Nutritionists and researchers have been shouting hoarsely about the benefits of breakfast which includes weight management, improved concentration in school and at work, better academic performance, healthier food choices throughout the day and superior nutritional status.
These outcomes of eating a meal following a prolonged overnight fast, courtesy a dinner consumed six to ten hours earlier, are augmented when one adheres to established nutritional guidelines of complex carbohydrate-protein-fat combination meals to start your day. Commercial breakfast cereals often lack dietary fibre, a complex carbohydrate that keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time, diminishes cholesterol absorption and prevents spikes in blood glucose levels. The preservatives, colours, flavours, and additives that these packaged boxes require bring along their own added set of worries.
Why Should You Opt for a Traditional Indian Breakfast?
The traditional Indian breakfast, on the other hand, ensures good quality complete protein by way of cereal-pulse combination items (dosas, idlis), fibre (carrots and beans added to upma), healthy monounsaturated fats (groundnuts added to poha and sabudana khichdi), iron and calcium (ragi in teezan), and probiotic value (dhokla, idlis and lassi/curd with parathas). The spices added in preparing these items have been increasingly recognized for their health benefits and go a long way in imparting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential.
Nutritionally tempting?! Well… what’s stopping you from exploring the myriad ways in which you can tickle the tummy of your family by whipping out your grandma’s recipe and, in the bargain, living to be as robust as she was? While the time factor may make you waive your decision to switch to a healthier Indian breakfast menu, do not be disheartened – planning is all it takes to sneak in a nutritious meal at the start of your day! Make a menu plan for the next day or plan for the week ahead, and you will be safely on your way to a healthier you in no time at all! It’s worth the effort. Desi is the way to go… Breakfast like a king!
We hope this article helps you switch to a healthy traditional Indian breakfast! If you enjoyed reading this article, let us know in the comments below. For more on nutrition, check out Healthy Reads.
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Eat healthy and #BeTheForce
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