It is April and it is hot. No longer can we hide behind our baggy sweat pants or jackets. Our t-shirts are showing the tires around our middle, there is no hiding it. Summer is known to be the season where one sheds kilos or at least does not add any. But for some this is not the case. Summer is also the time for mangoes, holidays, family gatherings and ice cream.
I am sure by now you have read enough stories on how you should consume carrots, cucumbers and coconut water, avoid fried foods, etc, etc, etc, during the summer season. This column will give you no such advice because I know you already have had enough suggestions from various sources; the difficulty is putting it in practice.
Instead, I am going to give you some tips on how to enjoy the summer without feeling deprived and how to mindfully take care of overindulgence. Watch out for these summer traps:
1. Mangoes – The king of fruit is perhaps the best part of the summer season. After lunch and dinner, mangoes are eaten in plenty; usually plain but sometimes with cream and sometimes blended into a thick shake.
Mangoes are a good source of dietary fiber and an excellent source of vitamins C and A, both important antioxidant nutrients. Vitamin C promotes healthy immune function and collagen formation. Vitamin A is important for vision and bone growth.
A medium size mango has about 100 calories. If you add mangoes to your diet then remember to eliminate some other item. Reduce one chapatti or the rice and dal portion of the meal. An please do not insult the king by adding cream or sugar, it is best had plain.
2. Holidays – Whether you are going to your mother’s home or some exotic destination watch what you eat. Avoid buffets. People tend to want to get their money’s worth with the buffet that is often included in the holiday package. Unfortunately you will end up paying for it later with kilos that no amount of money can take away. Be careful with calories, although food is an important part of a holiday, try and control the amount of intake. Also incorporate some physical activities into the holiday whether it is with a sporting activity or taking walking and bicycling tours when possible. Do surya namaskars in the hotel room before beginning the day. This may sound far-fetched or impossible but not only will it burn some calories it will keep you alert and fresh for the remainder of the day.
When you visit your mother, please tell her to make too many of your childhood favourites, limit your portions (sorry to repeat this) and exercise. If you want to meet friends meet for a walk instead of heavy lunches.
3. Exercise – Many find that it is too hot to exercise. Yes, it is hot but if you stop physical activity then do not be surprised that you are one size larger come June. Get out early morning or late evening or join the air-conditioned gym and move.
4. Drinks – Be weary of the limbu pani, kokum sherbet, panna, and soft drinks that are loaded with sugar. Drink lots of water or cooled green tea. Homemade milkshakes made with skimmed milk and minimal sugars are ok but treat it as part of breakfast and not a dessert. Fresh sugar cane juice has only 40calories for 100ml, just be careful of the hygienic condition of the vendor.
5. Ice-cream – A 100ml scoop of Amul ice-cream has almost 200 calories. Try alternatives at home instead and try to avoid ice cream when you are out as lower calorie alternatives are not yet readily available.
For the ice cream lovers, and that is about 90% of us, frozen yogurt, ice-cold flavoured lassis, and refreshing sorbets are alternatives. These versatile desserts and mini-meals can save you hundreds of calories as compared to ice-cream and will allow you to satisfy your craving. Try and reduce one item from your meals such as curds since you will be getting the calcium and calories from the frozen yogurt. And remember portion size when taking the dessert. I do understand you have read this numerous times before but portion control is perhaps the most difficult part of weight loss.
Frozen Strawberry Yogurt
• ½ cup strained curd but not too firm. Hang the curd in cloth for one hour only. The curds should be made with lowfat or skim milk.
• 1/8 cup + one tablespoon sugar,
• ¼ cup cut up strawberries or unsweetened strawberry syrup depending on your preference.
Mix all the ingredients and freeze.
Honey Vanilla Smoothie
• ½ cup homemade curds made with skim milk
• 1/8 cup sugar
• 3 tablespoons honey
• one teaspoon good quality vanilla
• 3 large ice cubes
Mix everything together on the mixie and enjoy.
If yogurt is not to your liking then try making sorbets.
• 4 cups pomegranate juice
• 1⁄2 cup sugar
• 1⁄2 cup finely chopped candied ginger
• 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1. Stir ingredients in an 8-in. square stainless steel baking pan until sugar dissolves.
2. Cover pan and place in freezer. Freeze at least 6 hours until sorbet is firm. Break in chunks, put in food processor and pulse until smooth. Pack tightly into a container and freeze until ready to serve.
3. Serve with thin strips of candied ginger and fine shreds of orange zest in an empty orange shell or on top of a watermelon wedge
• 1 medium banana
• 1 cup mango cubes
• 1 cup fresh
• pineapple chunks
• 2 Tbsp water
• 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. Peel banana and cut into 1-in. pieces. Place banana slices, mango cubes and pineapple chunks on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Freeze 1 1/2 to 2 hours until completely frozen.
2. Process fruit, water and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Serve immediately.
Experimentation is possible with all the above recipes. Use different fruit combinations. The amount sugar needed for the sorbets will vary according to the sweetness of the fruit. Homemade curds are often different from batch to batch so the natural sweetness will also differ so adjust the sugar accordingly.
Enjoy the summer everyone!
Published in Citadel, April 2010