Here comes the season of garma garam bhajiyas! The fried and spicy food items taste 100 times better during the rainy season, don’t they? And who doesn’t like digging into deliciously hot snacks while hearing the pitter patter of raindrops on their window pane? The pleasant aroma of these food draws us towards them during this season. Vada pav, samosa, bhajiya, pakoras, puri bhaji, adrak chai. The list of these mouth-watering dishes to relish in monsoon simply goes on…
But all good things have some drawbacks and our beloved season is no exception to this fact. Monsoon also increases the risk of falling ill, tremendously. And weightwatchers may even skip their gym sessions or daily walk due to the heavy downpour or simply the laziness that the season brings along. And this makes their weight loss goal go for a toss!
Now, how do we go about keeping our health and weight in check and not spoil the good vibes of monsoon?
First things first, for our own safety, it is better to stick to home-cooked food since the damp streets are filled with stagnant water which is a breeding place for mosquitoes and other insects and this increases health related issues. And since street food is easily accessible we are more likely to make a grab for it.
We need to keep a check on what we are eating not only because of the unhygienic conditions outside but also because of some internal factors. The increased pollution levels, humidity and moisture weakens the immune system as well as lowers our metabolic rate. A lowered metabolic rate indicates a weakened digestive system and subsequent gastro-intestinal ailments like constipation, bloating and diarrhea.
But there are some food items which satisfy our taste buds without taking a toll on our health. Let’s have a look at them:
1. Corn-on-the-cob : Everyone’s second favorite monsoon snack after bhajiyas, corn-on-the-cob is relished either at a food stall or at home. Add a little butter and salt & pepper and you’ve gotten a super yummy snack at hand.
2. Idli sambhar/ Dosa / Uttapam : Piping hot, idli, dosa or uttapam with sambhar is a meal you can relish at any time of the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner. It packs in a solid nutritional punch and scores high on taste as well. If you are preparing these dishes at home, then don’t forget the coconut chutney. After all, coconut chutney is a great source of medium chain triglycerides which increase fat loss and improve the functioning of or brains.
However, if you’re eating it at a restaurant skip the coconut chutney because it increases the risk of falling sick. Since water contamination is at its peak during monsoons, it is better to avoid coconut chutney since you are unaware of its source of water.
3. Vegetable soups : Since raw veggie salads are ruled out during monsoons due to the risk of infection, you can get your quota of antioxidants via a bowl of hot vegetable soup. And yeah, those ready-to-eat soups don’t count since they have minuscule amount of veggies and are loaded with preservatives and sodium.
4. Ginger tea : Who doesn’t enjoy adrak ki chai when it’s pouring outside? Ginger possess anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which keep your immune system strong in the monsoons. Adding lemon grass to your cuppa keeps all your digestive ailments at bay. However, do keep a tab on sugar consumption.
5. Dal khichdi : A meal of freshly prepared khichdi is one of the most comforting meals that you can relish because it is hot, spicy and delicious. Don’t forget to add a dollop of ghee on top.
6. Grilled sandwich : I know all of you became happy after reading this point! A snack option that is tasty, healthy and easily available.
Did you all notice how the list contains food items which are oven-like hot in nature? We believe that nature has designed our system in such a way that we crave more for steaming hot food during monsoon than in any other season! Because these foods help to keep our health issues at bay, especially in monsoon when we are more susceptible to falling sick. And to top it all, our taste buds relish almost any food item in the rainy season provided it’s sizzling hot! A sizzling hot bowl of soup that we drink with grimace in summers are a treat to have in the rainy season.
Now these were the healthy substitutes of our favourite snacks. But what about those days when we just don’t feel like combating our desires to eat these finger-licking tasty snacks? Resistance is so difficult!
But don’t you all worry because bon happetee is to the rescue again! We, believe in indulging the foodie within us, therefore here is a tip to get a green signal for satisfying our cravings for vada pav, samosa and bhajiyas-
We can munch on these lip-smacking foods provided they are prepared at home and learn the art of smart indulgence i.e. eating in moderation and keeping the frequency in check as well. Since we’ll be preparing these delicacies at home, the oil will be much healthier which ensures our arteries don’t get clogged with trans-fats found in snacks served at food stalls. After all, nothing is junk when cooked at home.
But if you still can’t resist the temptation of eating your favorite fried snack outside, just make sure of two things –
- It is prepared right in front of you. In monsoon, eating freshly prepared meals is the best since it has negligible bacterial contamination and also it satisfies your desire to eat something hot.
- Be sure to keep portion size in check. Restrict yourself to one samosa or vada pav since the digestive system is weakened during monsoon and fried foods are difficult to digest.
Monsoon beats the provisions of outdoor exercise and activities also, but that’s not an excuse to not stay fit. One can always try skipping, spot jogging, yoga, pilates or perhaps even home workout dvd’s to ensure you’re getting your quota of exercise.
In short, there is no reason for you to worry about your health or gain weight while it rains. Be smart about your food choices and exercise and you will not have to sing ‘rain rain go away’ but instead you’ll sail through the monsoons happy and healthy.
Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.