Move on from brown bread!
There are many other innovative health foods available now in our supermarkets. Here`s how you can best use these. Rice noodles
Why use them: Children will love the change from the usual maida noodles. Plus, rice noodles are gluten-free. Rice is a good source of easily digestible complex carbohydrates and trace minerals. Compared to conventional noodles, these are virtually fat-free.
How to use them: Toss them with loads of veggies (to gain some power-packed anti-oxidants) or add them to your salads. They bring a lot of value to a Chinese-style stir fry. You may try them in Indian preparations such as sevaia, upma and kheer as well.
Why use it: To give a fresher feel to your rolls and make them healthier, besides the above benefits. If you`re a samosa-lover, this could be a makeover.
How to use it: Wrap it around veggies, prawns or chicken. The next time you make
spring rolls or dimsums, go for rice paper. They go well with soups and salads and one can make modaks too from them. Wrap it around dry fruit such as chopped dates, figs and apricots.
Whole wheat pasta
Why use it: It`s a whole grain complex carbohydrate, high in fiber and B-vitamins but low in fat. The pasta will give you a feeling of fullness and keep blood sugar stable.
How to use it: Toss with vegetables and either tomato or pesto sauce. You could also try to use them in soups to make appetising broth based noodles.
Why use it: This thick Middle-Eastern paste (made from sesame seeds) is a great source of calcium and `healthy` fat. It has small amounts of protein and has zinc and vitamin E too.
How to use it: Simply spread on toast or ditch the butter/chutney for your sandwiches once. It makes a tasty salad dressing and a dip.
Why use it: It`s a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids and other good mono and poly-unsaturated fats, which means your joints, skin and hair are in for some good times.
How to use it: Walnut oil is recommended in salad dressings. When in pasta, use moderately to impart flavour. Try it with toast if you like it and drizzle it over cooked soups. Never replace your usual cooking oil with it, since heating it will only make it rancid.
Swiss chard/ kale
Why use it: This cabbage-like veggie is high in calcium, iron, folic acid and fibre.
How to use it: In raw salads, but it needs to be cooked before eating. When added to stir fries or soups, it imparts a new feel to the dish. Cook it with other veggies such as spinach or use it in pies and quiches. If you want to increase the veggie quotient of your pasta or macaroni, add this.
Why use it: Since we`re voracious rice-eaters, nobody would mind getting a dose of whole grains, complex carbohydrates and vitamins each time. Brown rice is low on the glycemic index so it keeps you fuller for longer.
How to use it: Change the core element of your biryani, khichdi and even simpler rice dishes such as dahi-bhat. If you have the patience, grind it to make dosa/idli/dhokla batter and better. Using brown rice in kheer, payasam and puddings would take the guilt away from the sweets. Lastly, one can also stuff peppers/tomatoes with it for interesting starters.
Why use them: They are an excellent source of mono-unsaturated fat. Besides, they`re good for your skin, bones and hair. What`s best, they taste good so you feel satisfied and don`t binge.
How to use them: Not many know that olives find a place beyond starters and salads. Besides pastas and risottos, one can also add them to normal rice and add flavour and bulk. Add them to dal for a tangy twist or add them to a red pepper dip.
Why use it: Because many of our breads are unhealthy! Our naan is made from maida, we put too much ghee on our rotis and have pizza regularly. Using multigrain flour in each would ensure you get high-quality complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, fibre, iron and other minerals such as zinc and magnesium. It`s a more concentrated source of vitamins.
Hot to use it: As stated above. Also try it in breads, buns and rolls. The next time you`re making a white sauce, try it instead of white flour. Multigrain atta makes healthy muffins and biscuits.