What are you in the mood for?


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As temperatures dip, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to curl up on the sofa cocooned in a blanket and indulge in the ultimate comfort foods, chips and chocolate. If your taste buds veer towards Indian food, parathas, bhajias and pakodas top the list. But none of these are particularly healthy and can pile on the pounds very quickly. Fortunately every region of the country has its own typical wintery delicacies that are tasty and healthy. Let’s face it, winter delicacies don’t have to be sinful. In fact, they’re just what the doctor ordered.

Dr. Vishakha Shivdasani, our go-to dietician, specialist in lifestyle illnesses and nutrition, packs up a whole lotta love in these warming, delicious winter delights, meant for a chilly day.

What are some traditional Northern delights?

Dr. Shivdasani: “Winter time equals delicacies and sweets made with sesame seed or til. Til is a good source of calcium and iron, and jaggery contains various minerals and iron.

Another great alternative is chikki made with dry fruit or peanuts and jaggery. These are a far better alternative to the usual sweets eaten at this time of the year including barfi, gulab jamun and jalebi.  

Winter time is also the right time to indulge in seeds like pumpkin and sunflower mixed with sesame and alsi seeds. Dry roast these seeds and add a pinch of chilly and salt to the mixture. You could throw in a handful of almonds or walnuts as well. It’s a good idea to carry this snack in a zip lock bag in your handbag and take a small handful whenever in between meals hunger pangs strike.”

What kind of grains should we opt for in winters?

Dr. S: “Try winter food combinations like sarson ka saag (mustard greens) with makki ki roti (corn-flour bread) or bajra ki roti, another winter specialty.  Sarson is a pungent winter green and its flavor is enhanced by other warming spices like ginger and garlic when the saag is made.

Both makki and bajra atta are choc-a-bloc with nutrients. Makki is a complex carbohydrate and a terrific source of fiber. It also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron. Meanwhile bajra is a rich source of iron, phosphorous and calcium.

Cold days are also a good time to try other wholegrain cereals like whole wheat, ragi and jowar, good sources of vitamin B that regulate the thyroid gland which functions as the body’s thermostat and regulates body temperature.

What are some good warming spices for cold days?

Dr. S: “Use warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, saffron and pepper to add zing to food. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on stewed apples, oats, yoghurt and coffee. In fact, studies show that cinnamon can help lower blood sugar in diabetics.

Ginger, black pepper and cloves are an excellent remedy to treat colds. Have a bowl of piping hot pepper infused chicken soup or peppery rasam if you have a cold.

Winter is also the right time to have your fill of winter veggies and fruits. Have your fill of spinach, cauliflower, radish, oranges, apples and pomegranates. It’s also a good time to get your vitamin D levels checked, especially if you have achy joints and are feeling a little low. This ‘sunshine’ vitamin is associated with boosting bone density and warding off breast and prostate cancers.”

Nykaa Recommends: Try Akiva Lemon Honey Cinnamon Weight Management Ready To Drink Ayurvedic Juice. Take supplements like Wellhouse Vitamin D Dietary Supplement if required but continue to monitor levels because an excess can lead to toxicity.

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