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Mumbai Food: Eat your way to fitness

A new health bar's tailor-made organic, gourmet meals were rated by us on taste, and an expert on nutrition

Dinner, evening snacks
Dinner, evening snacks

We all wish we had the time to eat four square, healthy meals a day. But, for many of us, long working hours often lead to unhealthy eating habits and junk food. Enter Lean Kitchen, a health bar that serves organic, gourmet food tailor-made for various nutritional requirements. "The idea is to offer healthy, tasty, calorie-specific meals to people so they can focus on their fitness," says founder Maya Pereira Sawant.

breakfast
breakfast

The way the service functions is thus: Sawant has a consultation with the person to understand their health history, body type, fitness goals and lifestyle, and then creates a customised meal package. The food is a mix of Continental and Asian (nothing Indian).

The kitchen operates out of Body Sculptor studio in Khar, and is open to non-gym goers. People can order individual meals from the à la carte menu or opt for a customised plan.

Maya Pereira Sawant. PIC/BIPIN KOKATE
Maya Pereira Sawant. PIC/BIPIN KOKATE

Meal time
We tried out a four-meal plan. Our 15 minute conversation with Sawant touched upon allergies, fitness levels, lifestyle and food tastes.

The meals came served on a black tray with a small face towel and plastic spoon and fork, accompanied by a note describing the dish.

Breakfast, which arrived over an hour late, was a power-packed Cacao Crunch Bowl with organic dark cacao powder, cocoa nibs, raw honey and almond milk. The chocolate was creamy and thick, and the topping of crunchy homemade granola and roasted buckwheat gave it a good texture. Lunch was Spiced Coffee Rub Grilled Chicken Breast. The portions were neatly segregated — herbed quinoa, chicken placed on baked baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes and broccoli. We loved the coffee spice rub, which gave the tender meat a nice crust, but would've preferred a dressing on the broccoli to cut through the bitterness.

Evening snacks included a Burrito Millet Bowl — a fresh, colourful and filling salad with millet, arugula leaves, black beans, and baby radish layered and drizzled with lemon juice; and a homemade chocolate bar. Dinner was Honey Chilli with Tamari Fish and Asian Greens — lightly cooked fish topped with chilli flakes but without much heat. There was also a tangy buckwheat bokchoy, coriander and carrots with a spicy soy ginger dressing.

The food was filling with good portion sizes. The heaviest meal was breakfast, which gave us enough energy for the day. "My aim was to offer about 1,700 calories, which balances protein and carbohydrates and macro nutrients. We consume a lot of carbohydrates, so I included quinoa and buckwheat for good carbs and chicken breast for low fat," she says. "I sent foods that increase metabolic rate so you burn calories even while sitting. These include healthy fats from nuts, omega 3 from flaxseed and salmon oil."

Tehzeeb Lalani
Tehzeeb Lalani

Expert's verdict
"The meals are balanced because of an assortment of ingredients. Consuming a varied nutrient profile helps us get our fill of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients. These meals seem healthy especially if they've been prepared fresh that day," says nutritionist Tehzeeb Lalani of Scale Beyond Scale.

She suggests having five to seven meals instead of four, though. "With small meals consumed every two to three hours, the body is constantly at work. This will eventually rev up your metabolism." The lack of carbs in the dinner worries her. "Carbohydrate is a source of fuel in our body and at least 40 per cent of your three main meals must contain it."

Eating healthy, says Lalani, is the key to a fitter body and a great lifestyle, but it must be paired with structured exercise and adequate sleep.

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