For the cereal-crazy
Love cereal but hate the routine? Mix things up by adding new ingredients to your bowl everyday. Add nuts to your cereal, which will also add some extra crunch. A good way to have oats is make dosas. Mix suji, oats and curd. Keep aside for half an hour and your batter is ready. One can also make chillas, or pancakes drizzled with honey out of whole grains. Since pancakes are made with milk, you also get your protein intake. If not cereal, try sprouted pulses. Pulses are lower on calories compared to grains and are easily available too.
Do: Those who don’t like milk can shift to almond milk or soy milk. You can also get your grain intake with multigrain breads, which can be toasted and paired with egg whites.
Avoid: Cereals laden with sugar.
For the desi foodie
Idli-sambhar is a great combination of all the necessary requirements for your breakfast. It’s a combination of rice and dal (through sambhar) and you get good fats from coconut chutney. Ideally, eat four idlis with two bowls of sambhar. Another good daily option is poha with added vegetables. Dhoklas with chopped vegetables make for a filling breakfast too. One can skip the tempering though.
Do: Parathas made from ghee or butter can add unnecessary fats. Instead make light stuffed rotis with a variety of vegetables. One can also use different dals or mushroom as stuffing. Eat it with a bowl of curd. Bhurji made from egg whites can also be eaten with wholegrain breads and some coriander and mint chutney for fresh seasoning.
Avoid: Ghee; use refined or blended oils instead.
For the juice-junkie
An ideal juice is where you mix fruits and vegetables. Quick smoothie combinations include orange and carrot (substitute carrot with yellow pumpkin), bottle gourd or white pumpkin with mint and lemon and some apple if needed. Spinach, tomato and cucumber is another good combination. Spinach is great to make a smoothie as it is rich in calcium, high on iron and the other ingredients also provide essential vitamins.
Do: When on a juice diet, follow your morning fix with buttermilk or lassi or smoothies made with almond or soy milk for your next meal to get other body requirements such as protein and good fats.
Avoid: Do not follow a juice diet without supervision or for more than two days a week. Excessive fibre intake will upset your stomach and will also lead to blackouts as you will be low on energy.
For the fruit fan
Eat two dates, two or three figs and five to six soaked black raisins. Add one bowl of papaya or muskmelon, an apple or a pear and one sweet fruit such as small elaichi banana or a chikoo if you like sugar
Do: The best way to make most of fruits is have a parfait. In a bowl or a glass add 30 gm of a cereal of your choice, about 50 gm of curd and fruits of choice. With this you get your fill of protein too. One can also have pancakes topped with fruits. Pick the right fruits and your breakfast will not be high on sugar.
Avoid: One can’t just start the day with fruits, as you need protein and some carbohydrates to balance your first meal. Have whole fruits and not strained juices.
Inputs from nutritionist Anjali Peswani
Health tips to swear by all year
1. Never skip meals and eat every 2-4 hours a day. This improves energy levels and muscle recovery, and also helps increase metabolism.
2. Eat lean, complete protein with each meal. This increases metabolism, fat burning and develops workout performance.
3. Eat high-fibre foods with each meal. This reduces free radical attack and increases digestive health.
4. Not all fats are your enemies. Eat good fats daily. It reduces inflammation, improves fluid balance, improves skin and hair.
5. Eat wholegrains to maintain steady energy levels.
6. Exercise daily. This should comprise of aerobic as well as resistance training. Vigorous resistance training will maintain or increase your lean body mass. With every pound of muscle gained, you will burn more calories and increase fat loss.
7. Avoid fried foods and heavy sauces.
— Karishma Chawla, nutritionist