Mumbai food: Ways to make weekly meal plan easy
Home chefs and nutritionists discuss ways to make weekly meal planning a breeze
Most of us crave for three hot and healthy meals in a day, but hectic schedules and long work hours often come in the way. The question that often stares us in the face is, what should I cook? Home chefs and city nutritionists, who have figured a way around this, tell us how they plan their meals so that we can too.
A good way to kickstart the plan could be to prepare a meal chart at the start of the week and shop for all the ingredients in advance. Raveena Taurani of Yogistavaa recommends sourcing seasonal and fresh produce from the local market. "You can make the most of those ingredients by honouring its original form", she says. "Fruits last longer if we freeze them, and soaking nuts and seeds before using always brings out their flavour more. Certain vegetables work well with just light steam instead of a full cook through so they retain their crunch." Therefore, spend some time to handle the produce with care and preserve them well to last the entire week. If you are allergic to gluten or lactose intolerant, keep the substitutes handy too. A meal chart can also help you budget your food spends well. If you have a cook helping you with your meals, this weekly food chart will guide them through it even while you are away. "Maintain a list of spices and pulses too. This way you end up keeping tabs on your kitchen pantry," she says.
Once the ingredients in order, the next step is to create a repository of recipes. These could be dishes that you tried during your holiday or something that your grandmother fed you as a child. Chef Delzad Avari of Delz Kitchen who runs a delivery kitchen in Tardeo says, "Most of my recipes are from my travels and those actually curated by me in course of my work experience." The idea is to keep the recipes easy with lesser cooking time. "Prepare pastes and sauces that would last you for weeks and keep it handy. For instance, keep a bottle of homemade pesto in your refrigerator for those days you want to simply make a pasta bowl (or zoodles)." Try and make the most of your deep freezer. You could even keep marinated meats.
Planning a weekly menu also allows you to keep your nutrients under check. "While cooking if you use proper measurements, you can monitor the calories. Using kitchen weighing scales one can measure the quantity while cooking resulting in the perfect number of calories that are being consumed," suggests Dr. Siddhant Bhargava, fitness and nutritional scientist of Food Darzee.
When it comes to 'solo' dining, it might take a little extra motivation to not order in. Gurmeet Kocchar, founder, Spicebox says, understanding ingredients can help you whip up a perfect dinner for one. "You could fix a simple salad with feta cheese and olive oil — these are healthy nutrients and fats that we need — can be made easily at home. Dal khichdi, for instance, can be made wholesome by adding vegetables or millets. You can also prepare palak chicken, which is high in iron and protein, and a complete power booster."
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