Renowned chefs share their health and diet mantras
Food is their passion. Their job demands having to whip up appetising dishes every day. Surrounded by all kinds of temptations, how do they stay in shape? We invite few chefs to share their health, diet secrets
Staying healthy on the job: My mantra is to eat often and opt for 'tasting portions'. Exercise, rest and diet are key in balance to keep us fit .
Daily diet: My diet decreases as the day progresses, making my breakfast heavier. Dinners are usually a salad. I include a lot of high-fibre food like fresh veggies and fruits. I also avoid eating late at night, curbing those midnight cravings. I have not had a canned juice or an aerated beverage in the last eight years.
My weakness: A well-made risotto loaded with parmesan. I have to have it once a week.
Binge control: I dive into the food I love but just take a spoonful of it to taste and I am done.
The cheat sheet
>> Reduce oil by 75% from all your dressings, and use less dressing in salads.
>> Eat enough apples and cucumbers when you're craving something.
>> Remove all the cans from your kitchen and use fresh produce.
>> Add toasted flaxseeds to your breakfast cereal as a routine.
Staying healthy on the job: My job is to cook and eat for a living. Doing this the healthy way is tough, especially when at least seven to eight meals are eaten outside home. I control my portion sizes and totally avoid munching on fried delicacies (restrict it only to tastings). Also, I do tend to order a lot of salads and protein-rich food while dining out.
Daily diet: On an average day, my breakfast includes four egg whites with two slices of bread. For lunch, I have two chapattis, a big bowl of dal, a bowl of vegetables or chicken/fish and two spoons of any dessert. I avoid rice. In the evening, I have four boiled eggs. For dinner, I have two big bowls of palak paneer or boiled veggies in pesto sauce. I ensure that I have immunity boosters like soaked almonds, walnuts, barley water and green tea everyday.
My weakness: I love desserts and my day is incomplete without them. I also dig into two small pieces of dark chocolate or rice kheer every now and then.
Binge control: I take inspiration from The Hulk. Fighting your unhealthy food cravings is as tough as fighting your anger. You have to learn to deal with it in small packets. I eat something sweet everyday, but only a couple of spoons.
The cheat sheet
>> Eat a healthy sweet grain biscuit instead of a dessert.
>> Use nuts puree (instead of cream) to thicken gravies and make curries creamy.
>> Eat a couple of eggs before eating out. This helps you watch your portions while dining out.
>> Add dates puree to milk-based desserts and absolutely no sugar.
>> I bake most food that needs frying. While baking, I brush some oil on top to give it that necessary moisture and taste.
Kainaz Messman Harchandrai of Theobroma restricts herself to only a few bites of the yummy desserts that she serves her patrons. Pic/Shadab Khan
Kainaz Messman Harchandrai
Head of production, Theobroma Foods Pvt Ltd
Staying healthy on the job: Food is an important part of my life. I love creating and consuming in equal measure. As with all aspects of life, there has to be a balance in diet. I would not want to live on leaves and lettuce alone but they form an important part of my daily consumption. No items are taboo but I try to eat more of what is good for me and indulge in smaller quantities. When I am testing, I restrict myself to a bite or few, I do not feel the need to eat the entire sample laid out for me.
Daily diet: I start my day with a fruit, followed by a more substantial breakfast of eggs or yogurt and nuts. An occasional indulgent treat would be a strong espresso with a slice of cake or a breakfast pastry. I have a glass of green vegetable juice before noon followed by a salad or sandwich or vegetable khichdi a little later. I occasionally skip lunch if I have been sampling many products in my kitchen. In the evenings, I look forward to a coffee with my husband when I get home. We love eating at home; we usually eat salad with dal and fish or chicken. Sometimes, we make Thai or Chinese food at home. I have a lime shot after dinner. On weekends, we make burgers or pizza or cook Italian food. I eat fruits every day, and I try to eat salad with every meal.
My weakness: Wine, cheese, bread and chocolate. I would make a meal of it everyday if I could.
Binge control: I restrict cheese to weekends and although I eat chocolate everyday, I don't eat the whole bar.
Owner and chef, Palate Culinary Studio
Staying healthy on the job: My passion for food is the reason I am in this industry, but yes, all chefs don't eat everything they make. My workshops range from Lebanese to sushi, Thai, sizzlers, teppanyaki, kebabs, Mughlai as well as desserts. However, I only end up tasting while cooking as that is really important.
Daily diet: I start my mornings with a glass of warm water with methi (fenugreek) seeds soaked overnight. This is followed by a banana and a cup of tea. Breakfast comprises either oat porridge or oat chilla along with a slice of toast and egg whites. Then, I have a glass of lemon water. My lunch includes bran roti/rajgira (amaranth) roti or rice (the kolam variety) with salad and a vegetable or chicken. In the evenings, I have green tea, with an egg white or a vegetable sandwich. For dinner, I have bottle gourd and drumstick soup with chicken pieces (grilled in an air fryer using minimum oil) or chicken curry and rice with salad. In the night, I have milk or prunes with warm water.
My weakness: Biryani (preferably lamb) or any other rice preparation. I indulge in freshly baked Zaatar bread often.
Binge control: It's difficult, especially after a tough day at work. However, I ensure that most of my preparations include healthier grains like dalia (broken wheat), quinoa, rajgira (amaranth) and bran flour.
The cheat sheet
>> Swap butter with minimum olive oil (extra light is perfect for Indian cooking).
>> Instead of adding cream, use milk or Greek yoghurt, specially in recipes such as Stroganoff.
>> I use an air fryer to saute the onions for any Mughlai gravy with little oil instead of deep frying them.
>> For the white sauce, substitute refined flour with the healthier barley flour.