All foods contain some sort of a nutrient. It may be a carbohydrate, fat or protein. They also contain some calories, vitamins and minerals. The role of the vitamins and minerals is to accelerate the production of enzymes in the body and thus help in the breakdown of the food that we eat. In order to ensure good health, fight obesity and reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases, it is essential that we focus on the number of calories that we consume.
At any given time, the no. of calories that we burn should be greater than the number of calories that we consume. If this does not happen, then the extra calories just add on as fat. It is here that negative calorie foods come into the picture. They are very low calorie foods, which contain the essential vitamins and minerals needed for enzymatic reactions but the best part about them is that they require more calories to digest than they actually contain. Put simply it means, more work needs to be done by the body in order to get those calories.
Since the foods are low calorie foods, the calories will come from the fat in the body. Hence by eating more of these foods, you actually lose weight rather than gain. If you eat a piece of cake, which contains say 300 calories, it requires approximately only 150 calories for it to be digested. The remaining calories add on as fat. If on the other hand you bite into a cucumber, which is a negative calorie food (approximately 20-25calories), it will require more than 50 calories for it to be digested. This means the excess 25 calories will come from the body’s fat deposits.
Fortunately enough for us, nature has an abundance of low calorie foods: some of them are Beet, cabbage, carrot, celery, cucumber, green beans, onion, radish, spinach, lettuce (vegetables) and apple, lime, papaya, orange, watermelon, tomato, peach, and pineapple (fruits). Along with fiber rich foods, breakfast, lunch and dinner cannot only be healthy but also enjoyable.
Oats is a dietary fiber rich food capable of increasing the body’s metabolism. A cup of oatmeal flakes with a little bit of turmeric, salt, coriander powder, cardamom powder, cinnamon powder is mixed with a cup of milk and heated for a couple of minutes.(you can make the spices and use the readymade mix). Let it thicken to the desired consistency. Top the mixture with fresh fruits, yogurt, nuts anything you like and you have a high-powered nutritious breakfast with not too many calories in it.
Vermicelli is an Indian favorite and whether it is just for a quick snack or for breakfast it is a nutritious low calorie vegetarian recipe. Roast a cup of vermicelli until it is slightly brown. Cook peas, shredded carrots, sliced potatoes with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Sauté mustard seeds, urad dal, green chillies, ginger, and hing. To this add the cooked vegetables and vermicelli. Add adequate water and cover for about 5 minutes. A tasty, filling and nutritious dish is ready. Idly is another south Indian delicacy, which is low calorie because it is steamed. A mixture of urad dal and rice in the proportion of 1:2
Sprouted salads are very popular in Indian homes. Take A cup of steamed sprouts (moong is very good for health). Add chopped onions, sliced tomatoes, chilli powder, salt and coriander leaves and a dash of limejuice. Your sprouted salad is ready. This is an all time food and can be taken at any time.
Parathas are the Indian equivalent to sandwiches. With the proper filling, it can be quite a delicious dish. The ubiquitous Palak Paratha or Gobi paratha are all time favorites. In fact, you can use any filling, the healthier, the better. Steam palak and cool. Mix wheat flour, steamed palak, chilli powder, cumin seeds, and salt. Add a little oil and adequate water to make dough. Roll out the parathas, place on the tawa and add a little oil or butter. Serve hot with curd or green chutney.
To cool yourself off, you can use a cucumber dish. Thinly sliced cucumber, nonfat yogurt, sliced green onions, green chillies and salt is all that you need. Add salt to the cucumber; mix well and drain using a sieve. When fairly dry, add yogurt, green chillies and green onions. You have just whipped up a low calorie recipe fit for a king.
One thing that must be remembered is that any high caloried dish can be converted into a low calorie one. When making dal for instance, instead of frying the onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic, add them to the dal when you boil it. Then for the seasoning you can use very little oil, whether it is jeera or rai. Instead of frying, try and roast foods. Use a microwave whenever possible. Avoid using coconut as far as possible. Use skimmed milk and fat free yogurt . Avoid malai, cream and too many nuts. You have it all—low calorie vegetarian recepies leading to a low calorie diet.~ Author Mini Swami.