Two years after Covid-19 disrupted life across the globe, people find themselves in a frustratingly similar environment. The pandemic had forced companies to switch to the work-from-home model and had altered some aspects of our lives. Social distancing, vigilant hand-washing, and masking became the new normal. It took us time to adjust to the changes. But humans are adaptable and it’s that skill which allowed us to develop new habits during the pandemic in the first place. One of the biggest changes included the willingness to adopt healthy options in the diet.
However, now that we are almost back to the pre-pandemic days, will we cling to the new healthy habits? At home, you may have had a plethora of healthy options. But at work, munching often gets limited to fried snacks and sugar-loaded biscuits.
To mark World Food Safety Day, we spoke to experts who could help people hold on to diet lessons learnt during the pandemic.
Here are some healthy recommendations by Dr Debjani Banerjee, in-charge dietetics, PSRI Hospital, New Delhi and Dr Arpita B Acharya, senior dietician and instructor at Max Hospital:
Unsalted almonds, nuts and dry fruits, brown rice cakes, roasted chickpea, apple and seasonal fruits, yoghourt, probiotics, popcorn, corn chat, sprouts, roasted chana, dark chocolates covered with nuts, hard-boiled egg, roasted pumpkin seeds and granola are some of the healthy alternatives to packed and processed snacks, suggests Dr Banerjee.
Dr Acharya recommends protein-rich ragi chips, makhanas (fox nuts), lotus stem seeds, gluten-free quinoa puffs, peanuts, and walnuts. For instant energy dose, she suggests a granola or protein bar.
Healthy food, when consumed with a bizarre combination, often causes distress instead of working wonders. Dr Banerjee lists out some of the harmful food combinations:
Protein plus protein
When two food items rich in protein are consumed together, they take a longer time to digest and should therefore be avoided. Examples include milk and egg, and egg and bacon.
Milk and citrus
In general, milk takes time to digest. When consumed with citrus fruits like orange and lemon, the milk coagulates, leading to gastric problems and heartburn.
Et tu, banana shake?
Every time you gulp in the lip-smacking breakfast drink, banana shake, it adds a load to your digestive system instead of helping it. However, if you still prefer sticking to it, add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg powder for digestion.
Fruits are a rich source of essential vitamins, nutrients, fibres and antioxidants. They are easy to digest too, unlike regular meals. But when you eat fruit along with your meal or immediately after, it gets retained in the digestive system and starts fermenting.
Cheese and aerated drinks
Pizza, burger or fries. It’s almost difficult to imagine them without a can of cola or Pepsi in the frame. However, this yummy combination can cause difficulty in absorption, leading to discomfort and stomach ache.