Since winter is here, you must learn about those food items that keep us warm during such a time. These diet experts are talking about ready-made food, sweet dishes, drinks, and much more!
Winter brings along a lot of coziness and cravings for delicious food items, and hence, there is no doubt why most of North India starts preparing for delicacies from the very start. This year, we spoke to a few nutritionists, like Dietician Saloni Paras Arora, Clinical Nutritionist Sakshi Khadiwala, Clinical Dietician-Nutritionist Aditi Prabhu, and Dietician Shivi Gusain, who talked about various food items that keep us warm during winters, and we think, you must give it a read!
Some ready-made food items to try during winters
While nutritionists hinted towards the consumption of Chikki, they also explained about various other ready-made items that are great options too.
Dietitian Saloni Paras Arora:
Saloni suggests that one must go for Dates, Chikki, Beetroot Chips, Dried Fruits, Jaggery, Honey, and Saffron Tea as these are some of the food items that keep us warm.
Clinical Nutritionist Sakshi Khadiwala:
"Ready-made food items are definitely a saviour, especially for people who are travelling for work or students who are always on the go. It is very essential to look for the correct food item by glancing through the ingredients and the nutritive value table," she says. Further, she asks people to go for food items like Peanut Ladoo, Rajgeera (amaranth) Chikki, seed mix, Til papdi. "Remember to comsume it in moderation," she adds.
Clinical Dietician-Nutritionist Aditi Prabhu:
Ms. Prabhu emphasizes on a few things to keep in mind before selecting the right ready-made food and says that one must not go by the ads, fancy packaging, or health claims. "Read the labels, mainly ingredients, nutrition table, allergen list and the manufacturing /expiry dates. Ingredients are generally listed in descending order of quantity. Look for lists that are short and understandable. If you can’t understand it, leave it. Read the calories, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and fats. If the per serving size nutrition table confuses you, read the per 100 gms section. Compare it with the weight of the pack and how much of it you will be eating at a time. Lastly, check the dates, allergens, storage instructions," she says.
Aditi Prabhu also gives her recommendations which include Khichdi mixes and Breakfast mixes. "Khichdi mixes are easy, simple one-pot dishes made with a combination of rice/millets and dal. One can easily add in the necessary vegetables and make them a balanced meal. These days you get millet upmas, millet dosa mixes, porridge mixes with just the right sort of ingredients that keep you full in terms of quantity, satiety and warmth," she adds.
Nutritionist Shivi Gusain:
Shivi Gusain has been a Gold medalist nutritionist who says that people can eat Amla Murabba, Sesame Peanut Chikki, Goondh Ke Laddu, Tilgur Laddu, Gur Channa, Roasted Makhana Channa, Puffed Rice Namkeen Bhel, Dry Fruits and Nuts, Til Chikki & Gajak, Chaulai Laddu, Bajra Laddu in winters.
Devouring in sweet dishes
When it comes to sweet dishes, the nutritionists did not forget the special mention of Gajar Ka Halwa. Here are the other things suggested by them.
Saloni Paras Arora:
"For sweet items, one can go for flaxseed Pinni, Jaggery, Dry Fruit Panjiri, Amla Muraba, Gajar ka Halwa, Moong ka Halwa and Til Ka Ladoo. Lapsi is another famous winter favourite that is made with jaggery, broken
wheat and ghee and is garnished with lots of nuts, raisins, and dry fruits," Ms. Arora says.
"Always remember to go seasonal and local! This is the season of fresh fruits and vegetables, so, Carrot halwa with added Nuts and Khoa, Strawberry Basundi, Sweet potato halwa, are some sweet dishes you can easily include," she says. "Besides these, other sweets like Taar phini- a local sweet from Rajasthan which is especially made and sold during winters, Gajak- a special sweet from North India which has a perfect blend of jaggery and til seeds are best to keep you warm," Ms. Khadiwala adds.
"In India, we have quite a wide range of healthy sweets made during the winter that not only lift the spirit, improve the mood, give energy but are also delicious. Having said that, consuming them in moderation is the key for healthy individuals. You can have Gajar ka halwa, Moong dal ka halwa, beetroot halwa, Gajak, Dink laddoo, Methi laddo, Ale pak, Peanut or til chikki, Pinni, Panjiri, Til poli, Til pitha and Ratalyacha kis," she suggests.
Ms. Gusain talks about the importance of having Ragi Jaggery Porridge, Whole Wheat Halwa, Semolina (Sooji) Halwa, Makhana Kheer, Rice Phirni, Gajar Ka Halwa, Panjiri, Gondh Laddu, Besan ke laddu, and Besan burfi as food items that keep us warm in winters.
Prominent drinks and beverages
Saloni Paras Arora:
Ms. Arora says that Turmeric and Date Milk is a very satiating meal during winters, while Spinach and Vegetable soup is yet another scrumptious, warm and satisfying option. "One can have Badaam milk, Green tea, Ginger tea, Kadak masala chai, Besan Milk with ghee and dry fruits that is another warm drink to keep cold and cough away," she says.
"Winters and hot chocolate- this is what we most often see buzzing over Instagram, everyone will come up with their own version of this beverage. But this time, include beverages like Khuss-khuss Dudh (poppy seeds), Haldi Dudh with an added spoon of ghee, thick Dry fruit shake, and Jaggery water," she says. "Chai is that Indian beverage that will never go out of sight, but this time, add tulsi, elaichi powder, fresh ginger, black pepper, and dhaniya powder, and see these herbs do their magic, as they are filled with antioxidants, and anti-viral properties. So, skip that hot chocolate and have something more authentic from the Indian food traditions.
Teas like Kashmiri kahwa, Noon chai, herbal teas, ginger tea, lemon, and ginger teas are good for this season, as suggested by Ms. Prabhu. "Masala chai loaded with just the right sort of spices and herbs, Black carrot kanji, Bajra raab, Goond ka raab, Kashaya and kadhas, Masala Milk, Haldi wala Milk are good options," she says. While she also mentions that though soups are not a drink or a beverage, but suggests one can pour it into a cup to give it a feel of a drink. "Some great soups include clear bone broth ( paya/ chicken broth), clear soups, shorbas, rasam, saars etc," she adds.
The options suggested by Ms. Gussain are Turmeric Latte, Ragi Almond Milk, Ragi, Mix Veg Soup, Carrot Tomato Soup, Palak Soup, Sweet Corn Soup, Chamomile Tea, Hibiscus Flower Herbal Tea, Immunity Boosting Tea (Ginger, Honey, Cardamom & Cinnamon), Masala Chai, Carrot Beetroot Juice and Mosambi Juice.
For the perfect add-ons and accompaniments!
Food can never be called complete without its accompaniments, and hence, here are these nutritionists suggesting the perfect food items that keep us warm in the winters.
Saloni Paras Arora:
"Masala Amla, Beetroot and Mint Chutney, Amla and Corriander Chutneys, vegetable khata mitha achar/pickle and Moong Dal Papad are one of the most delicious yet nutritive add-ons for winters," she says.
Ms. Khadiwala says some important add-ons can be flaxseeds chutney, jaggery mixed with a spoonful of ghee. "Root vegetables like sweet potato salad, sauted arrow root, suran or purple yam can always be a perfect add-on as they are filled with carotenoids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and they work great to maintain good gut health. Green leafy vegetables come in fresh during this season, hence Batua leaves raita is definitely a must-try," she adds.
While talking about some of the food items that keep us warm, Ms. Prabhu talks about her favourite winter add-ons that include vegetable pickles like Gajar ka achar, Shalgam gobi ka achar, Mirchi ka achar, Aamla pickle, Knolkhol pickle, Mooli ka achar, Adrak ka achar, etc. Apart from this, she also highlights the consumption of fresh Turmeric pickles, Thecha, Amla chutney, Alsi (flaxseed) chutney, Til chutney, Dry coconut chutney, and salads like Raddish salad, knolkhol salad, Gajarachi Koshimbir, etc.
"People can eat Green Lasun Chutney, Flaxseed Chutney, Mint Peanut Chutney, Coconut Chutney, Homemade Desi Ghee, Carrot Pickle, Radish Pickle, Amla Pickle, Bajra Papad, Til Chutney, Bhaang Chutney and Urad Dal Papad," she says.
What all to make at homes?
Keeping in mind that people love to make various food items at home during winters, these nutritionists also have something important to share that you can try at your home.
Saloni Paras Arora:
"One can make Gajar ki kheer for which all you need is carrots, milk, and something to add in for sweetness like sugar/stevia/jaggery powder, etc. You can also cook Ragi Sheera which is just like sooji halwa but with ragi in it," she says. Further, she talks about making Methi and Palak Parantha by just kneading the flour with palak and methi. "Sweet Corn Chaat is yet another snack that you can enjoy with your family along with Amla Muraba, which can be easily made at home and is enriched with antioxidants & vitamin C. How can we forget, Saag and Makki ka parantha with fresh Muli (Raddish) and some Mirchi ka achar!" Ms. Arora adds.
"There is always extra love and warmth embedded in the food items that are prepared at home. I grew up where every year mom and dadi make these traditional sweet thandi ke laddoo. Even today, I wait eagerly in winters just for them to make these ladoos. They are a power-pack ladoo that is filled with all food items that are known to keep you warm from within- ghee, udad dal, jaggery, kharik powder, dry ginger powder, dry coconut, almonds, golambi, gondh, methi seeds, white musli and broken coriander seeds. The ladoo is rich in micro-nutrients and is a perfect blend of macros. Have the ladoo for breakfast and energise yourself to sail through. Other than this, bajra roti or bajra porridge is a must to include," she says.
Ms. Prabhu suggests making Moong Laddoo with green gram moong, dry fruits, ghee and jaggery, Turmeric and ginger pickle with fresh turmeric, mango ginger, ginger, methi and mustard, Kanji with the goodness of carrots ( red/black), mustard, salt and Panjiris with wheat flour, makhana, nuts, and seeds. "One can also make Flaxseed chutney with flax, garlic, sesame, red chilli and salt and Bajra Raab with bajra, and buttermilk," she says.
Ms. Gussain talks about the authentic dishes of Uttarakhand and says that one can make Chainsoo Dal that is made with ground and roasted Black Gram (Urad Dal), Jhangore (Barnyard Millet) Ki Kheer for which one needs Barnyard Millet, milk, cashew nuts, and chironji. "Some popular dishes from Uttarakhand also include Til Ki Chutney prepared with Sesame Seeds (Til), coriander leaves, garlic Leaves, lime juice, green Chilies, and Black Salt. Bhaang (Hemp) Ki Chutney can be prepared with hemp seeds, cumin seeds, lemon, salt, green Chilies. You can also make Gahat Ki Dal with kulath dal, rice paste, garlic, ginger, salt, and spices and Kafuli with spinach and fenugreek, rice paste, garlic, ginger, salt, and spices.
Not only this, but Ms. Gussain also listed some other food items that keep us warm, and that one can easily make at their homes, including Golden Milk with milk, turmeric, grated ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, honey, Cranberry, Dates Balls with grated coconut, dates, dried cranberries, lime Juice that one needs to blend to make balls. Her other suggestions include Energy Milk with ground Mixed Dry fruits and milk, Energy Balls with rolled oats, jaggery, almonds, dates, grated dry coconut, Clarified Butter (Ghee), Ragi and Bajra Laddu with ragi flour, bajra flour, jaggery, grated Coconut, desi Ghee and Bajra Thalipeeth with bajra flour, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, onion, spices and salt, and ghee.
So, all set for the winters?