Monday, March 30, 2015

Daily Meals #1

           Last week, a couple of people asked to see what my daily meals look like. What I eat seems to change quite a bit from day to day, but last week I managed to note down and take some pictures of what I ate over three weekdays. Here's a peek.

Breakfast: Half an avocado mashed with a few drops of hot sauce, with one boiled, sliced egg. Avocados and eggs are a match made in culinary heaven.

Lunch: Chana masala with spinach, eggplant with mustard greens (recipe from this post), with a couple of tablespoons of jeera rice.

Often, I find a middle ground between eating no rice at all, and eating vegetables/dal on a heaping bed of rice, by adding just a bit of rice to my meal. Somehow it gives me all the feel of eating a "proper" rice-dal-subzi meal while cutting down drastically on the carbs.

Snack: Three cookies with tea. Neighbor kid came around with Girl Scout cookies and we bought a couple of boxes to support her. These are the shortbread cookies (trefoils, I think they are called)- the only Girl Scout cookies I like. I kept 3 cookies for myself and put the rest in the office kitchenette- where they thankfully vanished before I had the chance to go grab some more.

Dinner: Taco salad with lettuce, pinto beans, mock chicken (quorn) and a side of guacamole with pickled green tomatoes.

* * * 

Breakfast: (not pictured) Eggplant-mustard greens curry and a bit of jeera rice and yogurt- I wanted to finish off some leftovers.

On this day, I had some minor drama. Went to the grocery store, and back in the parking lot, my car wouldn't start. V and a colleague had to come out and help me jump start the car, drive it to the body shop to get the battery replaced, yada yada. I was a bit frazzled :)

Lunch: So I finally stopped at the chain restaurant Chipotle at 2 PM to grab some lunch. Got the taco salad- bed of lettuce with black beans, fajita vegetables, tomato salsa, hot salsa, sour cream and cheese. The portion size is pretty huge.

Dinner: Vietnamese curry with green beans, sweet potato and oven baked tempeh. Served with sautéed broccoli slaw.

The curry was inspired by this recipe. I've enjoyed vegetable coconut curries for years in Vietnamese restaurants and finally realized how very simple they are to make at home. The secret is in buying Vietnamese curry powder which gives the dish all the flavor it needs. I found some at our local Asian store called Ca Ri Ni An Do Madras curry powder (oh the fusion of cuisines) which looks bright yellow with all that turmeric and comes in a glass jar. Once the curry powder and some coconut milk are stocked in the pantry, this curry is the easiest thing ever to put together. I did skip the lemongrass and it was still tasty.

* * * 

Breakfast: (not pictured) Egg and half an avocado.

Morning snack: Chia pudding.

I bought some chia seeds at Trader Joe's- one of my many impulse purchases in this particular store- and made chia seed pudding. It is the easiest thing: I use small plastic lidded containers (1/2 cup capacity) and make 3-4 containers at a time.

In each cup, add 1 heaped tablespoon chia seeds. Fill the container almost to the top with almond (or any other) milk. Add a drop of vanilla extract and a drizzle of maple syrup. Stir, close lids, store in fridge. Over a few hours, the seeds swell up and you have your pudding ready to eat.

Chia pudding has a wonderful refreshing taste, it reminds me very much of the basil seeds (sabja) used in falooda, the Persian/Indian ice cream sundae. I've been enjoying chia seed pudding a few times a week as a treat. Chia seeds are a very popular "superfood" these days, and like all superfoods, are reputed to be absolutely magical and cure everything. Regardless of the hype, I just like the taste and texture so I eat them.

Lunch: Broccoli slaw with Vietnamese tempeh curry (leftovers from the previous night's dinner).

Afternoon snack: A slice of apple cake. I often bake a treat for our weekly work meetings.

Dinner: Creamy lentils (inspired by this recipe), mushroom soup and a side roasted kale.

* * * 

Then came the weekend, and Saturday was a total free for all. I went out with my knitting friends to a pub for lunch, and had some hard cider and a veggie Reuben sandwich with a side of Belgian fries. Then we had friends over for dinner and I made some aloo tikki chana chaat, cauliflower coconut curry soup and tandoori tofu and peppers. A feast day for sure. But the point is, if I eat in a carb conscious, vegetable-heavy way about 80% of the time, I can eat whatever I like the other times and still stay on track. So far it has been working out that way.

Your turn: What have you been eating these days? 

35 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your meals and pics. I have been enjoying the egg and avocado combination everyday for over a year now and never get bored of it. I have been using egg whites though since I have to lower my cholesterol levels..I am still in doubt if a yolk a day has any effect on it. I have always gotten mixed views even from doctors so I just avoid it (and miss it). What is your opinion on egg yolks and their effect on cholesterol levels?

    My other meals look similar to yours except for the tea, I have an apple instead. Today I am having a mushroom-peas soupy-curry for lunch and roasted broccoli-tofu salad for dinner. I got inspired by your last post and got a bunch of rainbow chard and spinach which I plan to saute (both stem and leaves, thanks to your readers!) with some paneer for tomorrow's lunch.

    - Priti

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    1. Priti- yolks are the most nutritious part of the egg and it would be a pity (not to mention wasteful) to throw them out and just eat whites in the name of protein (which we get plenty of through all sorts of other foods). Dietary cholesterol (as in yolks) has a very minimal effects on blood levels of cholesterol. I eat whole eggs, about one egg a day.

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    2. I had one whole egg today and enjoyed the yolk :-) but I was hungry an hour earlier than usual. Strange.

      The Chard-Spinach saute turned out fabulous! My husband who's not very fond of leafy greens also enjoyed and praised it so I was extremely happy. It was inspired by your chard egg curry and the idea of using stems of leafy greens by one of your reader. Here's how I made it:
      Wash and chop chard and spinach leaves and keep aside. Finely chop the chard stems. Even if they are thick and seem fiberous they transform after cooking and add texture like onions. Heat some coconut oil. Add cumin seeds, generous amount of minced garlic, 1 minced green chilli and the chopped stems. Add salt, stir, cover and cook until the stems soften and reduce in size. Add coriander powder and toasted powdered cumin. Mix well. Add the chopped leaves and cook until it reduces in size. Add few tbsp of coconut milk and let it simmer. Add very little jaggery and some lime juice to taste, adjust salt if needed. While I was waiting for the stems to cook I roasted a corn on the cob and added its kernels to the simmering curry later . It tasted divine. I can't wait to make it again.

      - Priti

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  2. I love Chia pudding. Made it for my nephew when I was at my sister's house early this month. Soak chia seeds in milk and dates, whizz in the blender with 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa. Chill and mix in chopped strawberries just before serving. The barely sweet chocolate, the tart of the strawberries and the pudding-y texture makes an awesome combination. He had 1 spoon and then "called" the rest of the pudding as his.

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  3. This is great Nupur. Shows how many options are there - even if you decide to give up on the very obvious choices of roti and rice. I use nuts as a snacks. for portion control, I have picked a small box from my 5 year old's lunchbox set - and fill it up with almonds, pecans, walnuts and peanuts every morning. It serves as my snack during the day. Regards, Mansi

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    1. Mansi- I eat nuts as a snack also- although they didn't happen to show up in these 3 days that I recorded. It is indeed convenient to carry around nuts in a small dabba. Keeping a small stash of nuts in my desk drawer has saved me from many vending machine snacks!

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  4. nupur,

    did you really mean 1 "heaped cup" of chia for the pudding? Tablespoon perhaps? :-) Love your posts.

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    1. YES- tablespoon. Thank you so much for catching that potentially disastrous type :)

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  5. Long time reader, first time poster. Love your blog and love your posts. I am trying to also cut down carbs on a predominantly Indian vegetarian diet (I eat eggs) and all your recent posts have been a great inspiration to me. One of my favorite snacks to eat is a plain greek yoghurt with nuts and a touch of honey. Its keeps me satisfied for a few hours and I eat it in the afternoon at work to avoid snacking at home while preparing dinner. I sometimes add granola or fruits also.

    Best Wishes,
    Chaitali

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    1. Chaitali- Thanks for the nice note and the snack idea. Best wishes to you.

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  6. Your eats look great! I have been having a hearty green smoothie for breakfast on most days, then a piece of dark chocolate+coffee for 10 am snack. Then lunch will be veggies+rice+dal (less of rice and more of veggies n dal). Afternoon snack varies and will mostly be a carb one..toast+almond butter or something similar as I go for running in the evening and feel hungry if I do not eat carbs during this time. Post run I have a protein shake and dinner is again a variation of lunch, but smaller in size. I have seen that my appetite is more than some of the other people I know...but I seem to digest whatever I eat so I think its ok. :) So far, my goal of eating more veggies and fruits is going great and I have seen a definite improvement in my skin (its glowing!!) hah :)

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    1. Good for you, dear Neha, for having a good routine in place. Everyone has a different appetite and a different set of foods that leaves us satisfied- the trick is to find it. And the glowing skin is a nice side-effect :)

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  7. Love your daily meals idea - please do continue with them if time permits. I have chia seeds soaking in almond milk right now! I understand you're doing this for health reasons, but just wondering if cutting down on carbs has also resulted in weight loss. I need to lose my last 10 lbs, but no matter what I do, they refuse to budge :(
    Jay

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    1. Jay- Yes, weight loss was not my primary goal at all, but in fact I have lost over 10 lbs since Jan. And I can tell that I've lost a good deal of belly fat (I can tell by my pants being looser by several inches) which is the risk factor for many chronic diseases. Cutting carbs has certainly resulted in fat and weight loss for me.

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  8. I've been eating-- a lot. :) With a fussy six-year-old in the house, there is more junk around than I would have ever before allowed, and I can't keep my hands out of it. But reading about your meals, and how beautifully you're sticking with your resolve to eat healthy, is inspiring. Thanks for sharing your daily meals with us.

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    1. Ah having snacks around is my pitfall as well, no amount of willpower can keep me from devouring them. Since I've stopped buying my beloved family size bag of potato chips, things have been easier :)

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  9. Thanks for sharing Nupur. Eggs are such an wholesome dish, no? We eat eggs so often! And chia seeds....yummmm. I pack all my the goodness in my breakfast. Everyday I eat overnight soaked oats, chia seeds and raisins. But the rest of my day is not that healthy. I need to incorporate healthy habits during my other meals too. Your daily diary has kindled my inspiration!

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    1. Yes, I'm certainly eating my share of eggs and chia seeds- both keep me full and happy!

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  10. Great post! I just shared a similar eating log/post on my blog--really interesting to compare (looks like I eat a LOT more, ha!). Can't wait to try that Vietnamese curry! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Amanda- I'm very petite so I don't need all that much food! And the Vietnamese curry is SO worth a try- tasty and easy to make.

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  11. Hi Nupur, It's the guilt of not keeping up with the commitment on your gift exchange that kept me from interacting on your blog for this long. My apologies please.
    I've been following your diet plan posts as I too am facing a similar situation. Request you to clarify what kind of nuts you consume as it's said nuts are high in cholesterol.

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    1. Viola- Please don't hold on the guilt! I for one have forgotten about the gift exchange. Nuts contain no cholesterol at all (plant products have zero cholesterol). Nuts are high in fats but those are "good" fats. I eat peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, all the nuts that I can easily find.

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    2. Thanks a ton! Feel relieved like a weight lifted off my head.
      Great news that nuts are good fats. I suppose like everything else moderation in quantity is the key for consumption. Thanks again.

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  12. Chia pudding has been on my should-try list for a while now. Must try this week.
    The vietnamese curry sounds so good, will try to find the spice mix.
    Proud of you Nupur for sticking to your goals and doing so well so far.

    -Anu

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    1. Thanks Anu- It has been very rewarding so far and a big part of my motivation comes from being able to talk about this on my blog.

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  13. Hi Nupur, I read South Asian Health Solution after hearing about it on your blog. The examples in the book hit a little close to home- they described my husband, father, family and friends quite perfectly. So we've decided to make a change over the last week. We're not doing a perfect paleo diet but restricting carbs to a daily range of 100-120. So far it has seemed very do-able. Two recipes that I have enjoyed so far are from the skinnytaste website.

    1) Egg muffins: Make a batch on Sunday and have a quick breakfast to grab-and-go in the morning.
    http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/03/broccoli-and-cheese-mini-egg-omelets-2.html

    2) Cauliflower 'fried rice'- changed my life, as I love rice. She also has a variation with 'cilantro lime rice' and I will modify this to various Indian pulao/ masala baath etc. Works great with a vitamix or food processor.
    http://www.skinnytaste.com/2014/03/cauliflower-fried-rice.html

    I've enjoyed and learnt a lot from your new lifestyle.

    -Priya

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    1. Priya- That's just wonderful. I'm finding it very doable too- not too strict, just some changes that I can totally live with (and indeed, enjoy). Both those recipes sound wonderful- I've made cauliflower rice a couple of times and liked it.

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  14. Hi Nupur - was reading "The Last Runaway" by Tracy Chevalier and it reminded me of you so I had to comment here. Not sure if you already posted about it on your blog... Great work on the modified diet - if only I could get the husb to do the same ...sigh!!!!

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    1. Anu- I haven't read that book but will look for it- thanks!

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  15. Hi nupur
    Loved all the health conscious recipes. Great work. I tried the punjabi bhaaji from your blog yesterday and we all loved it. I used to make a aloo gobi similar to your recipe but I added the kasuri methi on top as a garnish. I did not know of the step of adding it in the tempering. That made all the difference. Keep posting!

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    1. Jui- I'm so glad the Punjabi bhaji worked for you! Kasuri methi is indeed the magic ingredient for that "restaurant taste".

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  16. Your recent posts on diabetic friendly recipes has come as a boon to two of my friends who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Unfortunately they are very close of being declared diabetic and have to be very careful of what they eat. I narrowly missed being in the gestational diabetes range during my own pregnancy and have been quite fearful of my own health after seeing the plight of my besties. I have absolutely no creativity when it comes to cooking, I cant even decide what to cook on any given day. I stick to internet recipes and follow them very exactly (just can't get myself to make any substitutions at all). Your recipes and meal ideas (especially the meal ideas) help me a great deal so thank you, thank you so much!

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    1. Sharmila- I'm so glad that my posts are being useful to you. Thanks very much for the feedback and best wishes to you and your friends!

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  17. My comment disappeared :( I had written about how inspiring this post is. I fell off the healthy eating wagon because I simply lack portion control. I now pack my lunch in a dabba and eat only that even tho I work from home. It has helped me not raid the fridge. 10-11 pounds in 2 months is wonderful Nupur.

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Thank you for taking the time to say hello!