Blog | Category | Quarantine due to corona
  • TIPS TO STORE VEGETABLES DURING LOCKDOWN - PART 1

    In Health Tips On 26 March 2020

    The outbreak of COVID-19 and sudden lockdown around has restricted our movement to places. During this period, storing the non-perishable items is way easier, but the concern is about storing the perishable food items like fruits and vegetables. Travelling often outdoors may lead to the risk of virus attack whereas, staying indoors may lead to lack of vegetables after certain duration. Though frozen vegetables are easily available at some stores, during the lockdown period this option is ruled out. So, to avoid such situations, I will sharing a few ways in which certain vegetables can be stored. 1. Green Peas - Green peas is a highly fibrous vegetable which is also high in vegetarian protein and loaded with Vitamins and Minerals. So, a very good method to store them for longer is, peal and collect the pods, make sure that no rotten pods are in. Immediately transfer them into a ziplock bag or air - tight container and freeze. These last good at least for 6 months. 2. Spinach - Clean the spinach and then blanch (add in hot water for about 30 seconds) and then immediately into cold water. Leave the spinach in cold water for about 2 minutes. Next, strain the leaves completely, and then blend them into a month paste and juice half a lemon into it and blend again. Transfer this puree into an air-tight plastic or glass jar. This puree will last in the refrigerator for about a week and in the freezer for about 3-4 weeks. 3. Corn - take the peeled corn kernels and add them into an air-tight container or zip lock bag    immediately and store in the freezer. In the freezer, these will last for about 4 months. Apart from adding to the vegetables, these can also served as a snack by boiling up and spicing them as per requirements. 4. Tomato - Tomato is a very essential ingredient in Indian cooking but also comes with a shorter shelf life. They can be easily stored for months by using the method below. Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and make a criss-cross pattern cut using a knife at the top portion. Boil water in pan and add the tomatoes in it and boil for about 10 minutes. Now, peel the skin of the tomatoes and upon cooling, blend them into a puree. Transfer this puree into a air-tight glass or plastic jar and freeze store it. This puree will last for about 4 weeks. 5. Green beans - Clean the green beans by cutting their stem from both ends. Wash the beans thoroughly and then spread them on a sheet or cloth and dry them completely. They need to be dries to make sure no water droplets or moisture is left. Now, cut them into small pieces and add them into a zip lock bag and freeze immediately. These beans can be stored for about 4 weeks. While cooking them, take out the desired amount of beans, add them into hot water for about 2 minutes and they are ready to use. 6. Green leaves - clean the leaves by cutting the end part of their stem. Make sure no moist or rotten rotten leaves are present  in it. Take a kitchen tissue towel and roll these leaves in the towel. Now place these leaves into a refrigeration container and store in the refrigerator. These will last for about 2 weeks minimum depending upon the amount of moisture present. This way, coriander leaves, curry leaves, fenugreek leaves and other green leaves can also be stored. 7. Cauliflower - There are two ways in which cauliflower can be stored. The rice form and the florets form. Both have their own convenient ways of being used. Cauliflower rice method - Chop the cauliflower well and rinse them under running water and drain. Now, add these florets into a food processor or mixer grinder and grind them until rice grain like consistency. Add this into a zip lock bag and freeze. These last for about 6 months. While cooking, take the required amount into a bowl and microwave for 1 minute or pan cook in a tsp of oil for 1 minute. Cauliflower florets method - Cut the cauliflower into florets and wash thoroughly under running water. Dry them completely and spread on a plate or tray and freeze the plate for about an hour. Now, collect the frozen florets, add them into a zip lock bag and store in the freezer. 8. Potatoes - Though have a longer shelf life, they also loose their texture and moisten in sometime due to the starch present in them. To preserve them for longer, wash the potatoes, peel them, and cut them into desired shape and size. Now, blanch them in boiling water for 1 minutes. The time depends upon the size and shape of the potatoes. Now, add them into ice cold water, and then drain the water completely by spreading on a sheet or tray.Pat dry them to make sure no moisture is left. Ones they are dried, freeze the tray for 1 hour, and then collect the frozen potato pieces and freeze them into a zip lock bag. 9. Pumpkin - Pumpkin is a very nutritious and high in fibre vegetable. To store it for longer, cut the pumpkin and peel the skin. De-seed and cut the slices into cubes. Now, add the cubes into a zip lock bag and freeze. These can be stored for upto 3 months. 10. Okra or bhindi - wash the okra thoroughly under running water and then in a pot filled with water and 2 tbsp vinegar and leave for about 15 minutes. This process will make sure all the chemicals and pesticides are washed off. Now, dry the okra thoroughly by spreading on a sheet or tray. Ones dried, cut them into small pieces to assure no insects are left behind. Now, spread these on a tray and freeze the tray for an hour. Then, collect the frozen okra pieces, add into a zip lock bag and freeze. These last for about 3 months depending upon the amount of moisture left out. Though there are ways to store vegetables, rationale in usage needs to be maintained to ensure no wastage is done. STAY HOME TO STAY SAFE!!!

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  • QUARANTINE HEALTHY PAV BHAJI RECIPE

    In Child nutrition On 05 April 2020

    Pav Bhaji is a delicious street food and many might be missing it during the quarantine period. Even if one wants to cook it at home, the scarcity and unavailability of vegetables would not make it possible. So, for all the pav bhaji lovers out there, sharing a quick recipe below of the bhaji that does not require vegetables and is also healthy, rich in protein, and also very delicious. Ingredients: Pressure cooked pigeon pea (arhar dal) - 2 cups Tomato cut or puree - 1/2 cup Onion - 1 medium Potato boiled - 2 medium Capsicum - 1 medium Pav bhaji masala - 3 tsp Cumin seeds - 2 tsp Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) - 2 tsp oil/ghee/butter - 2 tsp Salt - as per taste Procedure: In a pan, add the ghee or butter, add cumin seeds, 1 tsp pav bhaji masala (this will make sure the flavours are enhanced even when all the ingredients are missing). Now, add the finely chopped onion and capsicum and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the onions turn translucent. Add the cut tomato or puree, boiled chopped potato, cooked lentil and also any other vegetables chopped and boiled if available (carrot, beetroot, green peas). Cook them for about 5 minutes and all the spices salt, chilli powder, 2tsp pav bhaji masala, dried fenugreek leaves,  and cook until week done. Now, mash them all with the help of a masher and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are well combined.  The bhaji is ready to be served. You can relish this with pav, bread, or even roti or rice and live your old memories of eating the street food at your own place, delicious and yet a healthy one.

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  • QUARANTINE PULAO RECIPE - Minimal vegetables onepot meal

    In Child nutrition On 05 April 2020

    Pulao is a one pot meal every part of the country enjoys and some parts of the world too. But, due to the lockdown and scarcity of the variety of vegetables makes it next to impossible to enjoy this dish. So, below is a recipe of a yummy, healthy and tasty pulao which has two vegetables that have a longer shelf-life and can be freezed very easily.   Ingredients: Oil - 2 tsp Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds - 1 tsp Curry leaves - 1 sprig (optional) Peanuts - 3 tbsp Green chillies - 2 slit (optional) Potatoes - 2 medium (cut into wedges) Green peas - 1/4 cup Salt - as per taste Turmeric powder - 1 tsp Vegetable masala/garam masala - 1 tsp Basmati rice - 1 cup (soaked for 30 minutes)   Procedure: In a pressure cooker, add oil, ones it’s hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, peanuts, fry them for a minute. Now, add the turmeric powder, green chilli, potatoes, green peas, rice, salt, vegetable masala. Next add 1 cup water (equal to the amount of rice taken), cover and cook for one whistle. Let the pressure release on it’s own and the pulao is ready to be savoured. This is a dish which does not even need any raita, dal or any sides to be complete with. This dish is a complete and tasty meal in itself.

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  • INSTANT WHOLE WHEAT DOSA/CHEELA RECIPE

    In Child nutrition On 05 April 2020

    Lockdown and quarantine period is a time when you have access to limited products, not many grocery products at home, no house helps to share the kitchen work load and when the complete family is at home, the demands  and expectations are unending when it comes to food. So, below is a recipe of whole wheat dosa or chilla, instantly made without requiring many prior preparations. Ingredients: Whole wheat flour - 2 cups Finely chopped onion - 1/3 cups Green chillies finely chopped - 4 Coriander leaves - few sprigs (optional) Salt - as per taste Oil or ghee - for cooking Procedure: In a pan, add the whole wheat flour, salt and mix well. Gradually add water and form a thick batter with a dosa consistency. To this, add the chopped onion, green chillies, coriander leaves, mix well and adjust the consistency with water and let it sit aside for 10 minutes. Now, take a dosa pan, ones hot, grease very little oil and pour a ladle full of batter on this. Spread slightly to form an even base, drizzle some oil, cover and let it cook in steam. Ones the base is turned brown, flip the chilla and and cook until it is well done. Repeat the same process with the rest of the batter. To add more flavours to this while serving it to your kids, you can add some greater paneer or cheese on top while cooking it.   You can serve these dosa/chilla with coconut chutney, tomato chutney, ghee or just by itself.    

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  • 6 NUTRIENTS TO LOOK FOR INTO YOUR FOOD TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

    In Child nutrition On 12 April 2020

      There are so many lists of foods around you that are said to boost your immunity, but understanding the nutrients that play a vital role in boosting your immunity and the foods they are present in is very important. 1. Vitamin C - Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and plays a very important role in our body. The antioxidants in the body help fight free radicals, which damage our immune system. Vitamin C also helps in boosting immunity in people who are under major stress.       Foods with vitamin C are - citrus fruits like lemon, orange, lime and other foods like kiwi, red and green bell peppers, amla, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, spinach, watermelon and sweet potatoes.   2. Zinc - Zinc again plays a very crucial role in our body as zinc is involved in the production of certain immune cells. Foods high in Zinc are - flax and sunflower seeds, beans, cashew nuts, oysters, wheat germ.   3. Vitamin D - Adequate level of Vitamin D in your body is very essential for your immune system to work at a robust level. Sources of Vitamin D are - Sunlight in the early morning hours without sunscreen, mushrooms, yogurt and other probiotics.   4. Omega-3 fatty acids - These essential fatty acids not only boost the immune system, but also suppress the inflammation in your body. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are - oily fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines), flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and almonds, oils rich in Omega-3.   5. Vitamin E - Just like vitamin C, even Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E plays a very important role in maintaining our immune system, especially among older people. Foods rich in Vitamin are - Almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, hazelnuts, wheat germ oil.   6. Carotenoids - Carotenoids are a class of pigments that are present in plants. These pigments when consumed, they convert into Vitamin A which helps in boosting and regulating the immune system. Foods containing carotenoids are - carrots, papaya, mango, apricots, sweet potatoes, kale.   Now that you are aware of the nutrients involved in your immune mechanism, include these foods into your everyday diet and boost your immune system with these nutrient containing foods.

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  • HEALTHY NO MAIDA, NO SUGAR, NO EGGS CAKE RECIPE

    In Child nutrition On 29 April 2020

    Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, people are experimenting with their cooking skills. This cooking has also made a lot of people try on their baking skills as well. But, all these cooking skills are only taking a toll on their health and weight. Apart from this, there are so many people celebrating their birthday’s, anniversaries, and many other special days and the stores and supplies being closed, their celebrations are lacking the sweetness of a good cake. And, also we are all aware of the harm that maida and refined sugar does to our body. We always always to avoid eating these foods, but some circumstances just make it next to impossible.  So, considering the need of the people, be it adding sweetness to their celebrations, or testing the culinary skills, or not wanting to eat anything unhealthy, here is the recipe of a healthy cake that has no refined flour (maida), no sugar, no eggs, and even after all this, it’s extremely delicious with no comparison to the commercially available unhealthy ones. The measurements for this cake are done using standard measuring cups and spoons.                Ingredients:   Whole wheat flour - 1.5 cups Jaggery - 3/4 cups Baking powder - 1.5 tsp Baking soda - 0.5 tsp Oil - 5 tbsp (any oil without any prominent smell) Vanilla essence - 0.5 tbsp Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp Dry fruits of choice Salt - 1 pinch   Procedure:   In a pan, add the measured amount of jaggery and 200ml water and heat it until the jaggery melts. Switch off the flame and allow it to cool. Sieve the mixture of whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon powder. You can sieve this mixture upto 3 times if you want your cake to be fluffy and airy, or you can just sieve this ones. Now, add the cooled jaggery water into this and mix very slowly in the cut and fold method. Next, add the oil and the vanilla essence, mix in cut and fold method and check for consistency. The batter should be of a ribbon falling consistency. If required you can add more water. But, do not make the batter runny. Pre-heat the oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. Now, take a cake baking tin and line it with butter papers. Pour the better into the tin uniformly but do not tap the tin. Tapping will not make the cake fluffy. You can swirl the batter the with a tooth pick or finger tip if it is uneven. And then, garnish on top with the desired chopped dry fruits. Now, bake the cake at 180°C for about 20 minutes. The baking time varies from oven to oven and also depending upon the thickness of the cake. After 20 minutes, insert a knife and check if the cake is cooked. You can also make this cake in a pressure cooker and the cooking time may vary from 35-40 minutes. Ones the cake is done, let it cool down at least for about 20 minutes, and then it is ready to dig in.   Now that yon have a healthy cake recipe handy which is also very easy to make with all the ingredients available at home, let your lockdown celebrations and culinary skills have no limits with healthy eating.  And also, even after lockdown, do not worry much if your kids or family or even you crave for cakes. All you have to do is, just bake the healthy cake with this recipe and enjoy your happy and healthy eating.

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  • 13 FOODS TO BOOST IMMUNITY

    In Child nutrition On 13 May 2020

    Food is essential for our everyday living and our body. Our body and its functions are completely dependent upon the kind of food we eat. There may be many individuals around who are fit, working out, eating healthy and in their ideal body weight but still end up catching cold and flu very often. This indicates the low immunity levels. That may be because they lack the immunity boosting foods and the the right nutrients in their diet.   So, nourishing our body with the nutrients and foods is very important so that we are not only healthy from the outside, but, our body is healthy from the inside as well. So, here is the list of foods, that help in boosting our immunity and to be included in our everyday diet. GINGER - Ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Ginger helps in decreasing inflammation in the body, reduces sore throat and other anti-inflammatory issues. GARLIC - The compound allicin present in garlic helps in boosting immunity. This food is more effective when pressed slightly and consumed raw. SPINACH - Spinach is packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C, E and beta- carotene which increases the infection fighting ability of our immune system. Spinach also has high amount of folate, Vitamin A, fiber, magnesium, iron . These nutrients in spinach also boost immune function and provide body with necessary nutrients for cell division and DNA repair. Spinach is to be slightly cooked to to retain nutrients and enhance release of Vitamin A. GREEN TEA - Green Tea is packed with flavonoids which is a type of anti-oxidant which in turn helps in boosting immunity. TURMERIC - Curcumin present in turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. DARK CHOCOLATE - A good quality dark chocolate has an antioxidant called theobromine, which helps boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals. ONION - Raw onions are rich in quercetin which highly helps in boosting the immune system. For better results, consume a few slices of raw onion in every meal. MUSHROOMS - High in selenium and B vitamins like riboflavin and niacin, which play a role in healthy immune functioning. Mushrooms are also rich in polysaccharides, a sugar like molecule that boosts immune function. POMEGRANATE JUICE - Consuming pomegranate juice promotes the growth of beneficial gut flora that boosts the immune system. WATERMELON - An immune boosting seasonal fruit, rich in vitamins, minerals and also an antioxidant called as glutathione. Glutathione strengthens the immune system and helps fight infections. SWEET POTATOES - Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene when enters the body, turns into Vitamin A, which mops up the damaging free radicals. YOGURT - Yogurt is probiotic in nature. These probiotics help maintain the bacterial balance in the stomach, keeping our gut healthy, which is a key to good immunity. Yogurt made at home is more effective since the packaged and commercially available ones come with additives. BROCCOLI - Broccoli is rich in Vitamin C and sulforaphane which is another potent antioxidant.     The foods mentioned above are economical in season and are easily available without having to spend a lot of money and look for them at places. So, include these foods in your everyday diet and reap the benefits for the healthier you both inside and outside.  

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Ambika Niranjan

Nutritionist / Dietitian in Sec 119, Noida, India 

You become what you eat... It is always 80% food and 20% exercise... Don't starve to be healthy, rather eat healthy to be healthy.... These are some of the fitness mantras which prove to be so very true.  For someone who was obese to 95kgs at the age of 21 to a person who has been on a rough roller coaster to achieve the ideal weight and the best shape with a naturally radiant and glowing skin. My journey to fight my obesity issues forced me to learn more and transform myself into a completely new and energetic me overloaded with confidence. I have completed M.Sc and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in Alternative Medicine with Diet and Nutrition as one of the major subjects and also Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition in Clinical nutrition and Dietitics A nutritionist by profession and passion, I am always available for my clients through the best communication system possible to help them overcome their health issues, a stronger, energetic, confident and healtheir you full of positivity.  Expertise in obesity, PCOD, PCOS, post pregnancy weight loss, thyroid, Diabetes Management and all the other disorders arising due to nutrition issues.  You hire me as your nutritionist and I'll ensure that you reach your goals. I am also an expertise in online consultation available through skype or any other mode of communication, so that I can consult people at any places. 
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