Goal! to good health...

Goal! to good health...

FIFA World Cup is in full swing and all of us are enjoying the endless games scheduled daily. Well, is anyone out there watching the games without eating, munching, snacking and guzzling tonnes of food? It is highly unlikely that any of us are watching these games without stuffing our mouth with endless quantities of food and beverages. Has your weekly grocery shopping budget gone up? Have you checked your weight recently?

Every one of us love to watch games, movies, favourite shows with family, friends, colleagues — the more the merrier if it is a game and of course the constant companion - food.

Are we harming our health with this constant snacking of high fat deep fried foods, highly salted chips, popcorn, namkeens, trans fat and sugar loaded cookies and bakery items like cakes and pastries and not to mention the endless guzzling of aerated drinks loaded with caffeine and high energy drinks which is high in caffeine and sugar?

We are harming our health not only by increasing the calorie and the sugar intake but also the salt intake. All ready to snack items are high in sodium, the recommended intake by the WHO for any person is limited to 2300mg or 5g or just one teaspoon/day. Worldwide salt intake has increased manifold due to increase in consumption of ready to eat convenience foods in readymade packs or canned foods. High salt intake increases the risk of developing high blood pressure - the main cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

26gm of a popular chip brand contains 170mg of sodium which is only 15chips and a fat content of 10gms. Everyone is aware that you cannot stop at 1 or 15 and we consume the salty snacks by the bagful. If you are a person who likes to dip everything in sauce or ketchup BEWARE! one tablespoon of ketchup contains 136 to 160mg of sodium depending on the brand. Consuming salty foods makes one thirsty and hence one ends up drinking sweetened beverages and aerated drinks.

We have to stop this mindless eating and guzzling cans of beverages. Mindless eating is being unaware of what and how much you are eating. One is so much into the game or the favourite show we are watching we hardly notice the endless bags of chips, popcorn, any crunchy salty snacks we are consuming. It is this mindless eating that is contributing to the obesity epidemic in the world.

Let us switch to mindful eating by being more aware of the food we eat, savouring every mouthful and also watching the portions we eat. Portioning helps by changing the large bowls to limit the size of plate to nine inches or less.

Some healthy choices - peanut chikkis with palm jaggery, millet chikkis with palm jaggery, air popped corn, corn on the cob, Trail Mix (a mix of dry roasted flax, sunflower, chia seeds with some almonds, walnuts and dates and raisins), fruits like water melon, musk melon, crunchy apples, oranges or any seasonal fruits, fresh fruit juices ( no added sugar), fruit smoothies ( no added sugar), green tea, lime water and flavoured lassi or chaas (buttermilk).

Do not forget healthy eating with some exercise. Try to do squats, jumps (Yes when your favourite team scores) dumbbells for short durations. Stationery bike is a great idea too.

Enjoy every match, cheer for your favourite team and player but do not forget to take care of your body with healthy snacks, mindful eating and exercise.

Dr Sreemathy Venkatraman Dr Sreemathy Venkatraman

The author is Nutritionist & Clinical Dietitian, Brains Neuro Spine Centre.