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These foods are versatile enough to help you accomplish either weight-loss or weight-gain.
The minute you make your weight goals public there’s plenty of “eat this”, “don’t eat that” advice coming from all quarters. There’s simply too much information [often contradictory] to know what to follow. The best thing to do is forget it all and focus on these foods that will help you lose or gain weight [if that’s what you want].
Being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, nuts [in restricted amounts] can be a good source of these nutrients for people on low-calorie diets. They are also rich in heart-protecting fats, proteins and fibre.
Being calorie dense, nuts can be incorporated into diets of people looking to add some kilos without increasing too many inches.
Eggs are packed with protein of high biological value. They are low in calories, especially when one consumes only the white, making them a good option for those wanting to lose weight.
Those looking at gaining some weight can benefit using eggs in combination with milk, whole wheat bread and vegetables. This is a sufficiently high-calorie, but low-fat meal.
Dairy products are rich in calcium and vitamin D [typical low-calorie diets lack these nutrients]. To get the nutrition minus the calories, include skimmed milk, curd and paneer made from low-fat milk in your diet.
You can use whole milk to make various preparations such as milk shakes, custards, and puddings. However, paneer made out of whole milk is high in protein as well as fat and hence should not be over-used.
Being a rich source of potassium and calcium makes it an ideal source of nutrition for weight watchers who are on a low calorie diet, which can leave them nutrient deficient.
For individuals who want to gain weight, banana milkshake is one of the cheapest available options.
Dals and pulses are an ideal easy-to-use and cost-effective option for vegetarians. Add pulses in the form of sprouts in salads to make a low-calorie meal.
Combining cereals with pulses will make them proteins of high biological value. Have them in varies combinations like moong dal paratha, and chole with paratha.
Being high in protein, low on fat, steamed fish with vegetables is the perfect combination for a low-calorie meal.
Shallow frying the fish or cooking it in a gravy made out of coconut will give you a mouth-watering, high-protein and moderately-fat recipe to help you add some bulk.
High in protein, but low in saturated fats, soy can be used in weight loss diets, especially for vegetarians. The best part is that it can be consumed in various forms.
Besides its use as flour, milk and a pulse, a wide variety of commercial soy preparations are available these days, which can be incorporated with a scientifically planned exercise routine to achieve muscle gain.
Chicken is high in protein and moderate in fat depending on the part you consume. For example, the meat in chicken breast is lower in fat than the meat on the legs.
Various gravy preparations when combined with paratha, rice and pasta can be help add weight.
Cereals such as whole wheat flour, dalia, jowar and bajra are low in fat and high in calories. Stick to low-calorie preparations such as chapattis, phulkas, and bhakris.
Pooris, parathas, and sheera made from the flour of cereals helps gain weight. However, make sure to consume more of the complex forms than refined cereals and simple sugars, as the later may only help in adding fat weight.
This was first published in the April 2010 issue of Complete Wellbeing