Friday, July 31, 2009

Superfood Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are one of the highest ranked vegetables on the nutrition scale. A sweet potato is so packed with phytonutrients that it makes it- what can be termed a "superfood."

Every 100 gms of sweet potatoes contains:

Carbohydrates - 20.1 gm
Sugars - 4.2 gm
Dietary fiber - 3.0 gm
Fat - 0.1 gm
Protein - 1.6 gm
Vitamin A - 709 μg
β-carotene - 8509 μg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) - 0.1 mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - 0.1 mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3) - 0.61 mg
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) - 0.8 mg
Vitamin B6 - 0.2 mg
Folate (Vitamin B9) - 11 μg
Vitamin C - 2.4 mg
Calcium - 30.0 mg
Iron - 0.6 mg
Magnesium - 25.0 mg
Phosphorus - 47.0 mg
Potassium - 337 mg
Zinc - 0.3 mg
Calories - 90 kcal (360 kJ)

Health Benefits of Eating Sweet Potatoes

  • Being rich in dietary fiber, sweet potato lowers the risk of constipation, diverticulosis and colon and rectal cancer.
  • Sweet potatoes have been found to helpful in minimizing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
  • Sweet potato is a good snack for those trying to lose weight. It induces a feeling of fullness soon and thus, helps control food intake.
  • Consumption of sweet potatoes has been known to help avoid stroke, by bringing down the harmful effects of low-density cholesterol & preventing blood clots.
  • The presence of beta-carotene in sweet potato helps the body fight against free radicals and thus, prevents cancer.
  • Since sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index, they can be consumed by those suffering from diabetes, without any apprehensions.
  • The high amount of potassium in sweet potato helps the body in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance as well as cell integrity.
  • Sweet potatoes have been found to be beneficial for blood purification as well as lowering of blood pressure.
  • Owing to the presence of iron and calcium, sweet potatoes ensure proper blood flow and also improve bone density.
  • Regular consumption of sweet potato is good for stomach ulcers and inflamed conditions of the colon.
  • Being rich in vitamins and minerals, sweet potato is good for people involved in heavy muscular work.

Sweet Potato Paratha

Having known the health benefits of sweet potato I make sure to keep it in stock regularly. Sweet potato paratha is easily made besides being delicious and good tiffin material since it can be eaten without any side dish.


400 gms sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1/2 cup curd
1tsp jeera/cumin powder
1tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
2 tbs oil
2 tbs coriander finely choppped


  • Wash and cut sweet potatoes and steam. Cool and mash them.
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients and sweet potato well and knead to a soft dough.
  • Keep aside for an hour.
  • Roll out the parathas and fry on a girdle. Add oil or ghee.
  • Serve hot with or without accompaniments.

Oats Upma

Oats Upma is a favourite with my kids. Having already discussed the benefits of Oats in the Nutritious Oats Dosa recipe, I will go on directly to the recipe.


1 cup oats
1 ¼ cups water
1onion chopped fine
1/2 cup green peas
1 green chilly chopped fine
Salt to taste

For seasoning

2 tbs oil
1tsp mustard seeds
1/2 inch piece ginger crushed
1 stalk curry leaf

To enrich-
1tsp ghee


  • Heat oil. When hot sputter the mustard seeds.
  • Add curry leaves, crushed ginger, chopped chilly, green peas, onion and saute.
  • Pour water into the pan, add salt and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the oats, till the whole mixture comes together.
  • When done turn off the heat.
  • Serve hot.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Peanut Butter

Just a small handful of peanuts (also known as groundnuts) provides all of the following health benefits:

-Cardiovascular Health-
Studies have shown that eating peanuts lower a person's risk of weight gain and promotes heart health. Peanuts prevent certain cardiovascular diseases since magnesium, along with sodium and zinc are beneficial minerals that are useful in preventing heart disease. Additionally, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce a person's risk of coronary disease. Peanuts also contain omega 6 fatty acids, which is one of the "good" fats commonly known as "essential fatty acids." These aid in lowering the amount of "bad" cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Peanuts provide enough fiber and water to help keep a person regular. Eating peanuts just a few times each week can prevent the formation of gallstones, and lowers the risk of colon cancer.
Niacin, folate and other B vitamin complexes may decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's and other degenerative brain disease. They are also important in preventing birth defects, which makes them a good snack for pregnant women.

-Bone Health-
Peanuts contain small amount of calcium and vitamin D. Together these two promote good bone health, including healthy teeth. Studies have shown that people who maintain healthy levels of calcium and vitamin D before age thirty, are less likely to develop osteopenia or osteoporosis later in life.

Peanuts for kids:
Peanuts play an important role in strengthening their health, teeth and overcoming exhaustion, loss of stamina and weakness. It helps to recover strength among weak and underweight children. It also helps in boosting the iron content in the body, thus can be taken in cases of anemia.

Peanut butter spread can be used with bread and included for breakfast. It is widely popular among kids and adults both. It is easy to make, effort free and is an easy way to recover energy and stamina.

1 cup peanuts
1 tsp salted butter
1 tsps heaped sugar
1 1/2 tsp peanut oil


  • Place the peanuts in a microwave bowl, microwave on high power for 2 minutes. (Alternatively you can roast the peanuts in a pan).
  • Cool and shell peanuts
  • Add butter and microwave for another minute.
  • Powder the sugar in the blender.
  • Add the peanuts, drop in the oil and blend till it becomes a paste. If the mixture gets stuck while blending open and stir.
  • Store in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. Oil may rise to the top. If this occurs, stir before using.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Herbal Water.

Herbal water is a remedy using three most commonly used herbs in an Indian household.

Cumin is stomachic, diuretic(increase in urine production), carminative(gas-relieving and gastrointestinal tract cramp-relieving agent)., stimulant, astringent, emmenagogic and antispasmodic. It is valuable in dyspepsia, diarrhoea and hoarseness, and relieves flatulence and colic, Cumin stimulates the appetite.

Saunf/ Fennel
Saunf is a carminative, diuretic and mild stimulant. Fennel is also thought to possess diuretic choleretic (increase in production of bile), pain-reducing, fever-reducing, and anti-microbial actions. The seeds are used as a flavoring agent in many herbal medicines, and to help disperse flatulence. The seeds, and roots, also help to open obstructions of the liver, spleen & gall bladder, and to ease painful swellings, in addition to helping with yellow jaundice, the gout and occasional cramps.

Ajwain seeds contain an essential oil which is about 50% thymol which is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic and fungicide.
It is used in a steeped liquid form against diarrhea and flatulence. In India the seeds are used as a household remedy for indigestion and colic.

Uses of herbal water-
You can use herbal water when your child has:

  • colic
  • Indigestion
  • Poor apetite
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Worms

You can introduce your baby to herbal water when he/she is 6months old. This is when we begin to introduce semi-solids. Since prevention is always better than cure, you can avoid many of the above symptoms that are normally seen at this stage. Giving herbal water on a regular basis as your child grows will certainly reduce your trips to the doctor and dependency on pills.

Here’s how you prepare it-


5 glasses of water
1tsp jeera/ cumin seeds
1tsp of saunf/ fennel seeds
1tsp of ajwain/ ommum seeds


  • Take a deep bottomed dish
  • Pour in the water and add all the herbs.
  • Boil this water down to 4 glasses. The seeds will settle at the bottom.
  • Strain and give your child at least 3 times a day.
  • Best taken slightly warm.

An oft heard complain of parents is “my child does not drink sufficient water”. At times like these, prepare the herbal water using Fennel only. This gives a sweetish taste to the water along with the mentioned properties. The taste motivates the child to drink more. Try it out!

Wheat Pancakes

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nutritious Oats Dosa (instant variety)

Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa is proved to be good for health in many ways. According to “The World’s Healthiest Foods,” Oats are the most nutrient-rich out of all the grains. Excellent source of manganese, good source of fiber and vitamin B, high in protein, helps lower cholesterol, stabilizes mood by maintaining blood sugar, and available year round.

Why is oats good for your kid? Oatmeal's whole grain, high fibre and protein attributes are believed to be some of the primary factors that influence spatial memory performance in young children.

Dosa being a common breakfast item in many Indian households, the oats variation is a nutritious option.


1cup Oats
½ cup Rawa/sooji/semolina
½ cup rice powder
1cup curd
1 onion chopped fine
1tsp ginger-garlic paste
¼ tsp chilli pwd or 1 chilli chopped fine
Coriander leaves chopped fine
salt to taste.

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and let it soak for half an hour.
  • Add water to make it pouring consistency.
  • Spread on girdle and fry both sides till crisp.
  • Serve hot with chutney.


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