We are more or less familiar with the rules of healthy eating. But no matter what, sometimes, we are either strapped for time to pack ourselves a healthy snack, or are limited by the choices we have in our office canteens. We ask nutritionist and diet consultant Dr Sunita Dube to guide us. She picks five random foods from the menu of a regular office canteen and tells us about their nutrition content.
Warning: Since most offices in India have only vegetarian food available in canteens, we strongly advise the carnivores amongst you to look the other way.
Nutrition Content: Calories 400, with oil
“Vegetable frankies are not a healthy snack option,” she says. The maida used for the wrap adds to most of the calorie content followed by the oil and the vegetables. Vegetable frankies contain approximately 90 gms carbohydrates, 12 gms proteins and 0.2 gms saturated fat. And since these frankies contain negligent amounts of fibre, they are also difficult to digest. On the other hand, the vegetables provide vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, vitamin B and D. This of course depends on the vegetables used.
Verdict: Avoidable, unless the wrap is made of whole wheat flour and is roasted in minimal oil.
Poha Upma or Rava Upma
Nutrition Content: Calories (rava)- 256. Calories (poha)- 318. Both are healthier snack options. Poha, since made of rice, contains more calories than the rava upma. Poha contains 68 gms carbs, 3 gms fibre and if the oil used is not sunflower or sesame oil, it could contain 1.1 gm of saturated fat. Rava contains up to 130 gms carbs, 9 gms fibre and 23 gms protein.
Verdict: Choose Rava upma over poha since it keeps you full for longer due to the high fibre content and opt for an upma with veggies for essential vitamins and minerals.
Nutrition Content: Calories 2 vadas with oil- 800. Sabudana or sago is basically starch. For the vadas, it is usually combined with potatoes which adds to the starch content making us lethargic. Sabudana Vada contains approximately 180 gms carbohydrates and negligible amounts of protein and fibre. However, it contains 20 mg calcium, 2.4 mg iron. Since it is deep fried, depending on the oil used, the amount of saturated fat could be very high.
Verdict: Opt for sabudana kichdi instead, which uses more of water and minimal oil.
Nutrition Content: Calories (chickpeas)- 150 with oil. Calories (matki or moth bean)- 330 with oil. It is a healthy snack option and each serving made of chickpeas contains up to 15 gms carbohydrates, 3 gms fibre, 4 gms protien and 3 gms fat. If made with matki or moth bean, each portion contains 1.1 gm fat, 56 gms carbohydrates, 4.5 gms fibre and 24 gms proteins.
Verdict: Use of less oil makes it a healthy snack option. Opt for matki over chicpeas since it contains more protein and fibre in comparison. Also opt for brown bread over pav.
Nutrition Content: Calories 2 Samosas- 800. It is not a healthy snack option as it is deep fried. As mentioned earlier, the maida provides very less or no nutrition except for carbohydrates. The vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. But they are nullified as it is deep fried.Verdict: Should be avoided.
Healthy Foods Found in Office Canteens: Opt for toasted or grilled sandwiches made in brown bread. You can also opt for aloo chat made of boiled potatoes, chutneys and yoghurt. You can also opt for corn or regular bhel as they are low in calories but nutritious, as well as snacks like idlis and dosas.
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