Enduring seven long months of coronavirus fears, stringent stay-at-home lockdowns, social distancing norms, work from home stress and hectic daily routines has indeed taken a toll on literally every Indian’s physical and mental health. And unfortunately, the most obvious way this has manifested in people, be it teenagers, young adults or middle-aged, is as prominent weight gain, with many complaining that they just can’t fit into their “pre-lockdown” wardrobe anymore. With the gradual reopening of gyms, public parks and playgrounds, most individuals’ minds are pre-occupied by just that one single thought – losing all that extra weight and regaining a slim, fit physique.
Of course, regular exercise for at least 30 minutes daily to start with, then slowly engaging in high-intensity workouts, is key, to gain lean muscle mass, shed visceral or belly fat, obtain a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index). However, the positive influence of physical activity on the body can only be experienced and enjoyed, when training routines are complemented by wholesome diets comprising nutrients in the right proportions - high-protein, low-carb foods with moderate amounts of fats.
Also, contrary to the general notion, embarking on a strict weight loss regime does not always mean having to give up on your all-time favourite comfort foods like cheesy pasta or yummy ice creams. These dishes can easily be given a healthy twist, by simply balancing the ratio of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, using fresh ingredients and avoiding processed foods with cholesterol, trans fats. Pondering over what dishes to prepare, to perfectly supplement your fitness journey? Simply whip up these nourishing recipes of spinach feta cheese pasta and granola bar chocolate popsicles in a jiffy, that will not only satisfy your sweet and savoury cravings, but also strengthen your core muscles and accelerate weight loss.
Spinach Feta Cheese Pasta
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 cup feta cheese cubes
½ cup pasta
2 medium tomatoes, cut into circular pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
Combine the spinach leaves, feta cheese cubes, cut tomatoes in a deep dish.
Boil the pasta for 5 – 7 minutes and drain the excess water.
Transfer it to the dish and drizzle some olive oil on top, for enhanced flavour and texture.
Relish this nutrient-dense, delightful spinach feta cheese pasta salad for lunch or dinner, that will adeptly support weight loss.
Feta cheese is a storehouse of proteins, supplying essential amino acids to fortify muscles and improve stamina, energy levels in the body. Comprising plenty of iron and fiber, spinach ensures healthy red blood cell synthesis and transport within the system, in addition to regulating appetite, speeding up fat metabolism and maintaining normal, healthy body weight. Tomatoes are jam-packed with lycopene antioxidants, that improve skin wellness, while olive oil provides immense healthy unsaturated fats, to facilitate digestion processes, augment heart health.
Granola Bar Chocolate Popsicles
4 protein-rich granola bars
1 tbsp chocolate
1 medium-sized ripened banana
2 tsp vanilla essence
4 ice cream sticks
Insert an ice cream stick at the bottom of each granola bar.
In a bowl, melt the chocolate, mash the banana and mix it along with vanilla essence and a bit of water, to obtain a slightly thick paste.
Dunk the granola bars into the paste, to coat them evenly on both sides.
Freeze it for 10 – 15 minutes, then enjoy this mouth-watering, nutritious granola bar chocolate popsicle as a post-workout snack.